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2015 NCAA Tournament: ESPN Championship Game Recap

Eamon and Quint recap the title game.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Some quotes and context:

"In this game, in my eyes, it was going Denver's way right from the first moment. There was never a point in this game where I thought Maryland would win."

It's a draconian statement, but Quint Kessenich is pretty spot on here: Other than a second quarter in which Maryland outperformed Denver (the balance of execution netting the Terps only a 2-1 advantage in the period), the Terrapins played from behind for the entire afternoon (Maryland was even with Denver for only 40 seconds at Lincoln Financial Field (the first 40 seconds of the game, incidentally) and faced a one-goal deficit for a total of 7:53). Maryland was unable to string together consecutive goals throughout the game's hour of competition while Denver finished runs of at least two goals on four different occasions. The estimated five-possession deficit that the Terrapins were forced to deal with didn't help Maryland's push for a victory lap, but an offense that could not create any sustained value -- the Terps shot only 16.67 percent against Denver and scored on less than 17 percent of their 12 estimated second half offensive opportunities -- doomed Maryland from the opening whistle.

Pace deflated contests tend to mask the rate at which teams generate offensive tallies and defensive stops, and some of that is prevalent in the way that the Pioneers dispatched the Terrapins: At an estimated 51 total possessions, there just weren't a ton of opportunities per 60 minutes to foster lightning. Had this game been played at 64 estimated possessions with Denver holding a five-possession advantage and each team scoring at the rate it actually developed, the end result is close to a 13-6 triumph for the Pioneers. (Interestingly, if the possession margin in the game was even (or close to it), the rate at which each team was making the scoreboard blink would merit Denver a 9-6 victory instead of a 10-5 conquest.) This was a thorough run for the Pioneers, an uneven quarter-hour in the middle of the game notwithstanding.

"The lefty senior, homegrown product from Fort Collins."

Ryan LaPlante put together an incredible performance in his last college game. He didn't face an oppressively difficult shot environment, but he turned away everything that came into his save radius in his 12-save performance:

Saves per 100 Estimated Defensive Opportunities 52.17
Save Percentage 70.59%
Shots per Estimated Defensive Opportunity 1.07
Shots on Goal per Estimated Defensive Opportunity 0.61
Ratio of Defensive Shots on Goal to Total Shots 56.67%
Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 16.67%
Raw Defensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 29.41%

That's a hell of a way to end a career.