The USILA and Nike/IL Polls for NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse have been released. Quint Kessenich has dropped his Top 20. Let’s break down the Polls and rankings, and see if they are serious!
I will add in my ranking of the Top 20 to provide an alternative view on the situation.
Main Photo Credit: Craig Chase
Rank | USILA Poll | Nike/IL Poll | Quint’s Top 20 | My Ranking
1) Maryland – Maryland – Maryland - ND loses and we go right back to the Terps? Not to UNC, who just beat them, is riding a 4 game winning streak, and has 3 straight wins over top 20 teams? Not Cornell, who has 3 straight wins, and was #2 a little while back. Not Loyola, who is back to form? Not Duke, who has won 6 straight games, including two Top 10 wins? Marlyand? Ok then. I’ll go with Cornell here.
2) Cornell – Cornell – Denver - Denver is an adventurous pick here, but I like it. I’ll go with Duke, which is equally adventurous. A rough start has given way to a tremendous run of wins. Who is the best right NOW? Duke should be in that conversation.
3) Denver – Denver – Cornell – I’m going with UNC at #3. I doubted this team, but they have been playing well lately, and must be rewarded. Maryland at #1 and UNC at #6 is bordering on offensive at this point in the season because it focuses on what teams did, and not on what they are doing.
4) UNC – Notre Dame – Notre Dame - I like Notre Dame, and think they are very good, but #4 might be a tad high as they have two losses at home to good teams in Hofstra and St. John’s. Unless at least one of those two teams are solid top 10 teams, I find it hard to keep them in the Top 5. I like Loyola as my #4 team.
5) Notre Dame – Loyola – Duke - I’ll take Denver at #5. They are obviously talented, but the Pioneers seem to be edging closer and closer towards putting it all together. Close games are good if you can find ways to win them, and Denver is doing that, for the most part. Yes, they lost to Notre Dame, and I have them ranked above ND. If they played again, I’d pick Denver. That’s how that works.
6) Loyola – UNC – UNC - I’ll take Maryland at #6. I know they are good, but I haven’t seen why (recently) they are a #1 team. The entire Top 7-8 teams are all contenders at this point, so don’t look at #6 as being too big of a knock on the Terps.
7) Duke – Princeton – Loyola - Tough call here, but Notre Dame is my #7. See? I like the Irish, and think they’re only two spots behind Denver, whom they beat earlier in the year. It all makes sense.
8) Princeton/Syracuse – Syracuse – Syracuse - I am starting to like Syracuse again more and more, but I still don’t see why they are ranked so high. Sure, some of their earlier wins (like the one over St. John’s) are looking better, but those two losses to Villanova and Albany stick out. I like Albany, but no one else seems to. I’m going with Princeton.
9) N/A – Duke – Princeton - Why not go out on a limb and reward a 7-2 team with some BIG recent wins? I’ll take St. John’s at #9. 4 straight wins and two of those over Top 20 teams? I’ll reward it!
10) Johns Hopkins – St. John’s – Bucknell - Let’s go with Hopkins here! Well, I will any way. I like Hop, think they’re good, and as their zone improves, I’ll probably move them up. It’s a dynamic defensive look, and they are running it better week over week. Impressed and expect them to rise.
11) Bucknell – Johns Hopkins – St. John’s - Ok, now I can slot Syracuse in to the Top 20. They have good wins, a strong defense, and an offense with potential. The ball movement for the Orange is like it was days of old. There is urgency on this team. They will improve more. Watch for it.
12) Drexel – Penn State – Ohio State – I have to go with Penn State here, and I had a hard time not ranking them higher. 5 straight wins, and a dominant 11-3 win over Bucknell has PSU looking really sharp. 12 really might be way too low. I can even blast my OWN poll. Does anyone else do that?
13) Penn State – Bucknell – Penn State - This might be my craziest pick yet: Yale. They are 1-2 in their last three games, but I can’t hold losses to Cornell and Princeton against them. I just can’t. TONS of tight games, and a team that can compete. I like the Bulldogs right now.
14) St. John’s – Drexel – Johns Hopkins - Another Ivy League team with a couple of recent losses is Penn, and I like them too. It’s hard for pollsters not to drop teams because of losses, but when they are to other really good teams, and they are close, are they really that bad? That is the hardest part of these polls each week.
15) Ohio State – Ohio State – Yale - Yes, OSU has lost two games, 9-4, to Top 10 teams in their last three games. This makes me nervous. I like OSU, but I am starting to think they will need to make big improvements over the next month to be around when it really counts.
16) Yale – Yale – Penn – Bucknell is good, and I like their record, but I am not convinced yet that they deserved to jump up so high so quickly. It’s hard not to reward Bucknell for beating Cornell (my #1), but I need to see more before I can put them any higher again. The computer on Laxpower, the Polls… they all tell me I’m wrong. It’s possible.
17) Penn – Penn – Drexel - I’m sticking with my guns, and I’m sticking with Albany in my Top 20. The game on April 5th with Hopkins should be endlessly entertaining, and will tell us if Albany can hang with a disciplined, talented, and athletic team. I’m curious to see how they do.
18) Virginia – Lehigh – Albany - I’ll take Bellarmine at #18. They are 7-2 with two losses to Loyola and OSU, each by two goals.
19) Lehigh – Virginia – Virginia - I’ll take Brown at #19. The Bears are competitive, and winning some solid games. They could pull a good “2012 Yale” in the Ivy playoffs this year.
20) Albany – Albany – Bellarmine - At #20, the polls and Quint get more adventurous. Better late than never? My risky pick is Drexel. Just kidding… the only risk there is putting them so low at #20. If they top Penn State this week, they move up quickly. For me, they need a good win though, and I don’t know that Hofstra satisfies that need for me. Everyone else has Drexel much higher.
These teams also got votes in the USILA Poll: Hofstra, Army, Brown, Bellarmine, Marist
These teams also got votes in the Nike/IL Poll: Hofstra, Bellarmine, Marist, Army, Towson, Villanova, Brown
Quint’s Next Five: Hofstra, Lehigh, Army, Brown, Villanova
One BIG question I have is: How is Virginia still ranked? They are 1-5 in their last six games, with five losses to Top 20 teams. Three of those games were close. Their one win during that span is at home over Vermont, 12-10. Their one Top 20 win is over Drexel, in the first game of the season, when Chris LaPierre was still playing, 13-12 in OT. I know this is a program of legend, but as a Top 20 team right now… I just don’t see it.