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: Mark Selders – PSU Atheltics
Rank | USILA Poll | Nike/IL Poll | Quint’s Top 20 | My Ranking
1) UNC | Notre Dame | Notre Dame | I have been hating the #1 picks this year by most, but as the season wears on, the Coaches nail it with UNC. I personally like Duke here, but to not vote Duke or UNC as the #1 team right now is kind of insane. Some are just addicted to ND, Denver and Maryland, I guess. IT HAS TO BE ONE OF THOSE THREE! Weird?
2) Notre Dame | Maryland | Duke | Now I’ll pick UNC at #2. They keep winning and look better and better as the season goes on. Speaking of looking better… Notre Dame is looking up as well. I like their fight, and they seem to be employing a better change of pace of play in games now. It makes them more dangerous.
3) Maryland | UNC | UNC | Ok, now I’ll go with Notre Dame. I like their D, and their offense is greatly improved, but I still have some concerns about them being a number 1 team right now. Glad to see the rest of the pickers are finally giving UNC a little love. It was about time.
4) Denver | Cornell | Denver | We’re getting later on into the season now, and Penn State is clicking. They beat Denver a while back AND they have 8 straight wins, with three over top 20 teams. I like the Nittany Lions. Why does everyone else have them so low? Those early tight losses (one to ND in OT) don’t look quite so bad now, do they?
5) Duke | Denver | Maryland | For me, Loyola is a Top 5 team. They are relatively consistent, improving, and have bounced back nicely from a trying early season. I am beginning to put less stock in those games, and Loyola looks good right now.
6) Cornell | Duke | Syracuse | Time to hit up Maryland! Honestly, my Top 10 is all really competitive. THe difference between #2 and #7, for example, is really quite slim. That’s why I can move my teams around more than other pollsters. I don’t have a set ranking in my mind. It is what it is each week and I haven’t seen anything from Maryland that says they should be any higher. The loss to playoff hungry Hop didn’t help. Of course next week I could have them at #1.
7) Loyola | Syracuse | Cornell | Is it tough to rank teams? You know it is. I’ll go with Cornell at #7. Still a team to beat, but this week they look a little more vulnerable, so they fall a bit.
8) Penn State | Loyola | Penn State | Now I’ll go with Denver. Was it the one goal loss to Fairfeidl that drops them so low? Sort of. It’s really the fact that they beat Loyola in a great game the week before and then dropped a winnable game. Don’t love that near playoff time, but the Pioneers are still a contender.
9) Syracuse | Penn State | Loyola | I really just don’t see how anyone can have Syracuse ranked above Albany at this point. Albany in the Top 10! Albany has won their last six games, and averaged a nine goal+ winning margin over their last three wins. Cuse lost to Hobart and squeaked by Gtown.
10) Albany | Albany | Ohio State | I’ll take Hopkins at #10 right now, because they are playing must win lacrosse. Lose and they could be out of the tourney. The pressure is on. Hopkins NCAA tourney started two weeks ago. They will be a tough out for anyone.
11) Hopkins | Hopkins | Albany | I’m giving the nod to Princeton here. They are dangerous and probably the last team I view as a true contender. Syracuse might get that mark as well actually… but Princeton is talented and can beat anyone. I don’t know that they can win it all, but they can definitely knock off a heavy favorite on any day.
12) Princeton | Princeton | Princeton | I will begrudgingly rank Syracuse at #12. With the talent they have on that team, and the flashes of greatness shown, I think they could be a Top 4 team this year. However moments of distraction, and letting other teams claw their way back in to games gives me serious pause. I liken Cuse to Princeton. They can beat ANYONE, but can they beat anyone in three or four consecutive games? I’m not sold that they can… yet.
13) Ohio State/Bucknell | Ohio State | Hopkins | Here is my first excellent team that I don’t think of as a total contender: Ohio State. Very talented, can win a big game or two, and has some serious horses, but at the same time, I don’t believe they have “it” in 2013. Tough to draw the line here, as OSU is tough, but I think they need a little more depth to make a real run.
14) N/A | Lehigh | Lehigh | If Yale had topped Maryland, I would probably have them in my Top 5. The close loss was good, but I want to see Yale knock someone off to bump them up further. Their early win over Albany is good, but I’m not sure that would turn out the same way now. Still, don’t count Yale out… they could still play shocker and make a run.
15) Yale | Yale | Bucknell | My #15 team is Drexel. I love PSU right now, so I’ll write that loss of. Two wins over hungry UMass and Towson impress me. Those are NOT easy wins right now. Drexel making moves at 10-3.
16) Lehigh | Bucknell | Yale | I’ll take Penn at #16. They don’t stand out in a major way, but their overall performance is solid. This is a program on the rise, and they could be the 2013 version of 2012 Yale with great ease. It’s the Murphy way.
17) Drexel | Drexel | Drexel | #17 gets the Lehigh treatment. 5 straight wins, a W over PSU, and I’ll let the UMass loss go as the Minutemen are actually ok again.
18) Penn | Penn | Penn | I wanted to rank Bucknell higher, but they just lost to Lehigh, so I can’t. That was must win for Bucknell if they wanted to be a Top 15 team.
19) Army | Villanova | Villanova | Let’s get outside of the normal, and rank someone who no one else is even considering… AIR FORCE! The AFA is now 6-7, and has lost 4 of their last six games. Three of those losses were to OSU (10-9), Denver (11-10 in OT), and Loyola (13-7). Look out for the Falcons next year. This is a program on the rise in a major way.
20) Fairfield | St. John’s | Army | The other polls all went a little wacky with their #20 pick, but I’m going with Marist. 9-2 is good, but against a week schedule. Only one top 20 game, which was a 19-11 loss to Duke, but hey, I like Duke, so Marist gets the nod at #20.
These teams also got votes in the USILA Poll: St. John’s, Villanova, Virginia, Marist
These teams also got votes in the Nike/IL Poll: Fairfield, Army, Towson, Marist, Hobart
Quint’s Next Five: none listed, but Quint knows the importance of first-time grounders. Don’t worry, I’m not sure what that means either.
BIG Takeaways: Certain teams seem to be almost locked in to certain spots, or at least certain areas, in the polls. For example, Notre Dame, Denver, and Maryland are all kept near the top no matter what. Win big? stay at the top. Lose a shocker? Move down a spot or two. I get that these teams are good, and that people believe they are good, but a loss is a loss sometimes. Not to harp on ND, but they have TWO losses to unranked or barely ranked teams, and one was about two weeks ago. How can they be #1 and UNC is #3?
Yeah, it kind of seems like predisposed bias to me too.