5 teams down, 5 teams up, and ten more to go until the entirety of the Preseason NCAA Division 1 Men’s Lacrosse Rankings is out there for all to see. The teams occupying these five spots are all incredibly strong, and any one of them could conceivably make a huge jump as 2013 plays out. We’re getting into potential national title contender territory, and figuring out who is real this year and who isn’t is all part of the fun.
You’re probably scratching your head right now as Drexel went 8-8 last year, but they have youthful talent and lost a ton of close games in 2012, making me think 2013 is going to see a big time uptick in wins. Last year Drexel lost to the #5, 8, 14, and 20 ranked teams by a goal. They lost to Loyola by 2 and by six. Other than their 5 goal loss to Villanova, they were right there. I’m seeing an improved Dragons in 2013.
This is one of those picks where I worry I’ve gone too low with a team. Sure, the Cavs lost quite a bit of talent, but they seem to just reload with so much consistency, that it’s hard to drop them. My feeling is that Dom Starsia will have his group ready to roll with anyone by midseason, and that we’re still going to see a lot of innovative team play from the Wahoos. Personnel losses may hurt this team less than they would many others.
Syracuse is sort of like Drexel in that they lost a lot of close games last year against some really tough teams. I’m interested to see the Cuse offense this year and how it changes, because 2 or 3 more goals a game would do wonders for the Orange. If the aforementioned happens and Cuse’s D really gets back to that team-oriented focus, it could be a good year in the Dome.
Colgate has been right there for a while now and last year was a nice “hump year” for them to get past. If they’re looking to improve again, which I’m sure they are, 2013 looks like a good year. It’s not often that Colgate will get into a defensive battle with anyone, and the key to their success is pumping in goals, goals, goals. It is where their strength lies, and to win big games, they’ll need to keep putting up big numbers.
Umass is the kind of team I want to rank higher AND lower, so I put them here. I think they’ll win a lot of games again, and are certainly talented, but I don’t know if they are really a Top 5, or Top 10 team. My gut says they are, so I’m not dropping them too far, but limited winning margins make me nervous when they don’t come against the rest of the Top 10.
Check out teams 16-20 from yesterday.