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#1 Ranked Teams Lose: Is It Time For Them To Panic?

Both Syracuse and Tufts, number 1s in Division 1 and Division 3 respectively, lost yesterday.  Cuse lost to #5 Cornell at home 11-6, and Tufts lost to 18th ranked Endicott on the road 9-8.

The Set Up

Cornell has been looking very dangerous all year and probably have the unanimous player of the year in Rob Pannell.  Cuse is also loaded up with talent, but Cornell clearly came to play against the Orange, winning by a very nice margin.  The loss will certainly knock Cuse out of the top spot, and since Cornell doesn’t play again until March 23rd, they have to the be the new #1 in D1.  I would expect Cuse to drop to the middle of the Top 10 assuming they bounce back and beat Providence easily this weekend.

Thompson and Cuse looked good but couldn't beat Cornell.

More great Cuse – Cornell Photos on Laxpower.com

Tufts traveled up the road to Beverly, MA and played an excited and clicking Endicott team that really brought their A-game to the contest.  Although the Power Gulls lost to Stevens and Amherst early (two top 10 quality teams), they have really rebounded nicely and now sit at 10-2 with a win over the then #1 team in the nation.

Endicott should jump up nicely in the polls as all 3 of their losses will now be to Top 10 teams (assuming Amherst keeps winning) and these kids can really play when they put together a full game.  I’d expect them to be in the 8-12 range, but could stay lower if coaches aren’t paying attention and doing an honest poll.  It’s happened before.

The Questions

So what do these two games really mean?  Is Cuse overrated?  Is Cornell the top dog?  Is true parity finally here?  How do you rank Tufts now?  Is the NESCAC overrated?  Can Tufts still be considered a favorite to win it all?

The Answers

Cuse is not overrated. Let’s start there.  They lost a game, convincingly, to a very good team.  That is true.  But it doesn’t mean they can’t come back from it, and it’s why I expect them to stay high in the polls.  These guys have been able to play a lot of different styles of lacrosse and most have worked.  So they found one that doesn’t.  I’m still a believer.

Cornell could very easily be the top dog now.  But I personally like Notre Dame.  They play their style, they play it well and no matter how many times I hear it, they are NOT slow.  They may slow the ball down a bit, but they’ve got athletes and team speed and have to the #1 team, as long as they keep winning.  Now is parity here in D1?  No.  Cornell beating Cuse could be a headline from the 70s.  This game means nothing for that.  Now if Providence beats Cuse, we can talk.

Tufts is still a top 5 team.  They lost a game, Yes.  But they’ve also beaten a LOT of good teams, including Stevenson AT Stevenson.  That’s big.  They have a tough D, a great offensive QB, athletes, and players with experience.  If they figure out who their goalie is, and that kid performs, they’re probably still my #1.  Endicott will rise in the polls, but Tufts might not fall that much.  Whoever wins the Stevenson – Salisbury game will probably be the number 1 team, but I don’t know that I agree with that.

Is the NESCAC overrated?  Give me a break.  No way. Sure, Tufts lost to Endicott, but Amherst beat Endicott, and Tufts beat Stevenson.  The NESCAC is really good, but it’s not head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.  I don’t think anyone is arguing for that though.  The fact is, the NESCAC is still the top conference in the country in any division.  Great top teams, upsets, parity and it’s still the only conference to have 4 conference champs, 5 NCAA teams, and 2 National Champs in the last decade.  But the gap is shrinking.  And that’s a good thing!

Tufts is still my favorite to win it all. I actually think this loss will help them narrow down their mistakes and they’ll be better than ever.  They play Conn College at home this weekend.  I would not want to play for Conn College right now.