I’m calling an audible for the 2016 D3 Lacrosse Poll… Hot Route! Omaha, Omaha!
For this week’s D3 Rankings, I am going to kindly pass on taking a stab at ranking the Top 20 teams in the country, and instead give my TOP FOUR TEAMS in both the North and South, as well as a handful of Non-Automatic bid teams that could make a lot of noise come mid-May. There is still a lot of lacrosse to play, but these are my big time contenders… for now!
You may call this a cop out, which it somewhat is, but I am going to call it “Breaking Down the Regions Pre-Tournament Time“. And we have some video!
Wow, that was a mouthful.
Let’s be honest for a second, if anyone on the internet thinks they can nail down a PERFECT Top 20 at this point then I will tip my cap to them. I tried, and failed miserably, after looking into it.
Just like a calculus test back in the day, I studied, showed up, and only left the room with more questions, and certainly less answers. So let’s get into it. I will start with what I feel are the top teams in the North heading into conference tournaments. Please note, they are in ranking order.
2016 D3 Lacrosse – NORTH
1. RIT (LIBERTY AQ)
Before the “homer” chants start firing up, it should be known that I am going at this as unbiased as possible. Do I love the school I graduated from? Just as much as the next guy. There is something to be said about playing one of the hardest schedules in the sport, a schedule that has gotten exponentially harder since my days in Rochester. With only one blemish on the schedule to a team that always plays them tough, they land here. The streak of regular season wins had to end some time, and I think it will ultimately help RIT down the road… or I sure hope it will!
2. ITHACA (E8 AQ)
Is there a team in the country hotter than the Bombers? Ithaca, New York is used to seeing the Big Red from Cornell turn it on come tournament time, but this year it looks like the tables have flipped, with the Bombers being that go-to team. Based on their routes over their fellow E8 teams, is anyone doubting that they bring home the cotton t-shirts come May?
3. TUFTS (NESCAC AQ)
Two goals away from being undefeated in what is easily the hardest conference in D3 lacrosse. If they can take care of business over the next few weeks then they should land in the top four without a question. What will be interesting to see is if they somehow flip flop with Ithaca, and grab the two seed. Regardless, I think it will take a lot for them to be hosting the North finale at Bello field.
4. ST. LAWRENCE (POOL C)
Two Liberty League teams you may ask? Yes. I think an appearance in the Liberty League championship gets them this spot. Another close game with RIT in the finals will solidify it. This is a very strong team that almost no team will want to travel to come NCAA time. Heck, there may even be a light dusting up there come mid-May. Seen it before!
Best Of The Rest:
Denison: The always complicated question of “Where to stick the NCAC winner?” will play a part, but my gut tells me the North this year, and mark my words; no team listed above will want to see these guys.
Amherst: Pool C from NESCAC
Bates: Another Pool C from NESCAC
Middlebury: No way they’d do another Pool C from the NESCAC, would they? It has happened before, and if Tufts doesn’t win the league AQ, and a team like Wesleyan or Bowdoin wins it, the chances for 4 NESCAC teams goes up even higher.
WNEU (CCC AQ)
2016 D3 Lacrosse – SOUTH
1. SALISBURY (CAPITAL AQ)
If you are reading this and agree with ONLY one thing I have written, this should be it. And it should be known that I am patting myself on the back for it! SU is back, fully, and they are a scary good team.
2. GETTYSBURG (CENTENNIAL AQ)
Ithaca of the South? Sure, why not? Two early season losses, followed by eight straight wins. A lot of those wins were over quality opponents too. If they can handle their business these next few weeks, I don’t see them leaving this spot. What could get interesting is if the committee decides put Denison in the South. That would likely cause a lot of frustration with Bullets fans, understandably so.
3. STEVENSON (MAC COMMENWEALTH AQ)
For a team that many people (including myself) may have written off at the beginning of the year; it looks like they have settled in nicely. I think they benefit greatly from playing in possibly the weaker region. That’s a debate for another day by the way. But, I think most people would agree. They should handle business these next couple of weeks, anything otherwise would be a huge upset and let down.
4. CABRINI (CSAC AQ)
Some people may think is is a mouthwatering matchup for the whoever the top seed may be. I’d disagree. They play a cupcake schedule, blah blah blah. I think they could make a run, especially when their goalie gets hot.
Best of the rest:
York: Pool C. Potentially a #4 seed as well.
OWU: Pool C plus being put in the South.
There it is folks!
I love toting the line of argumentative banter, so feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below!