It’s chaos in the polls this week as a number of games has unexpected outcomes. The votes are in and this week’s Media Poll is official. I’m still the only person with Syracuse at #1, and that’s because I look at the ENTIRE resume of a team, and not just the last week or two’s action. Serioulsy… NO ONE else thinks Cuse is #1 right now? HA!
Here are my votes, and my reasoning!
Confusion And Chaos In The Polls
1) Syracuse – I still have Cuse as my #1 team, and not just because they looked like a clearly superior squad against Albany, but because they have a GREAT overall resume. Yes, they lost to ND who is at #2, but ND lost a game to Denver, so let’s not get into that nonsense. Head to head wins mean something for sure, but an OT loss on the road doesn’t mean you can’t be #1. Cuse is proof. I really do think I have this one right and EVERYONE else has it wrong. The Orange are the most complete team in the nation, and no one is perfect in 2015. My #1 team still!
2) Notre Dame – Of course Notre Dame is also a VERY complete team, and they’re right on Syracuse’s heels in this poll of my mind. I like Cuse’s face off potential a bit more than Notre Dame’s. In a rematch, I think that would sway the result. It’s all about your OVERALL resume now and if ND can lose to Denver, they can lose to Cuse. FACTS.
3) Maryland – Ok, Terps, you’re impressing me in a major way. I misjudged you, and for that, Ia apologize. 8 straight wins including one over Princeton in solid fashion and a two goal win over UNC to hand them their only loss of the year? That sounds like a #3 team resume to me. The Terps have looked like a whole new hardshell since Yale. Darwin’s Galapagos Tortoise would be so proud.
4) North Carolina – If the Maryland game had gone the other way, every single pollster in the country would have UNC as the #1 team right now, and I wouldn’t argue with that. In fact, I’d probably be leading the charge. It’s amazing how one game can color and shift opinions so much, and it shows how flawed even the very best polls can be. UNC is a definite contender at #4. Strong overall resume and roster.
5) Denver – And the contender list grows to five! Denver hasn’t been perfect this year, but try to remember, it’s still only April. I feel crazy even having to say that! With the start of the college lacrosse season creeping ever earlier, what we think we know tends to change a lot more as the season goes on. Denver has been great in their last two games, and they need to keep the pedal down as they finish up their Big East schedule with St. Johns’s, Providence, and Marquette. All three should be challenges and potential trap games!
6) Albany – While I ranked Albany this high, I’m not sure it was the right move. Look at me doubting my own poll so quickly! Their resume is only OK, but their offensive potential makes me put them in at #6. I almost hate ranking a team based on potential at this point, but when I watch Albany play, it is definitely there. Plus they have a lot of wins. There is more to this team than Lyle Thompson, and if it all comes together, Albany can play with, and beat, anyone.
7) Cornell – The Big Red have played a number of tough and tight games recently, and won most of them. Their recent loss to Harvard doesn’t hurt them all that much, but it did help me justify moving the Danes (#6) above a team that had beaten them previously. I like Cornell, but when I watch them play they can look predictable at times, and in the latter season and playoffs, that worries me.
8) Duke – Duke is 0-3 in their last three games, and while to some this means the wheels are falling off, I’m not sold on that idea. The games were against Cuse, ND, and UNC, and while Duke looked rough against Syracuse (so have a lot of other teams) they were closer to the other two. We’re learning Miles Jones can’t be the only answer for Duke, and that means this team is going to adapt and change before the end of the season. If we know it, they know it too! So watch out for Duke, and expect wrinkle city on their current offense come playoff time. In this case I’m really looking at their overall resume… like for the last 3 years.
9) Virginia – Duke’s last three losses are Virginia’s only three losses this year, so again, you’re looking at a team that has dropped games to the #1, 2, and 4 teams in the country, and all of those losses were by 6 goals or less. UVa plays Duke this week in a huge game for both teams, and while I don’t always use one game to judge a team, this upcoming match up might break the rule. This is a BIG game for both teams.
10) Army – Army still has most of the tools you need to be a top 10 team, but they are neck and neck with a couple of teams in my poll. Yale, Brown, and Stony Brook all got some consideration for the 10 spot, but in the end I went with Army because of their strong offensive potential. Yale might be a little more consistent, and Brown definitely has a more explosive superstar and dangerous style of play, but Army seems to have a little more depth, and I like that for an extended run into the late season.
11) Yale – Yale might not have the depth that Army has, but they are a very consistent team, and they have the talent where they need it. If there is one squad in the nation I trust to win a bunch of tight games when it counts, it has to be Yale. If they run into an offensive juggernaut, I think they could struggle, but I have them above Brown right now, so clearly even I doubt that statement to some degree!
12) Brown – If this were 10 years ago I would still have Brown in my Top 10, but things have changed and any offensive scheme centered around one player CAN become predictable. For much of the season, Brown has looked unpredictable, but I think the scouting reports are starting to build up a bit and the Bears don’t look quite so crazy and hard to figure out. Only putting up 11 goals against Penn is a good example of that. Penn is conservative team, bent on limiting chances. Anyone who plays Brown the rest of the way needs to watch that tape!
13) Stony Brook – Oh hey, Sea Wolves! Last week I threw you in the Top 20, and this week I look like a genius because you’re climbing the ladder! After a two goal loss to Albany people took notice. Four straight wins (with the last coming over Princeton) makes SBU an undeniable selection for this week’s poll. They’re 9-2 with a softer schedule, but SBU can score, and as you can see, I typically like that!
14) Ohio State – OSU is 9-3, and I am going to throw that Notre Dame game out the window and act like it didn’t happen. Why? Because that didn’t look like the OSU I’ve seen at any other point in the year. It looked like an aberration. It had better be! OSU is on fire right now and may have just sealed the coffin on Johns Hopkins with a huge 15-12 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday night.
15) Princeton – I can’t knock the Tigers too far down even though they’ve lost their last two games. Brown is a potential monster still, and Stony Brook seems to be legit this year. That being said, Princeton has four games left before the Ivy tournament, and if they drop more than one of those games, they could drop down in the polls a couple more spots. When the Tigers play true team ball, they have what it takes to be a top 10 team.
16) Georgetown – Two wins over 10-20 teams and two losses to 1-10 teams put Gtown at #16 comfortably. Villanova and St. John’s are both must win games, and the Hoyas upcoming battle with Virginia on April 18th is suddenly a VERY attractive game to watch. Three more wins would bump the Hoyas up in nearly every single poll and NCAA ranking.
17) Towson – It was kind of a toss up between Towson and Navy, and only one of them was getting in this week. Whichever one I picked would go a couple spots up from 20, but I didn’t like them both in the Top 20, which seems crazy, I know. In the end, I went with Towson because Navy just got beat by 10 by Loyola, and that make me seriously question the Midshipmen.
18) Loyola – And here we have Loyola. Sitting at 5-5, coming off an 11-4 loss to Colgate, I thought Loyola might be done, but then they go and destroy a tough Navy team. The Hounds are Top 20 material again. Wins over Bucknell and BU need to happen. A win over Maryland would be enough to move the Hounds up considerably, and it would be a timely win!
19) Fairfield – The Stags are riding a 5 game win streak, and look to be moving up as the season moves on. They have four losses, but all four are to solid teams. Their game on April 11th with Towson is huge for both programs.
20) Marquette – It’s probably not fair to Marquette to drop them this hard, but a 9-3 loss to Bellarmine really shook my confidence in the Golden Eagles. Bellarmine has talent, but a top 10 team doesn’t get tripled up by a non ranked team with a 3-6 record. Marquette had to drop way down. At 9-2, they’re still a top 20 team, and with games against Notre Dame, Providence, Duke, and Denver remaining, there is plenty of opportunity to move back up!
BONUS – You CAN’T Rank Hopkins (Or Penn)
As much as anyone wants to, it’s really not an option to put Johns Hopkins in your Top 20 at this point. They have only FOUR wins, and their biggest W of the year is over Navy. Their wins are over teams with a 20-23 combined record. While I sincerely applaud the Blue Jays for playing such a tough schedule, you simply can’t go 0-6 against current Top 20 teams and expect to be a Top 20 team yourself.
SOS is great, and some of the games have been really close, but this is simply not the resume of a winner. If this weren’t Hop, would they still be getting votes? Penn is in the same boat! They have a Top 10 win over Brown, but they are 4-6 right now with 1-4 Top 20 record and two losses to non top 20 teams. They should simply NOT be ranked either.
At a certain point, we need to stop ranking teams on what we think. The preseason is over, a lot of the results are in, and the fat lady is warming up. It’s time to rank teams based on what they have won and done, and a 4-6 record simply doesn’t match up. Now, If Hop can beat Michigan, Penn State, and then MARYLAND, it’s a different conversation… but they really need to go 3-0 to be in the conversation, and to have a winning record!