It’s the end of the poll as we know it, so instead of giving you a big rundown or Ryan’s opinions AND my opinions, I’ll let Ryan do all the work, and I will only chime in when I disagree with him vehemently. How our Media Poll credentials have not been revoked is an absolute mystery.
Team by team, the reporters have been baffled, trumped, tethered, and cropped. Look at that Loyola, fine, then? Uh oh, Top 20 overflow, population, common group – but it’ll have to do, so save yourself, serve yourself, and your favorite team’s interests. The World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the Rapture and the reverent in the right, right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam fight, bright light.
Honestly, I’m feeling pretty psyched.
TEOTPAWKI Top 20 Poll
Rank | RC’s Vote | Last Week rank, Team Comments from Conwell CW: comments, if needed
1 | Syracuse | LW: 2 Do I actually think Syracuse is the best team in the country? No. But I also don’t think anyone else is. If I could group multiple teams up here, I would. But since I can’t, I’ll go with the Syracuse strength of schedule/record combination. Next up for Cuse is Cornell, which is one of the best and more understated rivalries in the country. CW: I have Hofstra at #1, but Ryan doesn’t, and that is because he is sane. OR IS HE?
2 | Albany | LW: 4 Albany has now won nine straight games, and looked good doing it. Their weak schedule has allowed their younger players to adjust to college and play at Albany’s pace. The catch? None of those nine games were against a team that has a winning record. They could really justify this ranking by beating Maryland this week. A loss and they’ll definitely drop several spots. CW: I’m ok with this, but I see some upstate bias creeping in.
3 | Army | LW: 5 Like Albany, the Black Knights are on their own nine game winning streak. This has mostly been against the Patriot League, which has made a name for itself by being full of upsets. Navy and Loyola are the only two left before the Patriot tournament. While they should beat Navy, it is Army vs. Navy. So, yeah. Nobody is coming out flat in this one. CW: Can’t argue as Army keeps winning, but all 3 of Conwell’s top 3 are from NY State. Come on, everyone else!
4 | Maryland | LW: 6 Maryland took down previously unbeaten Penn State to move to 2-0 in the Big Ten. With Albany and Rutgers this week, they could truly assert themselves as the team to beat in the country. They’re already the team to beat in the Big Ten. Their two losses are both by only a goal, but they did raise question marks about this team. Right now, they’re working to erase those questions (and doing a good job of it). CW: Maryland always had the potential, and now they have the resume to prove it. I was a little worried Conwell might go with Binghamton here. Make it 4-4.
5 | Penn State | LW: 1 They finally have a loss, which is not too shocking. They were doing great, but were hardly dominant. This team could still pull together a run for the Big Ten title and is safely in the fight for an at-large bid if that fails. Basically, they should be in the NCAA tournament, and if they are, I can not think of a team who will want to play them. CW: Are losses later in the season worse than early on? I have no idea, I’m legitimately asking the question. My gut says maybe. When PSU was undefeated you could make an argument for them, but right now they have about TWO good games on their resume, and they went 1-1 in those games. If you think Villanova, Penn, Harvard, or Fairfield are “good wins”, allow me to remind you those teams are 6-5, 4-5, 5-5, and 3-8, respectively.
6 | Hofstra | LW: 8 As much as Syracuse is team “win by one”, Hofstra is team “win by two”. This was their sixth two goal win of the year. Delaware gave them almost everything they could handle, but the Pride were able answer each time and really lock away the win. Their wins are pretty good, but I still do not love this team yet. CW: Winning all your games is hard. By virtue of Hofstra being the only team left to do this, I’d like to see them higher. I have them at #1, but as I said above, my marbles are only mostly intact.
7 | Notre Dame | LW: 3 Notre Dame suffered a tough loss down at Duke. They remain a team that just doesn’t lose big. They’re now 1-2 in the ACC with North Carolina left, but they still have some great potential in their schedule to boost the resume even more. CW: Sure, they’re good.
8 | Denver | LW: 7 Denver continued their Big East domination by topping a very under the radar Villanova squad. And by Denver, I really mean Trevor Baptiste. He had an unreal game (you’ll read more about this in the D1 Rundown later this week). CW: Yeah, I don’t think we’ve seen a FoGo line like that since the days of Towers, Cantabene and MAYBE Kyle Harrison. Maybe.
9 | Ohio State | LW: 9 Ohio State scored a big win over Hopkins that I really did not think they were going to pull off. It was a great rebound from the bad Penn State defeat, though. It was also enough to prove that this team is truly a contender for the Big Ten. CW: True, all of it.
10 | Duke | LW: 12 Another April, another “Duke gets better through the season” type of win. I really think about them as a better North Carolina, though. They have plenty of weaknesses that can be exploited. They also are very inconsistent game to game. But, if they win games like this, that hardly matters. CW: Duke is good and getting better. On point. If current Duke played early March Duke, current Duke would by 12 goals. Take that to the bank of over-imaginative thinking and cash it.
11 | Hopkins | LW: 10 Losing to Ohio State is not the end of the world for this team. I did think they would win it as they seemed to be coming out of their mid-season funk. They’re now 6-4 with Michigan, Penn State, and Maryland left. Going 1-2 is not unreasonable. Doing so would make them 2-3 in their conference and out of reach of an at-large bid in all likelihood. Things are not too rosy in Homewood. That said, I’ll be shocked if Hopkins doesn’t pull this off and wind up in the NCAA tourney. CW: Here’s the problem with Hop… they’re 6-4, and 4-4 against teams with a record of .500 or better, but their 4 wins aren’t great wins. Rutgers and UVA are the best of the bunch. UNC and Loyola wins don’t look as hot. I still think this team can be as good as anyone, but when the leash is tight and guys play cautious, Hop looks average at best.
12 | Richmond | LW: 13 Beating Mercer wasn’t a big win for the Spiders, but it was enough to keep them going in the rankings. They’re still going to have to win the SoCon bid to have a good shot at a tournament seed, because their strength of schedule just is not there yet. CW: Richmond… I like them.
13 | Rutgers | LW: 14 Rutgers scored a big win over Michigan, to give them a 1-1 record in the conference. With Maryland, Penn State, and Ohio State left, there is more than enough opportunity for this season to tank. Losing out would put them right where they were a year ago, watching from home. CW: Rutgers is kind of like Hopkins, when they play loose, they look stellar, but when they play tight, they look average. Play fast and loose. It’s lacrosse!
14 | Princeton | LW: 15 Following a gaudy win over Brown, they Tigers scored a win against a decent Stony Brook squad. They should still find themselves in the Ivy tournament, but they are lacking quality wins in a big way. All their losses are good losses. It’s their lack of multiple strong wins that brings me concern. They Ivy this year is not offering much opportunity, either. CW: Drop that Yale L, and Princeton is looked at differently. They’re right there, and capable of beating anyone, but also of losing… to anyone… once they make the NCAAs. I think they will.
15 | UVA | LW: 11 In all honesty, I probably should have UVA unranked. In another week, assuming they lose to Duke, I probably will. Even though they have seven wins, they’re over Loyola, Drexel, Siena, High Point, Cornell, Richmond, and Cleveland State. Two of those are good, a few are OK, the rest are plain old wins. CW: I’ll be honest, I’m ranking UVa because of their style of play, and how it gives them the potential to beat anyone in the country. Will that happen? Not as likely, but it’s possible, so they’re Top 20 material. Locked and loaded.
16 | Loyola | LW: 16 They scored a big win over Lehigh who has been full of question marks all season. That brings Loyola to 5-2 in the Patriot league with just BU and Army left. They’ll be in the league tournament where it will be AQ or bust. CW: Is Loyola back, back again? They have all the pieces. No reason they shouldn’t be!
17 | Towson | LW: 19 Towson beat a weird UMASS team by 3, putting them at 2-0 in conference. I fully expect them to win their next two and go into their regular season finale against Hofstra 8-3. They’re a lot like Princeton in my mind. Great losses, one good win. A win over Hofstra is really needed to show what they team can do. CW: That Towson-Hofstra game is going to be SIIIIIIIICCKKKK. Just blue collar lunch pails and hard hats all over the place. They might install a brick patio and do some landscape construction at halftime. I’m down to help, and I’m handy with a Bobcat.
18 | Providence | LW: 20 The Friars are really putting together a quality season. Their biggest test will of course be Denver in a few weeks, but they do also have to face cross-town neighbor Brown before that. How Providence ends their regular season will either provide a huge boost for their Big East tournament (which they are hosting), or could bury them once again. CW: I’ll take Providence. They could be a Top 20 team. Sure.
19 | Yale | LW: UR Yale’s interesting. They started the seas 1-3 after some lofty expectations. They have now won six straight, although none are overly convincing. They did top Princeton, which is a great win, and are leading the Ivy, but this is not the Yale team I thought we were going to have this year. I did pull them into my top 20 this week, though because they do seem to have turned their season around. CW: Why isn’t Yale better? NO ONE KNOWS. Maybe they are?
20 | Binghamton | LW: 17 I dropped Binghamton back a few slots because while I love their record, their schedule has been just so weak. Are they over performing expectations? Yes. Do I expect them to be close to Albany and Syracuse in a few weeks? Not even a little. CW: Probably fair, but this is why we play the games! Imagine if the Bearcats won? You’d have to figure out what a Bearcat is!
In case you were wondering where EXACTLY I placed my own Top 20 teams, here is my CW list, in order:
Hofstra, Syracuse, Army, Albany, Maryland, Denver, Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Duke, Richmond, Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Virginia, Towson, Loyola, Yale, Binghamton, Monmouth.
Ryan was also looking at: UNC, BU, Monmouth
I was also looking at: My crystal ball, but all it showed was overtime games, deception, and upsets. Prepare for craziness.