Since I am fortunate enough to have a vote in the IL Media Poll, I think it’s only fair that I share my votes with you each week. It’s all about transparency, and it also provides you with an opportunity to spout off with your own opinions… because this pollster just might listen to you!
Behold, my newly released Top 20 Votes for the IL Media Poll for February 23rd! The full Media Poll will come out on InsideLacrosse.com later today.
Photo Credits: Craig Chase
IL Media Poll Insider Top 20 Votes
1) Denver – Denver is sitting pretty right now, but they’re not alone in the top spot. Syracuse, Notre Dame, UNC, Virginia, and even others, can make good arguments for top billing. We’ll see a lot of this play out, but for now I’m trusting this Tierney team as my #1.
2) Syracuse – I’ve said it before and I’ll probably keep saying it… Cuse is back! I’m loving how this team melds transition with six on six offense, and how everyone finds ways to get involved. The D is physical, but will need to clean things up a bit when the Orange faces Top 5 competition a little later on.
3) Notre Dame – ND is just doing what ND does, and putting in the work. It’s not the flashiest lacrosse, but it’s not the same old Fighting Irish lacrosse program either, and there are some real highlight level players on this roster. I like where this team is at already, and it’s still only February.
4) North Carolina – UNC has really impressed me this year, even though it’s early. The offense looks settled and they generate goals in a number of ways. Once the D makes a mistake, the offense has been capitalizing well so far. On defense, there doesn’t seem to be any panic left in Chapel Hill. That makes the Tar Heels a contender in my book. At least for the rest of the winter… They play Denver on Feb 27th. Can. Not. Wait.
5) Virginia – I was worried about the Cavs on defense this year, but so far those fears have been largely unfounded. The Wahoos are 3-0, scoring enough to win higher scoring games, and playing good team defense on the other end. This team still needs to develop but they are surprising some people (like me) and deserve to move on up. On March 1st the D will be truly tested when UVa goes to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
6) Yale – Yale is 2-0, and looked confident against Maryland. How can you not boost them up into the Top 10? All the preseason stuff is over, and I want results. So far, Yale has them! Tearing up UMass Lowell is good, beating the Terps 10-6 is better. The Yale D is consistent and plays great body, but they also create turnovers and can be aggressive. I like the Bulldogs!
7) Duke – The Blue Devils move up a spot, and I don’t have anything negative to say about them. It’s a building process with Duke, and I expect them to hover around here, and climb as the season tails down, to the part that REALLY counts. Or they’ll be mediocre… but do you actually believe that? Right now they’re my highest ranked one loss team.
8) Albany – Yes, Lyle Thompson got hurt, but that didn’t stop the Danes from dispatching a tough Drexel team in convincing fashion. Two Thompsons may be gone, but the cupboard is not bare for UAlbany. The defense looked better as the game wore on, goaltending was huge, and face offs seemed somewhat improved. All around, the Danes looked solid.
9) Cornell – Cornell rebounded after an early loss to Cuse with a convincing win over Hobart. Like Duke, I think Cornell will start to shine later in the year in 2015, and they have a great stretch of games coming up against Binghamton, Albany, Virginia, Yale, Colgate, and then Penn, to prove me completely wrong.
10) Army – The Black Knights are my dark horse right now, especially after their game with Cuse last night. They have so much fight in them! I like how Army plays, and I think they have the firepower to play with many of the top level teams in the country. Their offense is less predictable, and more bloodthirsty for goals than I have seen them in a while. There is speed, motion, and passing. Oh, and some outrageous shooters. The defense is tough, athletic, and patient. Goaltending is a huge strength it seems. Keep a close eye on all things Army Lacrosse this spring. This is a team to watch.
11) Maryland – Maryland got knocked down a couple pegs by Yale, who really looked impressive. It’s not enough to send Maryland screaming down the polls, but the Terps will need to win some games now to stay highly ranked.
12) Towson – Towson’s loss against Loyola doesn’t look so hot now that Loyola lost to Holy Cross, but Loyola is still a top 20 team for me, and that Hopkins win still looks really good. 2-1 is ok right now, but Towson will need to win the vast majority of their remaining games to stay here or move up.
13) Johns Hopkins – Hop gave UNC a good game, and that bodes well for the success of this team down the line. Right now, Hopkins has two solid wins and two Top 20 losses. They will need to beat Princeton on Saturday to reinforce their strength.
14) Harvard – A 14-13 win over UMass doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence for a team that is in my Top 15, but early on I’ll take a win as a win and move on. Plenty of offense for the Crimson this year, but that defensive unit definitely needs to tighten up.
15) Penn – The Quakers have now won two squeakers, by 2 goals over UMBC, and by one goal in OT over St. Joseph’s. This is typical Penn lacrosse – play to the level of your opponent and beat them by a goal or two. They did it last year, and it seems to be the theme for this year. If they keep winning like this, they can move up slowly.
16) Princeton – There were some questions about Princeton this year, but those questions should be evaporating a bit after the Tigers took down Hofstra in a heavy snow storm. Neither team could rely on athleticism all that much because of the snow cover, and it quickly became a game of ball movement and passing. The Tigers looked great in this element and created lots of good looks with their unselfish play.
17) Holy Cross – Maybe you think I’m crazy for ranking HC so high, and that their win over Loyola was a fluke, but right now Holy Cross is 2-0, and they just beat a Top 10 team (by most people’s standards). You can make excuses, or you can rank HC in the Top 20. If the lose, they can drop out, but a win like that and a 2-0 record gets them in for any sane person.
18) Loyola – The Hounds do have two solid wins on their schedule in Towson and Penn State, and the loss to Top 5 Virginia isn’t bad either, but this loss to Holy Cross knocks them down quite a bit. HC is now above Loyola, which seems weird right now, but according to the results, it’s legit. All this will certainly change somehow, but for now, it’s a fair spot.
19) Marquette – The Golden Eagles are still sitting at 3-0, and no one has impressed me so much that I would drop them out of the Top 20. Big game with Detroit looms on Friday, and then Ohio State on Sunday. If Marquette wins both of those, the believers will start to get on board.
20) Michigan – Notre Dame won in dominant fashion over Michigan this past weekend, but I do have Notre Dame as my #3 team overall, and I believe a case for #1 could be made for the Irish. If Michigan wants to stay in the Top 20, they’re going to need to win the next 5 games they play. If they do accomplish that, I could see them going as high as 14 or 15. If they lose one of those games, the program could easily drop out of the Top 20, at least for now.