Welcome to my personal Top 20, where I share my Inside Lacrosse Media Poll votes with the public (why keep them private?) and talk a little bit about why I ranked my teams the way I did. Thanks to Inside Lacrosse for asking me to join the Media Poll, and for including so many different people. That’s the way to do it.
For video, news, and more from the weekend, check out the News & Video Explosion up on LAS. Now let’s get to those T0p 20 votes!
Inside Lacrosse Media Poll Insider Top 20
1) Denver – Duke was 3-0 entering their game with Denver and the Pioneers still dispatched the Blue Devils 17-13. That’s a good way to open the season for Denver, and it keeps them as a legitimate number 1 in anyone’s eyes.
2) Syracuse – Cuse has looked slick early on, and if they’re not firing on all cylinders already, look out D1. They can run, have a deep midfield, score in bunches if they need to, and can also play control lacrosse. Their D is showing zone looks and man is tight. Cuse is an easy choice for a top 2 slot this week.
3) Notre Dame – They won. It was a 14-12 game to open the season for both ND and Georgetown and the game location was moved. All that adds up to Syracuse jumping ND in the polls. A win is a win for Notre Dame, so I won’t dock them too much, but that D needs to tighten up as we move forward. For now, I can’t get over my subjective approval of Notre Dame.
4) North Carolina – UNC moves up a bit in my poll not because their offense looked so potent against High Point, or because they put up 20 on UMass, but because their defense has looked so disciplined. I thought they’d score goals, but the other end of the field looks better than expected. UNC looks voracious, and they play hard. Can they keep it up all season and stay healthy?
5) Virginia – UVa is now 2-0 with solid wins over Loyola and Drexel, the latter being a 14-1o win in UVa’s favor. The untested defensive group is saying “so what?” and making me look like a fool. Well done to that unit. Rutgers, Cuse, and then Cornell are up next. The Hoos better not look past Rutgers next weekend though.
6) Maryland – I was a little worried about Maryland’s D, but seemingly, that was foolish. 8 goals vs Navy isn’t a ton, but when you only give up 1, it doesn’t matter. The Terps could take some time to fully manifest, but this group is going to cause headaches all year and has lots of potential if they can get it going in May.
7) Loyola – Loyola took it to Penn State, weathered the PSU storm, and came out on top, back to their winning ways. Towson is up next for Loyola, and for me, that’s a definite Top 20 match up, and game to watch on Wednesday.
Also, how great is that photo from Craig Chase? See more HERE.
8) Duke – Duke has looked solid so far, but not like world beaters. Where have we seen that before? Oh yeah, the last two seasons. I’m not saying Duke has number three wrapped up, I’m just saying keep an eye on them. For now they are still top 10 material.
9) Cornell – I liked what I saw from Cornell against Syracuse. There were some definite issues with clearing and riding, and Syracuse created some havoc on full field situations. The Cornell offense lacked a true initiator, but showed solid flashed of team play. The defense was physical and unforgiving, and I can see this group improving as the season goes on.
10) Towson – Towson beat Hopkins in a low-scoring affair, and it’s early, but they must be rewarded. I have faith that Hop is good this year, but I think Towson has a certain attitude that will them games. If they lose, they move down, but for now, they’re Top 10 material in my book.
11) Johns Hopkins – Like I said above, Hop is going to be back, and that Towson loss is not their end. They took care of a pesky Villanova team this weekend, and can quickly resurrect talk of Top 10 status when they play UNC next weekend.
12) Albany – Has not played.
13) Harvard – Has not played. I guess these guys didn’t get the memo that lacrosse is now a winter and spring sport! Good for them. Stay warm.
14) Penn – Not that convincing in a 10-8 win over UMBC, but it’s their first game, and it’s a win.
15) Yale – Yale defeated UMass Lowell 19-4, which is about what you’d expect. The Bulldogs get a stiff test in Maryland next weekend.
16) Penn State – Penn State showed good fight, and an ability to weather a tough opponent’s barrage but stay in the game. For now they stay in the Top 20, but close losses won’t keep them here for long. Villanova is a must win, and then Penn and Harvard will tell us a whole lot more.
17) Marquette – Last week they beat Lehigh by 1, this time they beat Hofstra by 1. How do you not move them up at least a couple spots? #17 is the property of the Golden Eagles this week! Marquette has a number of winnable trap games coming up, and if they want to stay in the top 20, and climb, then winning is what they need to do. Then they play Notre Dame, Denver, and Duke towards the end of the year. Yowzers.
18) Army – The Black Knights are 3-0, and have been tearing people down for the most part. If they play Cuse tough, they can move up. If they beat Cuse? Who knows where they end up, probably the Top 5. That would be a huge jump, so I’m definitely keeping my eyes on that one.
19) Michigan – UMich has two convincing wins over Bellarmine and Detroit so far, and both of those teams have wins under their belts. Is this the year Michigan makes it into the Top 20 for other people? No idea, but I’m willing to take a risk on the Wolverines. They play Notre Dame next weekend. HUGE game if Michigan is for real.
20) Drexel – The Dragons can stamp their spot into the Top 20 with a win over Albany next weekend, but with a loss, I think they have to drop out, at least for now. Too many teams are winning games to keep them out and an 0-2 team in. Of course Drexel could work their way back in later as they have a couple more top 20 games on the schedule.
Ok, have at it. Ridicule, provide your own Top 20, whatever. I’m open to discussion on all of this!