The action from last week’s college lacrosse games resulted in some Ivy League mayhem, and it’s making me question all my assumptions about where D1 men’s teams stand for 2015. With so many top 20 programs this year in the conference this year, mayhem in the Ivy means mayhem in the polls! Especially my votes for the IL Media Poll!
At this point in the season, every D1 team (other than Albany, NJIT and Marist) has played at least 5 games (those three have played 4). Let’s reboot this poll, start fresh, and rank the teams based on their 2015 successes and failures alone! Time to throw out what we think about these teams, and judge them solely on the wins and losses!
Ivy League Mayhem For All
1) Syracuse – If you think Cuse should down because of an epic game with Hopkins in the dome, I think that’s a big mistake. Hop has plenty of talent, and can play with anyone when they’re on, and for the Cuse game, they were on for a good chunk of the game. Syracuse, in the mold of a true #1, weathered the storm nicely and then put on a clinic about to comeback over a span of 40 minutes and hold on for the win.
2) North Carolina – 8-0 is a good place to be for UNC right now because while the Heels have played two top 20 teams, they are about to face off with SIX top TEN teams in their next six games, and these teams hold a cumulative record of 31-7 and one of them is undefeated Cuse. Something’s got to give here, and I’m not sure it’s going to be UNC. The quiet approach of Metzbower seems to be rubbing off in a good way for the Heels this year!
3) Brown – Brown is 5-0, and they have won every game by 5 goals or more, including last weekend’s 14-9 win over Harvard. Brown has not faced the same strength of opponent that others in the Top 10 have, but they won their one Top 20 game and dominated in the others. You might not be ok with Brown this high, but I am. At some point, you simply have to reward wins.
4) Duke – I wasn’t sure that Duke would be creeping back in to the Top 5 this early in the season, but the Blue Devils look rock solid, and they’re only getting better. Remember when I said they’d lose some games early and then come together? Well, they only lost one game early and it was by 4 to Denver. Since then, they’ve been on point. Remember when someone said I didn’t do my research for putting Duke at #1 in the preseason? Looks like I did do my research, and I did it well. Duke reloaded and they’re back. Even though it’s petty, I love being right!
5) Yale – Maybe losing to Cornell means you should drop further, but since Cornell is still highly rated, maybe that means a little less. Yale is now on shaky ground as a Top 5 team, and losses to Princeton or Penn in the next two weeks could drop the Bulldogs quite a few spots.
6) Maryland – Maryland, like Duke, is rapidly improving and coming together. I have a hard time imagining the Terps outside the Top 10 for the rest of the season, but there are certainly some opportunities to stumble and good teams on the schedule.
7) Notre Dame – I have moved Notre Dame down so that they can surprise me, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. The results for ND are good, but somehow they just aren’t good enough… if there is one team that I am holding on to my preconceptions the most, it is the Irish. Honestly, I thought they would be more dominant. I’m prepared to be wrong about Notre Dame, and I get the feeling I will be, maybe even soon. Big game with Cuse on March 28th!
8) Denver – The loss to Ohio State has me reeling. EVERYONE had Denver as their #1 early on… and many people kept them in the Top 5 after they lost to UNC… but now, with a loss to OSU, they simply can’t be a Top 5 team. I like how Denver plays, and they can still compete this year, but the OSU loss forces them down the poll.
9) Marquette – I put Brown up at #3, so why not do something similar with Marquette? One reason: they lack any truly big time wins. Their win over OSU is looking better and better each week, and most of their wins are over truly solid programs, but they don’t have a signature win yet, so it’s hard to throw them into the top 5. Georgetown is going to be a battle, and so will Villanova. Win them both and Marquette will be climbing again.
10) Virginia – UVa looked a little discombobulated at times against Notre Dame, and losing James Pannell for the season doesn’t help their cause. That being said, UVa does find a way to win most of their games, and that attitude doesn’t rest with only one player. Virginia will need to rally and defeat Hopkins next, but they still have Top 10 potential.
11) Cornell – Cornell’s biggest problem seems to be their defense, but only when they are playing a truly explosive offensive opponent. Big wins over Albany and Yale keep Cornell high, but giving up 14 goals to Cuse and 15 to UVa causes some concern.
12) Albany – The Danes are poised for a rapid fall in the polls. This team has so far showen a lack of consistency and a weak killer instinct. There are flashes of brightness, but not enough to win games against Top 5 teams in my opinion. That being said, Albany has a pretty soft schedule, so they could amass a great record by year’s end. Harvard, Cuse, and Yale games will tell us where they really sit, but that assumes no other upset losses. Albany can always make a late season run, but right now they don’t inspire that much confidence.
13) Princeton – Princeton is a lot better than people thought. They play team lacrosse better than most and can eke out wins against tough opponents. All of that is good! Yale next weekend and Brown after that will result in more Ivy Mayhem, and I’m not so sure that Princeton can’t win both of those games. This is a program back on the rise it seems.
14) Harvard – Harvard looks awesome on paper. They have great players at every single position, and more talent than they have had in years… the only thing is, it’s not really coming together on the field all that well. Is Harvard a Top 15 team? Yes. Should they be higher? If they played to their potential, then YES! But the real answer is NO.
14th is a generous spot for the Crimson, whose best wins so far this year are a 20-9 victory over Holy Cross and 12-9 win over Penn State, who sits at 3-4.
15) Loyola – If the Hounds has lost to Army, they could have fallen out of my poll pretty quickly. They are 4-3 now with 2 top 20 wins and 3 top 20 losses, and that is a world away from 3-4! Loyola could lose to Maryland later in the year and stay in the top 20, but another loss and who knows what will happen.
16) Towson – I like Towson still, and I think their record is solid enough for 16th. The loss to Navy is ok because Navy is better than most people think, but the Tigers really need to keep winning to stay in the Top 20. Their game with OSU is huge for both teams and isn’t a deal breaker for either as long as its close… but after that Towson really needs to win out as they don’t play a team with a winning record the rest of the way.
17) Ohio State – I’m going to come right out and say it… I put OSU way too low this week. They just beat Denver, and their losses are to Top 10 Marquette and Detroit in the season opener. Man, I’m really holding on to that Detroit loss, huh? I’m sorry Ohio State, you deserve better from me. The good news is that you guys play Towson and Notre Dame this week and can make me look especially stupid by winning both of them! It could happen!
18) Villanova – It’s tough to bring the Wildcats up after an 8-2 loss to Maryland, but in their wins, Nova has looked solid and in control. I like their overall resumé, and can’t wait to see how they fare against Marquette (3/28) and Denver (4/3). First they need to beat 3-4 Fairfield.
19) Army – The Black Knights are a little all over the place when it comes to scoring this year. They can put up 20 goals or 6. Their offense is more cohesive than it has been, but it looks like they still have some kinks to work out if they want to make a run.
20) Navy – I could have put a couple teams in the 20 spot, but I went with Navy this week. Some solid wins and an overall winning record keep them in… for now.