What a strange, strange week. This week was loaded with upsets, lopsided victories, and many people left scratching their heads. It also makes a perfectly ordered top 20 nearly impossible. I always try to make sure Team A is ranked better than Team B if Team A beat Team B already this season. But there are so many odd overlapping wins and losses that even a simple rule like that becomes hard to apply.
What’s really exciting is that several schools are now conference championship or bust. Several will not face a non-conference opponent against this year. Some will only if it’s the first round of the NCAA tournament. Even then, it’s no promise that you won’t have a rematch from earlier this year (though less likely). It’s getting into the fun stuff, friends!
So, here are my personal top 20 votes, some sort of description, and a note of where that team stands in the national media poll (which can be found here: https://www.insidelacrosse.com/league/DI/polls).
My Rank/Team/My Rank Last Week
Games this week
National Media Poll Rank
1 Albany LW: 1
Games: 19-11 W vs. Canisius; 13-6 W vs. UMass-Lowell
National Poll: 1
Another week, another win. Wait, there were two wins. Carry on.
2 Maryland LW: 2
Games: 11-7 W vs. UNC
National Poll: 2
Maryland was in a close one with this, but they we able to kill off UNC’s last few efforts to score late and then just ran the clock out. That may be one of the more dangerous aspects of this Maryland team. With their athletes and skill, they can hold on to almost any lead. Unless you’re Albany, but that’s a different story.
3 Denver LW: 5
Games: 11-10 W vs. Towson
National Poll: 3
This is actually the toughest pick this week. They have only lost to Duke and Notre Dame. But both Notre Dame lost to a really good team and a team they definitely should have beaten. Duke lost to two teams they should have beaten. So I’m OK having Denver higher with two close road losses.
4 Yale LW: 7
Games: 16-8 W Vs. Princeton
National Poll: 4
Yale is just racking up wins and with all the churn ahead of them, but I bumped them up a few more spots. With only a season opening OT loss to Villanova to their year, they’re looking more and more like their preseason expectations.
5 Duke LW: 3
Games: 15-14 L vs. Syracuse
National Poll: 5
I’m still matching up with the national poll and only dropped Duke two spots for their loss to Cuse. It’s not too shocking since Duke has not been dominating teams as of late. They started the season white hot, but are now just a very, very good team. This loss is little more than a bump in the road for the Blue Devils.
6 Hopkins LW: 9
Games: 15-13 W vs. UVA
National Poll: 6
The Hopkins team playing right now is not the same who that lost to UNC and Loyola back in February. With only the Big Ten schedule left through April, they are finding their groove at the perfect time.
7 Villanova LW: 10
Games: 13-12 W vs. Fairfield
National Poll: 8
Villanova beating Fairfield isn’t a banner victory, but it’s enough this week. They were surround by teams in the list that all had losses. That surely gives them a boost. I really just can’t wait to see how they handle the Big East schedule. Remember, one of the Big East coaches voted them as #1 in their preseason ballot.
8 Notre Dame LW: 4
Games: 13-12 L vs. Michigan; 9-8 W vs. Ohio State
National Poll: 7
Notre Dame did not have a good week and I’m honestly surprised that the national poll had them at 7 still. They still have all the tools in place to make another run at Championship weekend, but they can’t slip up like this in ACC play.
9 Rutgers LW: 12
Games: 15-10 W vs. Delaware
National Poll: 9
Rutgers wrapped up their non-conference slate with the win over Delaware, making their only two losses a two goal loss to Army and an overtime loss to Princeton. If those are your two bad games, that’s a great spot to be.
10 UVA LW:8
Games: 12-6 W vs. Dartmouth; 15-13 L vs. Hopkins
National Poll: 12
UVA slipped a bit by dropping their game against Hopkins at home. This just continues to be their MO for the past few seasons. They can play with nearly anyone, come close, and then just not win. It feels like everyone wants them to turn the corner and be the Virginia of 15 years ago, but that is just not the case right now. A healthy Ryan Conrad would probably be the difference, but they need to find a different way to win.
11 Loyola LW: 6
Games: 12-11 L vs. Bucknell
National Poll: 11
The was just another one of those puzzling Patriot League shockers. Nobody is safe in that league. Bucknell was no bottom feeder, though. They have been playing teams tough all year, but Loyola still should have won this game by a few points.
12 Syracuse LW: 16
Games: 15-14 W vs. Duke
National Poll: 10
This game told me absolutely nothing about Cuse. If everything is clicking for them, they can beat anyone in the country. When things are not clicking, they can lose to nearly anyone. They’re too Jeckyll and Hyde right now and just wildly inconsistent.
13 Penn LW: 14
Games: 9-8 W vs. Bucknell; 20-13 L vs. Cornell
National Poll: UR
Speaking of puzzling: I bring you Penn. Much like last year, their schedule is going to be full of good wins and puzzling losses. Beat Bucknell is a pretty good win. Not stellar like their win over Duke, but it’s a feather in the cap. But then getting rocked by Cornell is just odd. It’s the same margin they lost to Maryland by earlier. Sounds a lot like Cuse…
14 Cornell LW: 19
Games: 20-13 W vs. Penn
National Poll: 13
Cornell has losses to Colgate, Yale, and Albany. Compare that to Army who just lost to Colgate and has losses to Syracuse and Lehigh. I’ll give the nod to the Big Red who seem to have really turned a big corner this season.
15 UNC LW: 15
Games: 11-7 L vs. Maryland
National Poll: UR
UNC ended their non-conference slate with four straight losses. It’s tough to punish them too much for the loss to Maryland out west, but their game against Duke will really show if they belong or not.
16 Lehigh LW: 13
Games: 13-8 W vs. Hofstra; 7-10 L vs. Navy
National Poll: 17
The loss to Navy is Lehigh’s first odd result. Losing to Rutgers and UNC can be rationalized, but not Navy. This is just another great example of how brutal the Patriot League can be, though. No team is really every comfortable and each game can be a toss-up. It’s a huge league schedule and you have to show up for every game.
17 Army LW: 11
Games: 8-6 L vs. Colgate
National Poll: 20
It’s hard to punish Army too much for the Colgate loss, but looking at their schedule makes it hard to keep them too much higher.
18 Vermont LW: 18
Games: 10-6 W vs. Binghamton
National Poll: 16
Vermont bounced back from their drubbing at the hands of Albany to beat league foe Binghamton. While still not a great win, it was a win. They still only have a single win over a team at .500 or better (Jacksonville) and only one team left in their regular season schedule above that mark (Virginia). So there still isn’t much to go off of to push them much higher than this.
19 Robert Morris LW: UR
Games: 15-5 W vs. Mount St. Mary’s
National Poll: 14
Robert Morris finally got their spot on my ballot. After so many losses, a spot opened up and they were right there for the taking. Even though the Ohio State loss was expected, I just could not justify keeping them in the top 20. Robert Morris and their 5 straight wins was enough for me.
20 Michigan LW: UR
National Poll: 15
The Wolverines have been knocking on the door for me, and they finally broke through. It turns out that as long as they don’t play the Ivy League, they’re fine. Those two losses to Yale and Penn are more than balanced with the Win over Notre Dame and I still like the Marquette win. They could still lose their next 5 games as the Big Ten schedule starts, but that’s the world they live in.
Dropped from my ballot: Hofstra and Ohio State
Dropped from national poll: North Carolina, Hofstra, Georgetown, Penn
Also considered, but not in order: Bucknell, Colgate, Harvard, Hofstra, Jacksonville, Penn State, Towson.
Who did I leave out? Bucknell and Harvard. These re definitely programs I was taking a deep look at. Harvard especially is up there with a 7-1 record and only an early loss against them. But that loss was still to Holy Cross and they struggled significantly against teams they really should have handled better. They also don’t have a single Top 20 win. Bucknell on the other hand has a stronger case. Beating Loyola is huge, and their win over Colgate isn’t looking too bad. But losses to Richmond and Navy are not great while Penn is forgivable. They’re definitely close, but I don’t want to add them just because of one win.