NCAA Week 9 – Is this poll SERIOUS?!?!

Things are really getting crazy. Puzzling losses are all over, some teams have finally found themselves, and we are gaining better clarity for how the postseason will start to take shape. I love this time of year!

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.

NCAA Week 9 - Is this poll SERIOUS?!?! April 9 LaxCots Jim Fenzel

Art by Jim Fenzel

My Rank/Team/My Rank Last Week
Record
Games this week
National Media Poll Rank
Ramblings.

1 Maryland LW: 2

9-1

Games: 13-12 W vs. Penn State

National Poll: 1

Maryland is finally on top! Last year’s champ is in the driver’s seat as the end of the regular season is within sight. With Albany slipping up and Maryland’s only loss being a one point loss to those Great Danes, they are sliding right into this spot.

2 Denver LW: 3

8-2

Games: 22-6 W vs. Villanova

National Poll: 3

With their dismantling of Villanova, Denver made it clear that the Big East is still their conference. They should realistically coast until the conference tournament, but I feel like they’ll lose to St. John’s for no good reason.

3 Hopkins LW: 5

8-2

Games: 13-10 W vs. Ohio State

National Poll: 4

After their 1-2 start, Hopkins is the hottest team in the country and has not lost a game since February. They are 2-0 in the Big Ten and get a surging Penn State squad next.

4 Albany LW: 1

10-1

Games: 11-7 L vs. UMBC

National Poll: 2

Many people are giving Albany a mulligan on this loss. Why? With no Connor Fields, they still beat Stony Brook by 6. Against Harvard, they scored 10 goals without him on the field. But that’s supposed to justify losing to a 2 win UMBC? In the fourth quarter, Albany wasn’t pressuring for turnovers until way too late, and they weren’t even bothering with backing up shots, and had sloppy turnovers. That’s not one or two players missing.

5 Duke LW: 6

9-2

Games: 8-2 W vs. Notre Dame

National Poll: 5

Duke absolutely ground out this win. It was actually a great showing by their defense, limiting Notre Dame to just two goals in the first half and none in the second.  Even though the Irish were without Bryan Costabile, the blue devils still shut out both Mikey Wynne and Ryder Garnsey.

6 Rutgers LW: 8

8-3

Games: 16-8 W vs. Michigan

National Poll: 8

Rutgers bounced back from their last minute loss to Hopkins by doubling up Michigan to move to 1-1 in the Big Ten. Their game this week against Maryland is must see TV.

7 Yale LW: 4

8-2

Games: 9-8 L vs. Bucknell; 17-7 W vs. Dartmouth

National Poll: 6

Losing to Bucknell isn’t a terrible loss, but it isn’t great for a team with expectations as high as Yale. They’ve still been one of the most consistent teams in the country, with counts for something. And they remain undefeated in Ivy play.

8 Loyola LW: 9

7-3

Games: 16-10 W vs. Lehigh

National Poll: 10

With only BU and Army left on the Patriot schedule, Loyola should get one of the top seed in the league tournament. It’s looking like the road may go through Bucknell, though. Especially since both BU and Army have a real shot at an upset.

9 Syracuse LW: 10

6-3

Games: 11-4 W vs. Hobart

National Poll: 7

Cuse won in expected fashion against their longtime regional rival Hobart. They have occasionally struggled in this game in years past, and it felt like they might this year, too. But once they got rolling, Hobart had no shot. This is a big week for the Orange. First, they stroll down to Ithaca to play Cornell, and will host UNC on Saturday, eyeing an undefeated ACC slate with a win.

10 Cornell LW: 11

7-3

Games: 15-11 W vs. Harvard

National Poll: 9

The Big Red are impressive right now and Jeff Teat is their leader. It’s also fitting to have them sitting right next to Syracuse in my ballot this week. With the game at home, it won’t be a shock if Cornell wins. But I try not to predict anything with this game. It’s always a good one.

11 Villanova LW: 7

8-3

Games: 22-6 L vs. Denver

National Poll: 13

This was not a good loss by Nova, who was looking like  serious contender. But like seemingly everyone this season, they just could not do anything to contain Denver. Hopefully these two meet again in the conference tournament for a much better rematch.

12 UVA LW: 13

9-3

Games: 15-12 W vs. UNC

National Poll: 12

FINALLY! Beating UNC is definitely a monkey off the back of UVA. After years, they finally have their ACC win. But let’s not confuse this win by making it larger than it is in the context of this season. With only losses to Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Hopkins to their name, they should give Duke a real battle this week.

13 Bucknell LW: 17

8-3

Games: 9-8 W vs. Yale; 14-9 W vs. Mt. St. Mary’s

National Poll: 11

Beating Yale is a big time with for the Bison. With Lafayette this week and Lehigh next, there is a possibility that Bucknell could wind up hosting the Patriot tournament, which would be a huge deal.

14 Notre Dame LW: 12

5-4

Games: 8-2 L vs. Duke

National Poll: 15

Notre Dame has now lost 3 of their last 4, and it’s not looking good. Fortunately, they schedule is now easing up a bit, but they really need to beat UNC next week. First things first is Marquette, who they should beat.

15 Vermont LW: 16

10-1

Games: 14-7 W vs. UMass-Lowell

National Poll: 16

Vermont continues their march to the AE tournament with only a loss to Albany to their name. Their defense is still holding up pretty well, but their next big test is looming. After this week’s game against Stony Brook, they have UVA to deal with. That would be a massive win.

16 Lehigh LW: 14

8-4

Games: 16-10 L vs. Loyola

National Poll: 18

Lehigh has now lost two of their last three, all Patriot league games. Unfortunately for them, their next game is with Cornell, who will be a great test for the Hawks. Their losses are all to the top teams on their schedule, so optimism is low here.

17 Navy LW: 18

7-4

Games: 12-10 W vs. Colgate

National Poll: 17

I’ll keep this one easy. BEAT ARMY.

18 Penn State LW: UR

7-4

Games: 13-12 L vs. Maryland

National Poll: 14

Penn State almost had this win, but Maryland does what Maryland does. Things are still looking up for Penn State, though. A win over Hopkins this week would be just what the doctor ordered. Not a Johns Hopkins doctor, of course.

19 Penn LW: 15

5-6

Games: 10-9 L vs. Brown

National Poll: UR

I don’t blame anyone for not ranking Penn. They have lost their last three games and are 5-6. But when I look at their strength of schedule, it’s impressive. Every loss is to a top 20 team. Only one of their wins is to a team outside of the top 20. Think about that. 11 games, and 10 of them are top 20. The only once  that isn’t is Princeton, who they beat 14-7. Not a bad resume.

20 Michigan LW: 20

7-4

Games: 16-8 L vs. Rutgers

National Poll: 20

One more week. Beat. Ohio. State. I’m willing to look over their two recent losses and keep them hovering here, but a loss to Ohio State definitely will knock them from the Top 20.

Dropped from my ballot: Colgate

Dropped from national poll: Harvard

Also considered, but not in order: Harvard, Robert Morris, Towson, UMASS.

Who did I leave out? Robert Morris. I still haven’t included Robert Morris. They do have the Penn State win from late February, but that’s really it at this point. Losing to Bryant definitely isn’t good, and a one point win over Hobart is not instilling confidence.

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