NCAA Week 4 – IS THIS POLL SERIOUS?!?
Last week was for upsets (and great lacrosse cartoons), this week was for close games and relative stability (and more great lacrosse cartoons, below!). Most of my Top 20 teams won. Of those that did lose, most lost to other top 20 teams, with few exceptions. That actually made my personal rankings pretty easy for this poll from Week 4.
There was some minor shuffling, but no major corrections as of yet. And I do mean YET. As usual, I try not to over react to any one result, but once all teams hit the five game mark, you can do a better resume comparison. But before we get to the votes, let’s get to the cartoons! It’s like Sunday morning funfest around here!
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: 11-9 W vs. Cornell
National Poll: 1
Albany staying at number one this week is definitely a case of needing to close your eyes, cover your ears and yell “a win is a win!” repeatedly. Cornell gave Albany all they could handle despite not winning a single faceoff all day long. This game definitely makes the Danes look mortal, but their fourth quarter dominance was also impressive as heck.
2 Maryland LW: 2
Games: 12-10 W vs. Notre Dame
National Poll: 2
This was a win that we really needed to see from Maryland. They had a questionable win over High Point, but their win over Penn was something that really started looking good after Penn started looking good. But topping Notre Dame is a marquee win and it shows that this is the Maryland team we though they were. Next week’s game with Albany coming to town is must see TV.
3 Duke LW: 5
Games: 14-4 W Vs. Richmond
National Poll: 3
Duke rebounded from their first loss by blowing out the visiting Spiders. Justin Guterding is also back on track with a whopping six goals with two assists. Loyola next week will be a great test for their defense.
4 Denver LW: 6
Games: 13-8 W vs. Furman
National Poll: 4
The Pioneers gained a few spots in both polls, but for different reasons in each. in my ballot, it was Notre Dame and Ohio State losing. in the national poll, it was Virginia and Ohio State. But Denver should not move too much from this point on. they may lose a game or two more, but they are definitely a top 5 team. As the season goes, the Big East is looking like a much improved conference. Denver will have to work for those regular season and tournament titles like they haven’t had to before. Nothing is given, everything is earned, and I like it.
5 Notre Dame LW: 4
Games: 10-12 L vs. Maryland
National Poll: 11
This is one team where my ballot really diverges from the national poll. honestly, I totally get it. Realistically, Notre Dame’s narrow wins do not justify a top 5 vote. But with so many upsets happening, I do have to give them some benefit of the doubt right now with so few games to play. Contrast that with UNC who has a larger body of work to judge from, the Irish’s only loss is to a team that could be at #1 in a week.
6 Yale LW: 7
Games: 13-10 W vs. UMass; 11-8 W vs. Bryant
National Poll: 10
I did pull Yale up a bit, but like Notre Dame, I don’t feel great about it. The Ivies start late, so their resume is still short, but they were also very high in my preseason, so the benefit of the doubt is strong with this one.
7 Ohio State LW: 3
Games: 8-7 L vs. Marquette; 8-7 W vs. Detroit
National Poll: 14
In the national poll, OSU went down 8 spots, the biggest drop of the week. I don’t like dropping teams that fast, but there is very little confidence in this team right now. And if they keep playing like they have been, OSU will certainly give the pollsters plenty of reason to drop them further.
8 Syracuse LW: 10
Games: 12-11 W vs. UVA
National Poll: 6
The biggest positive movement was the Orange, who went up 6 spots. I did not have UVA that high, so I don’t count their win in Charlottesville as a huge win, but it’s a good one. A potential win over Hopkins this week won’t be a huge win either, but if Cuse keeps winning, their schedule will be tough to argue against. Starting with halftime against Army, their young player mistakes are dropping, and their passing and catching is not an issue. Both were painfully evident in their blowout to Albany.
9 UNC LW: 8
Games: 14-7 W vs. Mercer; 9-8 W vs. St. John’s
National Poll: 9
UNC is Syracuse from last year, but without the best midfield in the country. That should worry the Heels faithful just a little. UVA, Cuse, Duke, and Notre Dame can all beat the Tar Heels, so their out of conference games are really going to carry weight in May. If they start dropping these games, they’ll be in trouble.
10 Army LW: 11
Games: 13-4 W vs. Lafayette
National Poll: 12
Lafayette isn’t the pushover I was expecting, so it’s hard to know if this win was really as expected or a borderline blowout. Either way, it’s a league win in a brutal conference. Army is going to be a tough team all season long.
11 UVA LW: 9
Games: 12-11 L to Syracuse
National Poll: 8
UVA needs Ryan Conrad so bad that it’s not even funny. When he went down with an injury, everything changed and it’s a big reason why they went scoreless in the third quarter. Yes, they made a late surge in a rivalry known for close games, but for the sake of the Hoos, having Conrad back at 100% might be the most important thing for them this season.
12 Loyola LW: 12
Games: 12-8 W vs. Towson; 13-5 W vs. Holy Cross
National Poll: 7
These were definitely two good wins for Loyola. One was to the cross-town Tigers, the other was their second league win of the year. Even though they beat up on Hopkins pretty bad to start the season, UVA is still the only team with a winning record they have played so far and it was a loss. But, they get a chance to really make a mark against Duke this week.
13 Villanova LW: 13
Games: 12-9 W vs. Drexel; 13-12 W vs. Delaware
National Poll: 5
Compared to the national poll, Villanova is the team I most differ from the other pollsters’ opinions. And quite honestly, I’m probably wrong here. I don’t think I need them to play Maryland in two weeks to “prove” if they belong, because they have a great resume so far. Wins over Yale, Penn State, and Delaware are all good. Yale is a great win. Hofstra may turn into a very good win, but it’s still too early. I’m holding off on major corrections since I did not have ‘Nova high in the preseason and still have some questions after watching them play. But perhaps next week, depending on what happens in front of them, the Cats will claw their way higher.
14 Rutgers LW: 15
Games: 10-8 W Vs. Brown
National Poll: 13
Rutgers still only has a narrow loss to Army on their resume, but none of their wins are stellar to date. Their schedule is about to get significantly harder, though. The Brown win just doesn’t get me to excited right now, and even though Princeton has the same record, I think that will be a better test. Following that up with Lehigh and Syracuse in the same week could vault the Scarlet Knights way up.
15 Marquette LW: 14
Games: 8-7 W vs. Ohio State; 7-6 L vs. Bellarmine
National Poll: 18
This was quite a yo-yo weekend for Marquette. They shocked the world by topping Ohio State. Sure we knew Marquette was pretty good. But that was still unexpected. So of course, all they had to do was beat Bellarmine aaaaaaaand whoops! About that. In terms of voting, that win over Ohio State was more than enough to offset the loss to Bellarmine. So they more or less hovered.
16 Vermont LW: 17
Games: 11-10 W vs. Jacksonville
National Poll: 15
Vermont pulled out the narrow win over the dangerous Jacksonville team. Their actual wins are mostly against weaker teams and Jacksonville was the first team to put up more than six against this defense. Sacred Heart this week also has a chance to do some damage, but how they handle Albany will be most telling of whether or not Vermont is for real. They don’t need to win, but they need to play them tough.
17 Penn State LW: 18
Games: 10-7 W vs. Penn
National Poll: 20
The Nittany Lions were on the brink of falling out of the top 20, but they scored a huge win over Penn to stay afloat. Furman should be an easy win this week, but Cornell looks like they may have returned after their close call against Albany. The Tambroni Bowl just got way more interesting!
18 Hopkins LW: 19
Games: 16-9 W vs. Princeton
National Poll: 17
Like Penn State, Hopkins was so close to dropping out of the top 20. They really needed this win over Princeton. If they lose to Syracuse this week, I don’t think I’ll drop them completely (unless it’s a BIG loss), but a win would go a long way to keeping them in the mix.
19 Penn LW: 16
Games: 10-7 L vs. Penn State
National Poll: 19
Following up their big win over Duke with a loss to Penn State is giving me echoes of last year for the Quakers. Last year, it was an early win over Virginia and Navy (with a loss to Penn State in between) before they really did not pick up another solid win. The 2018 Quakers could write a very different narrative this week. Navy and Villanova in one week are huge opportunities.
20 Georgetown LW: UR
Games: 16-6 W vs. Mount St. Mary’s
National Poll: 16
This week, I finally pulled the Hoyas into my ballot. The 4-0 Hoyas just are slightly better than the other teams I was looking at here. I looked at Robert Morris (who they beat), Delaware (lost & worse result vs. Common opponent), and a few others. Lehigh may be the closest, but I’ll give the slight edge to the undefeated Hoyas right now.
Dropped from my ballot: Towson.
Dropped from national poll: Princeton
Also considered, but not in order: Princeton, Towson, Colgate, Robert Morris, Delaware, Cornell, Jacksonville, Hofstra, Lehigh
Who did I leave out? Nobody! This actually shocks me. While my ballot certainly does not match entirely, all 20 teams are the same. I find that to be a strange mix of getting things right any maybe not thinking outside the box enough. I’m sure this won’t go into a second straight week.
Media Poll votes are fun, and interesting. So we share our votes with you, because you deserve it.
Onwards and upwards to Week 5!