NCAA Week 8 - Is this poll SERIOUS?!?! April 2nd 2018 Laxcots Jim Fenzel
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NCAA Week 8 – Is this poll SERIOUS?!?!

This is getting ridiculous. The good teams are looking bad, the bad teams are looking good, and the average teams are doing both. There is a major lack of consistency, and that is really showing in the double digit poll spots. Nobody has a great resume, and they are all full of blemishes. That leaves voters to cling to what they hold dear and try to make good decisions.

I did a bunch of shuffling after #15 this week, but I like the way it turned out. You can definitely make argument for who I didn’t include, but if this were a top 25 poll, things would be so much easier. But that #20 chopping block is getting tougher and tougher by the week.

NCAA Week 8 - Is this poll SERIOUS?!?! April 2nd 2018 Laxcots Jim Fenzel
LaxCots Art by Jim Fenzel

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.

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

1 Albany LW: 1

10-0

Games:  14-6 W vs. Harvard; 13-7 W vs. Stony Brook

National Poll: 1

Even without Connor Fields, Albany is taking care of business. They have built a team in Albany that is way more than a one trick pony. They play the possession game better than anyone with a great defense, but are also a team that you never want to get into a running game with. That must be why they’re so comfortable at this top spot.

2 Maryland LW: 2

8-1

Games: 13-5 W vs. Michigan

National Poll: 2

Maryland opened conference play by burying a Michigan team that seemed to have some great momentum building. It will probably take a little more time before Kevin Conry tops his old boss, though.

3 Denver LW: 3

7-2

Games: 6-5 W vs. Georgetown

National Poll: 4

Denver is looking a little shaky after this. They’re still winning games, but the confidence level is dropping with teams like Villanova ready to step up. But, it’s still Denver. History has shown that they have a slight tendency to figure these things out in time for May.

4 Yale LW: 4

7-1

Games: 12-6 W vs. Penn

National Poll: 3

Yeah. Yale’s good. 3-0 in Ivy play, they get Bucknell next and Dartmouth on the weekend. Their 4/22 game against Albany is looking mighty interesting right now.

5 Hopkins LW: 6

7-2

Games: 13-12 W vs. Rutgers

National Poll: 5

Hopkins almost slipped up against Rutgers. Rutgers controlled most of the game, but the Jays finally snapped into it with a 6-1 run that started with about four minutes left in the 3rd. Rutgers then took control back for most of the fourth before a highlight Kyle Marr goal with 14 seconds left. What a way to open conference play.

6 Duke LW: 5

8-2

Games: 10-11 W vs. UNC

National Poll: 6

If Denver is shaky, the Blue Devils are hanging on by a thread. For a team that started the season hotter than anyone, things have really been slowing down for them despite the wins. Over their past four games, it’s been a two goal win over 3-6  Towson, a 9-3 win over Cleveland State, a home loss to Cuse, and a narrow win over a struggling UNC team.

7 Villanova LW: 7

8-2

Games: 14-9 W vs. Marquette

National Poll: 7

Villanova is still looking good and their early win over Yale is looking better and better. Denver is up next, which is a huge game for both teams.

8 Rutgers LW: 9

7-3

Games: 13-12 L vs. Hopkins

National Poll: 9

I’m still keeping Rutgers up here after the Hopkins loss because they had that game in their hands and I still think they are better than teams ranked behind them. That has to be rough to have a record crowd for a win over Syracuse and almost immediately be ranked behind them by us weirdo media members.

9 Loyola LW: 11

6-3

Games: 11-7 W vs. Colgate

National Poll: 11

They had a little trip up with the loss to Bucknell, but I like this win over Colgate, who is really trying to carve out a place in the Patriot League. Loyola has some explosive potential though and it’s hard to count them out of any game.

10 Syracuse LW: 12

5-3

Games: 10-6 W vs. Notre Dame

National Poll: 8

Syracuse is starting to get a little more consistent. Defensively, that is timed right with Tyson Bomberry looking like his normal healthy self. They are also settling down into regular groupings in their middies lines and guys are learning their roles. Not having fall ball is rough, eh?

11 Cornell LW: 14

6-3

Games: 23-5 W vs. Air Force; 22-11 W vs. Dartmouth

National Poll: 10

Seriously. Where did this come from? The Big Red had six wins last season. They have FIVE before that. Now they’re sitting at six at April just started. Sure, they have had talent, but this is a revelation. Time to take that “interim” tag off from Peter Milliman.

12 Notre Dame LW: 8

5-3

Games: 10-6 L vs. Syracuse

National Poll:12

Notre Dame was actually great on defense against Cuse. Syracuse needed some crazy transition plays, and some incredible individual efforts to crack through for the win. The Irish offense was a difference story, though. They seemed incapable of catching any skip pass, but even normal passes were over the head or at the feet. Turnovers were the name of the game, both forced and unforced.

13 UVA LW: 10

8-3

Games: 14-10 W vs. Richmond

National Poll: 13

If it wasn’t for a 6-1 fourth quarter, UVA was not going to win this game. They’re still lacking some stable footing and are in search of that elusive ACC win. Their chance is this weekend, though. With a trip to North Carolina, they have their best shot at getting that monkey off their back. A loss and…well, let’s not talk about that as an option right now.

14 Lehigh LW: 16

8-3

Games: 7-6 W vs. BU

National Poll: 17

Now we’re into the really uneasy part of the poll. Lehigh has wins over Army and Hofstra, but that’s about it. Their losses are respectable and close. Close enough to provide some optimism. But in the meat grinder of a conference they’re in, surviving to the conference tourney is more important than winning pretty.

15 Penn LW: 13

5-5

Games: 12-6 L vs. Yale

National Poll: UR

The national poll has dropped Penn. But two losses in a row to Yale and Cornell is hardly something to punish a team for. Other losses are Penn State, Villanova, and Maryland. That’s a monster schedule. Add in their wins over Duke, Michigan, Navy, and Bucknell? That’s a top 20 team. Sorry not sorry.

16 Vermont LW: 18

9-1

Games: 11-7 W vs. Hartford

National Poll: 15

Another league win for Vermont keeps them on a course to matchup with Albany again in hopes for an AQ at the end of the year. With their schedule, it’s their only true hope. A 2 loss team (assuming a win over UVA and a conference loss to Albany) is a little less than great given their lack of other big opponents. An upset over Albany, though would ripples through the entire seeding process.

17 Bucknell LW: UR

7-3

Games: 10-7 W vs. Army

National Poll: 14

I pulled in Bucknell this week because Army and Loyola are fantastic league wins. Their only league loss so far is to Navy and they have a one goal loss to Penn, and another one goal loss to Richmond. They have playmakers and are looking dangerous. Fear the Bison!!

18 Navy LW: UR

6-4

Games: 5-4 W vs. Holy Cross

National Poll: UR

The boys from Annapolis have been looking much better since their season opening loss to Jacksonville. Seeing how they close out their final games against Colgate, Army, and Syracuse will be great to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAHDvPOn1o0

19 Colgate LW: UR

6-4

Games: 7-11 L vs. Loyola

National Poll: UR

Yes, I added them to the list after a loss, but just about everyone in this range lost this week or last. What I like about Colgate now is a single one point loss to Hobart, then three ranked Patriot losses. Add in wins over Army and Cornell, and I feel like that’s a respectable resume for #19.

20 Michigan LW: 20

7-3

Games: 13-5 L vs. Maryland

National Poll: 18

Yes, they lost. But their three losses are to Maryland, Yale, and Penn. If they can get wins over Ohio State and Penn State, I will feel much better about this. First things first, Rutgers is next.

Dropped from my ballot: UNC, Army, Robert Morris

Dropped from national poll: Army

Also considered, but not in order: Harvard, Hofstra, Jacksonville, Penn State, Robert Morris, Towson.

Who did I leave out? Harvard, Penn State, & Robert Morris. I definitely considered all three of these, but they were tough to include. Harvard is still lacking a truly good win. They have their chance with the Ivy schedule, but their promising non-conference slate really underperformed and didn’t have the marquee wins they could have been. Penn State is looking better, but their best win is still Penn, but their losses are good. Robert Morris is in the same boat. Their best win is Penn State.