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Weekly Rankings: NCAA DI Men’s Preseason Ballots

Once again, our friends over at Inside Lacrosse have asked us to take part in their weekly Men’s Media Poll rankings, so you have another year of both Nick Zoroya & Ryan Conwell representing Lacrosse All Stars.

Media Polls like this are fun because when it comes down to it, the more the merrier! With enough voters involved, individual biases get a little diluted and you start to see where teams really should stand relative to each other.

Are we still wrong? Absolutely! But we never wind up in a situation where every team plays each other multiple times, so this is as good of a way as any to help see which games are “big” matchups each week and what we can look forward to.

Now, a big disclaimer that has to be brought up is these are the preseason rankings, not Championship Weekend seedings! This is where we see teams right now based on where they ended last year, who they lost, who they added, and how other teams around them fared.

Basically, it’s speculation at its best. You won’t have a great feel for where teams really are until everyone has played about four or five games, which isn’t going to be until March. And we’re in January, so buckle up!

Public ballots and weekly rankings are nothing without praise and shame, so here is our scoreboard:

Picks Aligning with the National Poll

Ryan Conwell: 4

Nick Zoroya: 5

Everyone Agreeing: 2 (Virginia, Maryland)

2021 NCAA DI Men’s Weekly Rankings – Week 13 Top 20

Note: The following official Inside Lacrosse Media Poll ballots are from Lacrosse All Stars’ Ryan Conwell (RC) and Nick Zoroya (NZ).

1: Virginia (RC) – Virginia (NZ)

National Poll: Virginia (0-0)

The reigning national champs are the preseason favorites behind their returning of a number of major contributors and the last two NCAA titles in their trophy case. Only one national voter didn’t have UVA at No.1 in their rankings, instead they chose…

2: Maryland (RC) – Maryland (NZ)

National Poll: Maryland (0-0)

Maryland is absolutely loaded once again, and is a favorite for being at Championship Weekend in 2022. That’s a long way of saying: “College lacrosse season is starting”. The national runner up in 2021 will be looking to get back on top this year after running the table in their Big Ten-only schedule last year.

3: Notre Dame (RC) – Duke (NZ)

National Poll: Duke (0-0)

Now we get some divergence! Still all ACC schools, but Duke gets the edge for Nick and the national poll while I go with Notre Dame. For me, Duke has more question marks on defense, but I have no questions on their ability to score goals without Michael Sowers at X.

4: North Carolina (RC) – Notre Dame (NZ)

National Poll: Georgetown (0-0)

I apparently am much higher on the Tar Heels in my weekly rankings compared to others, but their disappointing end to the season doesn’t hide how electric they were with a ton of returners coming back this season. I also respect the Georgetown pick here since both Nick and I have the Hoyas just one spot lower, but still in the top five.

5: Georgetown (RC) – Georgetown (NZ)

National Poll: Notre Dame (0-0)

Georgetown’s highlight of last season was blowing the doors off of Syracuse’s bus in the NCAA tournament, but they did not turn that into a championship weekend appearance. They still have one of the best keepers in the country and picked up Will Bowen from UNC to anchor the defense in front of him.

6: Duke (RC) – North Carolina (NZ)

National Poll: North Carolina (0-0)

I feel like having Duke and UNC listed together like this is going to make somebody somewhere very angry, and that person is probably wearing a distinct shade of blue apparel. Anyway, I do have Duke lower than others in my weekly rankings, but Nick seems to have the pulse on the national media with the Tar Heels here at No.6.

7: Loyola (RC) – Yale (NZ)

National Poll: Yale (0-0)

Now things get interesting. I’m a big believer in Loyola this year with Mr. Negative Tilt Kevin Lindley running the show again. I also understand having Yale (and other Ivies) this high, but I personally couldn’t do it. The shortened season was one thing, but many of these teams weren’t even practicing in any functional way last spring, and there were still restrictions of some sort in the fall. I think the potential is there, but it may take a few games. If I’m wrong, I’ll adjust my votes accordingly!

8: Denver (RC) – Rutgers (NZ)

National Poll: Loyola (0-0)

In the eighth spot here, I introduce Denver to the field. I do think they have an uphill battle to take on Georgetown, but despite all their losses to graduation, in Jack Hannah we trust.

9: Lehigh (RC) – Penn (NZ)

National Poll: Rutgers (0-0)

This is the point in the poll where things start getting interesting with the second place teams in most conferences. For me, it’s Lehigh behind Loyola in the Patriot, for Nick it’s Penn behind Yale in the Ivies, and for the national poll, we get Rutgers behind Maryland.

10: Army (RC) – Loyola (NZ)

National Poll: Army (0-0)

Apparently the No.10 spot is for the Patriot League. For me and the national poll, this is where we see Brendan Nichtern & company starting out, which is still third in the conference. They’ve shown so much potential lately, they are absolutely on the verge of making an NCAA tourney run in 2022.

11: Rutgers (RC) – Denver (NZ)

National Poll: Penn (0-0)

I have Rutgers a tad lower mostly due to the massive graduation of Adam Charalambides. In fact, we may need to double check to make absolutely sure he actually is not on the team still. I think it’s assumed he is at this point. But also, for the national poll we see Penn who is riding high behind 6’5″ midfielder Sam Handley.

12: Penn (RC) – Army (NZ)

National Poll: Syracuse (0-0)

The national poll finally brings the Orange into play here to round out the ACC. They did lose some key pieces to graduation, but are still absolutely loaded with potential. But that potential was there last year and it was ultimately squandered too many times to feel great about the Orange going into the season.

13: Syracuse (RC) – Lehigh (NZ)

National Poll: Denver (0-0)

I have Syracuse just a spot behind the national rankings, and Nick thinks Lehigh is here (one spot higher) while the national poll thinks Denver is the lucky No.13. It seems like a mess, but the only major outlier here is me having Denver way up at No.8.

14: Drexel (RC) – Syracuse (NZ)

National Poll: Lehigh (0-0)

In the No.14 spot, I bring Drexel into the conversation. I love how they ended their season a year ago and were just two points away from Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament. If they can carry some of that momentum into 2022, we could be looking at an undefeated team given their favorable schedule by the time the CAA tournament rolls around. It wouldn’t be easy, but it is possible.

15: Villanova (RC) – Navy (NZ)

National Poll: Cornell (0-0)

Cornell is now added for the Ivies in the national poll! My major hesitation with Cornell has to do with two main players. There is of course my concern with the Ivies as a whole, but the Big Red in particular are going to be replacing both Jeff Teat AND Jonathan Donville, who led their attack and midfield respectively. Now we get to see what John Piatelli can do with the offense in his hands.

16: Yale (RC) – Johns Hopkins (NZ)

National Poll: Delaware (0-0)

I finally bring an Ivy vote into play. Like I said, I’ll raise them after I see them! But the national poll has Delaware while Nick introduces Hopkins. That’s right, folks. We’re in the bottom five of the rankings when stuff really starts getting weird. The big difference between the 2022 and 2021 polls is that with the Ivies actually playing, you now actually have team here that you think should probably be higher, whereas last year there were more teams in the No.16-25 range that you were trying to decide who would make the cut.

17: Vermont (RC) – Delaware (NZ)

National Poll: Vermont (0-0)

The national voters and I both agree on the Catamounts here to represent the Green Mountain State and keep their grips on the America East. They really impressed in their game against Syracuse last year and return so many players that there is no reason to expect that they are not going to take a massive leap forward this season.

18: Navy (RC) – Cornell (NZ)

National Poll: Drexel (0-0)

I have Navy here at No.18 in my rankings, while Nick was even higher at No.15. I was actually surprised to not see the Mids in the national poll right now. They had such a rough stretch of the season due to COVID-19 that they never really got onto a track, but were still a massive force in the end. If they have their full team from day one, and no month long midseason break, I am expecting a much better team from start to finish.

19: High Point (RC) – Princeton (NZ)

National Poll: Johns Hopkins (0-0)

I bring the Asher Nolting squad into the poll here at No.19, while Nick favors the George Baughan-led tigers out of the ivies for this spot. The national poll? Hopkins out of the Big Ten! I think this may be the lowest Hopkins has ever started in a preseason media poll, too. It definitely is compared to last year where they were No.18.

20: Richmond (RC) – Penn State (NZ)

National Poll: Bryant (0-0)

The last spot is always full if disagreement, but none I’d argue with. All of these teams are deserving of a spot in the top 20 rankings, but everyone had to make a call.

The Spiders are looking to keep control of the new-look Southern Conference while Nick’s Penn State pick is still trying to see how to reform a team in the post Ament & O’Keefe era. Then you have Bryant. The Bulldogs used to just be a team that would be quiet in the regular season, give a team a scare (or beat them) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. But this one may be different. Led by IL Pre-season HM AA Marc O’Rourke, Bryant may have a special season lined up.

Ryan Conwell

Dropped Out: N/A

Next Teams In: We’ll hold off on the next teams in for the preseason ballots. But as the season progresses, this is where you’ll see who we both think are in that 21-25ish spot knocking on the door of our weekly rankings.

Left Out: Cornell (15), Delaware (16), Johns Hopkins (19), Bryant (20)

Nick Zoroya

Dropped Out: N/A

Next Teams In: We’ll hold off on the next teams in for the preseason ballots. But as the season progresses, this is where you’ll see who we both think are in that 21-25ish spot knocking on the door of our weekly rankings.

Left Out: Vermont (17), Drexel (18), Bryant (20)