Grow the Game®

With the 2021 NCAA DI men's lacrosse season beginning to start, the weekly rankings are back, listing out the nation's top-20 teams.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp

Weekly Rankings: NCAA DI Men’s Week 1 Ballot

We’re back! In case you missed my weekly rankings from Week 0, take a look here to see my starting point. For those wondering why this is published after the national poll is out, here’s a quick explainer: I submit my ballot Sunday night after the games for the week have all finished and start my team by team write-ups. I then wait for the national poll to be published, so I can add some commentary for where we diverge in my weekly rankings.

The big shock for me this week was learning that I’m one of the few in the country voting for Ivies at all in my weekly rankings. There seems to be a big push from many to not rank any of them. I still probably will until we get official word on what’s happening there, which will hopefully be soon. But the ripple effect of me having three of them ranked while most voters don’t have any is felt in the tail end of the top 20.

2021 NCAA DI Men’s Weekly Rankings – Week 1 Top 20

1 Syracuse (0-0)

Last Week: 1

National Poll: 4 (3)

Results: Did Not Play

I still have Syracuse at No. 1, but the national poll has the Orange at No. 4 with two others agreeing with me. I won’t lose any sleep over this one, especially as Syracuse will see the field for the first time this weekend against Army, who has an immediate common opponent in UVA. It’s never a total apples-to-apples comparison, but it will be a great reference point.

2 North Carolina (2-0)

Last Week: 4

National Poll: 2 (3)

Results: Defeated Jacksonville, 18-7

I had to move the Tar Heels up. Sure, they were expected to beat Jacksonville, but this team is looking incredible right now. Its offense seems to have an answer for absolutely every situation. And even when it isn’t settled, UNC’s ride and fast break are about as potent as any team in the country. Also, the national poll and I agree. Woohoo!

3 Duke (3-0)

Last Week: 2

National Poll: 1 (6)

Results: Defeated Mercer, 17-8

The Duke talent is definitely present, and it is getting better on offense with each game. But the reason why I dropped the Blue Devils a spot here in my weekly rankings is their defense leaves me with very little confidence at the moment. Bad matchups, missed or late slides, and instability at the goalie position are not a great formula. The potential of this team is still enormous, and I am by no means saying it’s bad. But right now? UNC is the better team.

4 Cornell (0-0)

Last Week: 3

National Poll: Unranked

Results: Did Not Play

As I mentioned in the intro, I may be one of the only ones including the Ivies in my weekly rankings. So, here we sit with Cornell. Also, interesting LaxTwitter tidbit for those of you not living in that world: The Post Game Podcast, run by Nick Ossello and Evan Molloy, erroneously announced this weekend that Jeff Teat was intending to transfer to Denver. Terry Foy of Inside Lacrosse later said not only is Teat not in the transfer portal, but he confirmed with Cornell that he is currently enrolled. The reason why that’s a big deal is last week, Cornell reported a group of players would be taking a leave of absence to preserve eligibility.  This now suggests (key word) Teat is not one of them, but that gives no clarity around his or Cornell’s status of a season at this point. Things are still murky and complicated.

5 Maryland (0-0)

Last Week: 5

National Poll: 5

Results: Did Not Play

We agree! Woohoo again!

6 Virginia (2-0)

Last Week: 7

National Poll: 3 (7)

Results: Defeated Army, 14-9

While Army was definitely a step up in competition for the ‘Hoos compared to Towson from last week, that did not slow them down much at all. They still put up 14 goals, and that included a quick three on their first three possessions. I was hesitant about them to start the year, but this is not even close to the team we saw in 2020. Oddly enough, UVA has more No. 1 votes than any other team but still sits at No. 3. Sine it’s only six points behind Duke in overall votes, I can at least say me having them back here isn’t costing Virginia the No. 1 spot. But sadly, it looks like I may be a major reason why. Please don’t tell Lars.

7 Denver (2-2)

Last Week: 6

National Poll: 10

Results: Defeated Air Force, 15-6

Denver was able to get a more reasonable game this week after its nightmare in North Carolina last week against Duke and UNC. It was the sort of game that showed this is definitely still a top-10 team, even though the record is a little ugly at the moment. Strength of schedule is a good thing! Relative to the national poll, I have Denver a tad higher, but not by much.

8 Penn State (0-0)

Last Week: 8

National Poll: 6

Results: Did Not Play

A two spot difference between the national poll and my rankings? Not too shabby with no games played.

9 Lehigh (0-0)

Last Week: 10

Final National Poll: 14

Results: Did Not Play

Now, this is one of the larger gaps I have, putting Lehigh in the top 10. Fortunately, we’ll see this team on the field soon enough!

10 Ohio State (0-0)

Last Week: 12

National Poll: 8

Results: Did Not Play

Another case of a two spot difference with not games played means I’m still okay with that.

11 UMass (0-0)

Last Week: 13

National Poll: 12

Results: Did Not Play

Again with the two poll spots? What’s going on?

12 Loyola (1-0)

Last Week: 11

National Poll: 11

Results: Defeated Richmond, 8-7

If there was any questions about if this is Kevin Lindley’s team or not (there shouldn’t have been), this game definitely answered that. With Loyola down, 7-5, with just four minutes remaining, Lindley scored two-straight goals to force overtime, then had the game winner on Loyola’s first possession in overtime. That said, I didn’t feel that this game warranted making Loyola a top-10 team in my weekly rankings right now. A tough call with so many teams that haven’t seen the field yet, but if I’m wrong, it’ll give UVA a great game this week.

13 Penn (0-0)

Last Week: 14

National Poll: Unranked

Results: Did Not Play

Another Ivy, another me feeling lonely out here.

14 Princeton (0-0)

Last Week: 15

National Poll: Unranked

Results: Did Not Play

See: Penn

15 Notre Dame (0-0)

Last Week: 17

National Poll: 7

Results: Did Not Play

Okay, this is where I have almost the biggest gap between the national poll and my ballot. But if Notre Dame is really the No. 7 team in the country, it’ll shoot right up there in my ballot soon enough. The Irish open with Robert Morris on Feb. 27, follow that with Bellarmine, then Marquette, before seeing Cleveland State. That should give them a strong 4-0 start before the all-ACC schedule hits.

16 Army (0-1)

Last Week: 16

National Poll: 13

Results: Lost to Virginia, 14-9

This is not looking like the Army team from last year, but there is still some enormous potential behind the play of Brendan Nichtern. Whether he’s scoring or assisting, he will continue to be the focal point of this team all year long. The national poll has the Black Knights a few spots higher than I do, which is totally fine.

17 Richmond (0-1)

Last Week: 20

National Poll: 16

Results: Lost to Loyola, 8-7

Another year, another great start to the season for the Spiders. Also, the rest of the media largely agrees with where they are right.

18 Rutgers (0-0)

Last Week: 18

National Poll: 17

Results: Did Not Play

Rutgers is ready to see the field right now, and if you go by poll position, it is slated to be the No. 4 team in the Big Ten. That’s not a bad spot to start the year, but its sights are set much higher.

19 Georgetown (0-0)

Last Week: 19

National Poll: 9

Results: Did Not Play

The Hoyas are where I have the largest gap in my weekly rankings compared to the national poll: a full 10 spots. Based on the polling, Georgetown is ahead of Denver by one spot, meaning it’s the top team in the Big East. I still buy the Hoyas as the No. 2 side right now, but I could be wrong! It wouldn’t be the first time.

20 High Point (1-0)

Last Week: Unranked

2020 Final National Poll: 15

Results: Defeated Robert Morris, 21-15

HPU had a great debut (hooray for rhyming!), and I have it in at No. 20 right now. Realistically, if I took out my Ivies, this would be pretty close to where High Point sits in the national poll, which is fine. It’s definitely a good team, but it needs to rack up some quality wins to start pushing that top-10 line.

Dropped out:

Yale (9), because it’s not playing.

Next teams in:

These are the ones with the best shot at making my weekly rankings in the coming weeks, not in order: Jacksonville, Stony Brook, Bryant, Johns Hopkins, St. John’s.

Who did I leave out?

Villanova (18), Johns Hopkins (19), Stony Brook (20)

Basically, this is a symptom of the Ivies. Those three spots would be filled, but likely by two of these three in the 18-20 spots if I had to fill them in. I probably wouldn’t go with Nova, and I don’t think I’m alone there. Stony Brook is actually on the hairy edge with only 28 points, but in the “others receiving votes” of the national poll you also have Delaware, Albany, St. John’s, Bucknell, Jacksonville, Towson, Michigan, Hobart, Bryant, and Utah. Needless to say, we’re still in the wishful thinking part of the ballot process. As more games get played, we’ll have a much better feel for who’s who on the field.