Our weekly rankings are in!
This week marks the final ballot submission before the NCAA Tournament starts, and we won’t see another one until we have a champion on Memorial Day. What also makes this week a little funky is voters have the curse/benefit of seeing the championship seeding. For me, conference results factored into my rankings, but the top eight seeds of the tournament did not. But based on the weirdness at the top of the poll, I think others may have been swayed.
Public ballots and weekly rankings are nothing without praise and shame, so here is our scoreboard:
Ryan Conwell’s picks aligning with the national poll: 5
Nick Zoroya’s picks aligning with the national poll: 5
Everyone agreeing: 1 (Loyola)
If you’d like to see our previous polls, you can find them here:
RC’s Ballot – NZ’s Ballot
2021 NCAA DI Men’s Weekly Rankings – Week 13 Top 20
Note: The following are the official Inside Lacrosse Media Poll ballots are from Lacrosse All Stars’ Ryan Conwell and Nick Zoroya.
1 Maryland (RC) – Maryland (NZ)
National Poll: North Carolina (11-2)
Here’s the odd one. I kept Maryland atop my weekly rankings, and Nick joined me following the Terps’ Big Ten championship. So did 10 other voters, giving Maryland 12 No. 1 votes. Yet, with only seven No. 1 votes, UNC took the top spot in the national poll. My guess is that more people saw Maryland as the No. 3 seed and adjusted votes accordingly while UNC has all No. 1 and No. 2 votes. It’s a guess, but that’s what I think is happening in the top spots here.
2 North Carolina (RC) – North Carolina (NZ)
National Poll: Maryland (11-0)
Where Nick and I have Maryland, the national poll has UNC and vice versa. Basically, see the same explanation as above. The only main consensus here is that we all agree that UNC and Maryland are extremely good teams.
3 Duke (RC) – Notre Dame (NZ)
National Poll: Duke (12-2)
Duke is not far behind UNC in total votes, and it also locked up the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I have the ACC co-champs right behind UNC. Nick has Notre Dame up here, which I’m not going to argue much with. The Irish have a real shot at finally taking home the title this year.
4 Rutgers (RC) – Duke (NZ)
National Poll: Notre Dame (7-3)
I’m still holding pat that Rutgers is this good, but I’m definitely in the minority here, especially after its loss to Hopkins in the Big Ten Tournament. But I still believe this team has major potential. What’s mostly remarkable about this team is it’s now playing in its first NCAA Tournament since 2004. To remember what that year was like: Rutgers would lose to the Ryan Boyle-led Princeton team, Mikey Powell won the Tewaaraton after beating Navy in the NCAA final, and the MLL was just starting its third season. Also, nearly every player on the Rutgers roster had not even started school let alone began playing lacrosse. It’s safe to say that things have changed.
5 Notre Dame (RC) – Virginia (NZ)
National Poll: Virginia (10-4)
I have Notre Dame at in this spot (like last week), while Nick agrees with the national poll to have UVA here. Virginia actually is the fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is a major nod to the strength of the ACC in the eyes of the selection committee. It will be very interesting to see UVA’s first quarter against Bryant after a few weeks off.
6 Virginia (RC) – Georgetown (NZ)
National Poll: Georgetown (12-2)
Mostly due to me having Rutgers so high, I have UVA a spot behind the others here at No. 6 in my weekly rankings. But this is where Nick and the national poll slid in the Hoyas following their Big East win, earning them a No. 5 seed in the process. That seed also means we get to see the lacrosse version of a major basketball rivalry. These fan bases love to hate each other.
7 Georgetown (RC) – Lehigh (NZ)
National Poll: Denver (12-4)
This seventh spot is one of the few where the poll lined up with the seeding. Nick was close but had them switched. Slotted in right behind Georgetown are the Pios, who really had a great shot a winning the Big East this weekend in a game that was entertaining from start to finish. They will be a tough out for the tournament.
8 Denver (RC) – Denver (NZ)
National Poll: Lehigh (10-1)
Lehigh won the Patriot title by way of Loyola forfeiting the title game, but it was still enough for it to get the final seeded spot in the NCAA field. Nick and I have Denver here in our weekly rankings, which is just a spot behind the national poll and its seed, so no sleep will be lost here.
9 Lehigh (RC) – Drexel (NZ)
National Poll: Rutgers (8-3)
Rutgers here also aligns with the seeding, because it gets No. 8 seed Lehigh in the first round. Nick thinks the CAA champs from Philly are the next-best team in the field, and after winning that meat grinder of a tournament, that might have some merit to it.
10 Syracuse (RC) – Villanova (NZ)
National Poll: Syracuse (7-5)
After a solid win over Robert Morris to end the season, the Orange are officially in. Their two wins over UVA are absolutely why they are in the field. But for the Orange, this is one of the best matchups they could have asked for, and a win puts them into a third game with Virginia for a trip to championship weekend. But don’t look too far ahead. If the Syracuse team that played UNC or Notre Dame shows up, it’ll be packing up its lockers early. Georgetown will not forget to show up.
11 Drexel (RC) – Rutgers (NZ)
National Poll: Drexel (10-2)
The Dragons won the CAA behind victories over both UMass and Hofstra, teams that both spent time this year in the top 20. That win allowed them to be the sole representative of the conference in the postseason. It also gives them a date with Notre Dame. This will be just their third non-conference game all year, with the others being Lafayette and Robert Morris. The 19-13 win over Robert Morris gives us a nice common opponent comparison to the Irish, who beat Bobby Mo, 19-7, in their season opener.
12 Loyola (RC) – Loyola (NZ)
National Poll: Loyola (9-5)
WE FINALLY ALL AGREE! Loyola looked incredible leading up to the Patriot Final, and when news broke that it would not be playing due to a positive Covid test on the team, it was heartbreaking. The Greyhounds are a sentimental favorite for the NCAA now, and it feels like they were given a second chance. Their reward? Denver.
13 Villanova (RC) – Syracuse (NZ)
National Poll: Army (7-4)
Now is when we start getting into the ranked teams who are not in the NCAAs. Nick already had Nova in his weekly rankings, but I have the Wildcats here at No. 13. They were a very under the radar team this year but just lacked the quality wins to get an at-large bid. Army was also right on the edge of getting in but needed that tournament win over Loyola to lock it up.
14 Navy (RC) – Navy (NZ)
National Poll: Villanova (7-5)
Navy was another team that struggled because of a midseason Covid shutdown and had just gotten things really on the right track. If its schedule was just a little longer, Navy may have built up the resume needed. But instead it’s on the outside looking in.
15 Army (RC) – Army (NZ)
National Poll: Vermont (8-4)
Here at No. 15 we have the America East champs. It was a huge win for the Vermont program in a year where there were four real contenders for the league. Its win and placement now sets up the Bernhardt Bowl against Maryland. Vermont has the eldest Bernhardt, Jake, as an assistant leading the offense while his brother, Jesse, is the defensive coordinator at Maryland. Then you throw in the youngest, Jared, who will be the only one on the actual field as he tries to bring Maryland to Championship Weekend. This might get mentioned in the broadcast.
16 High Point (RC) – Vermont (NZ)
National Poll: High Point (8-5)
Now we get into a few of the more fun teams. High Point basically played an ACC schedule, but that didn’t give it any wins. The Panthers still had to win the SoCon to make it into the tournament, which is exactly what they did. Unfortunately for them, they get matched up with Duke, the team that absolutely steamrolled them earlier this year. Hopefully they learned from that tape.
17 Vermont (RC) – High Point (NZ)
National Poll: Navy (6-3)
The national poll apparently didn’t have a lot of great thoughts on Navy, dropping the Midshipmen all the way to No. 17 (they were No. 13). But, I brought Vermont into my weekly rankings after winning its conference championship, while Nick moved High Point up a few spots from last week when he had it at No. 20.
18 Richmond (RC) – Richmond (NZ)
National Poll: Delaware (10-3)
While Nick and I agree that Richmond is here (it was just one game, come on!), the national poll dropped the Spiders entirely. I do respect keeping Delaware in the top 20, though. It looked great this year and probably could have been in the tournament if the field was just a little bigger. But unfortunately, it will have to wait on that.
19 Johns Hopkins (RC) – Bryant (NZ)
National Poll: Bryant (9-3)
Following its unlikely run through the Big Ten, I added Hopkins to my weekly rankings at No. 19. Nick and the national poll brought in Bryant after its NEC title win over Saint Joseph’s, who had capped off a perfect league slate. The win also avenged an earlier 13-5 loss for Bryant. Now it gets to find a way to handle UVA.
20 Hofstra (RC) – Johns Hopkins (NZ)
National Poll: Johns Hopkins (4-8)
I still felt good about Hofstra and Ryan Tierney to give them the nod over Bryant, but it was a close call. On the same field, I think Hofstra beats Bryant right now, and we only have 20 spots to give. For Hopkins, it was the team that gave Maryland the most trouble this year, and it was able to beat Rutgers. No. 19 still feels low after saying that, but its season really had a tough time getting going.
RC’s Dropped Out:
Ohio State (18), Saint Joseph’s (20)
NZ’s Dropped Out:
Delaware (16), UMBC (17)
RC’s Next Teams In:
These are the ones with the best shot at making the top 20 in the coming weeks, not in order: Bryant, Delaware, Saint Joseph’s, Albany.
NZ’s Next Teams In:
Hofstra, Stony Brook, Delaware, UMBC.
RC’s Who Did I Leave Out?
Delaware (18), Bryant (19)
NZ’s Who Did I Leave Out?