What. A. Week. The Patriot League and ACC both had their conference tournaments, while everyone else finished their regular season. This is also the sad weekend where many teams played their last game.
You’re not reading an article about those teams, though. This is about the Top 20! At least in terms of how we at Lacrosse All Stars view it. Okay, how I view it. Connor was in Prague playing box lacrosse and growing the game in Europe. He figured it was better to not vote since he wasn’t paying attention.
There were plenty of upsets this time around, but there is very little overall variation. Teams are moving up or down a few spots, but they have mostly settled into where they are. You have the serious title contenders. You have the “let’s ride this momentum to Memorial Day” teams. Then there’s the teams walking a tight rope. And finally, you have the teams with nothing to lose (like UNC).
D1 Lacrosse Poll
This week’s format is: my rank, the team, their rank last week, score margin, remaining playoff seed, and then my comments.
1 Maryland LW: 4 (7 over Hop): Maryland does have three losses this season, but they are by a combined 3 goals, and all to good teams. Then they went off and demolished Hopkins to take the top seed in the Big Ten conference tournament. The Terps are certainly beatable, but it will not be easy.
ICYMI, this happened last night!Maryland 12, Johns Hopkins 5? 14,000+ fans✔️?Rambo Record✔️?Rivalry Secured✔️?B1G Secured✔️#BeTheBest?
Posted by Maryland Men's Lacrosse on Sunday, April 30, 2017
2 Denver LW: 3 (8 over Marquette): Denver has not lost a game since their embarrassment to Ohio State, but that may be more due to their schedule that anything. This happens each year since Denver really runs the Big East at this point. Their out of conference schedule is their true test. The conference is almost just practice for the tournament now. First up is Marquette after beating them by 8 this past week.
3 Notre Dame LW: 2 (1 Over Duke), (4 to UNC): The Irish had a very low scoring game against Duke to start the weekend, but took control late. It was a close win, but it avenged their earlier loss to the Blue Devils. Against UNC, it was a different story. UNC was too determine to not miss the postseason. During the game, Anish Shroff was saying how injured Notre Dame is right now and in need of some rest before the NCAA. With Army on their schedule though, rest is not going to happen.
4 Syracuse LW: 1 (1 to UNC): People have been waiting for weeks to see Syracuse finally lose a game again. Well, it happened. After being down at halftime 13-4, the Orange use an 8-0 third quarter to get back into the game. It was either luck or skill depending on where your fandom lies, but the Orange almost pulled this one off to end the Tar Heels’ season.
5 Albany LW: 6 (6 over Hartford): Another conference game, another win for Albany. They are one of the few non-ACC or Big Ten team who can lose in their tournament and still make the NCAA. They did it a year ago and it really makes other team vying for an at-large bid unhappy. Very unhappy.
6 Duke LW: 5 (1 to ND): Duke was playing host to the ACC tournament and would have loved to win it all at home. They probably would have loved to win just a game at home, but apparently that wasn’t in the cards, either. Still, a one goal loss to Notre Dame is not the end of the world. They have BU still, and then will be in the NCAA tournament. Their fate will rely more on matchups than anything else.
7 Penn State LW: 8 (4 over Michigan): #4 Big Ten Penn State was lucky enough to end their season with a game against Michigan, which should have been easier for them than it was. They now go into the Big Ten tournament as the fourth seed, putting them up against Maryland in the first round. Both teams are playing for good NCAA seeding. A home game with an easier path to the quarterfinals is a very big carrot to chase.
8 Hopkins LW: 7 (7 to MD): #3 Big Ten Hopkins was beat big by Maryland, which was surprising. Maryland was definitely the favorite going in, but The Rivalry game, trophy, big crowd, etc. meant that the normal logic of “favorites” was tossed out of the window. In losing, it also sent Hopkins down to the third seed in the conference tournament which puts them against Ohio State. That will be a tough game for Hopkins coming off from this loss.
9 Rutgers LW: 12 (1 over OSU): Rutgers did not earn a bid to their conference tournament Despite the win over Ohio State, Rutgers is not playing in the Big Ten tournament. Their regular season is done. Also, just like last year, Rutgers should be in the NCAA field as of today. If too many favorites start losing their AQs, Rutgers will be sitting at home once again.
10 Ohio State LW: 9 (1 to Rutgers) Big Ten #2 seed: The Buckeyes had a little setback against Rutgers, but they are still the #2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Even though they have some slightly off games, if Ohio State pulled a 2016 UNC run together, they will be one happy group on Memorial day. They have the potential, but they just need to do it.
11 Loyola LW: 13 (10 over HC & 9 over Army): Loyola won their two Patriot tournament games by a total of 19 goals. I think you could say they’re the best team in that conference now. They are definitely not the team from last year, but when they are capable of putting together a run.
12 Richmond LW: 11 (9 over Furman): After beating Furman by 9, the Spiders are still the top team in the SoCon. The conference tournament Is no formality, though. Air Force can beat them, and any team can have a great game. A loss would probably be it for the Spiders.
13 Towson LW: 15 (2 over Hofstra) CAA top seed vs. Drexel: Towson played a great game against Hofstra to take the CAA regular season title from the Pride. What was reassuring to see is that even in a tight game, Towson really knew now to seal the win. They made smart plays down the stretch, used the clock well, and came away with the win.
14 Hofstra LW: 10 (2 to Towson) CAA 2nd seed vs. UMASS: As well as Towson played, Hofstra had their chances. But they still were just too passive to make a real comeback chance. They still can with the CAA tournament AQ, and will be a nightmare of a first round matchup for anyone.
15 UNC LW: 20 (1 over Cuse, 4 over ND): UNC was 30 seconds from packing up their lockers, but they held off a late Cuse rally to advance to the ACC title game against Notre Dame. Once there, they owned it. They jumped out quickly on Notre Dame and barely looked back. With their backs up against the wall, they performed. They should be in the NCAA, but they’re still in a situation where the ACC not having an AQ all of a sudden adds more stress in their life than they really need right now.
16 Army LW: 14 (3 over BU & 9 to Loyola): Army is fading down the stretch, and it isn’t good. I was a big believer in this team, but now they have lost three of their past 4. They really need to beat Notre Dame next week. A loss there and their chances of advancing are extraordinarily slim.
17 Yale LW: 16 (1 to Harvard): Top seed Yale lost a game to Harvard that they really should have won. They’ll also be really angry in film review when they see one of Harvard’s goals involved a foot firmly on the crease. It’s just one of those situations that won’t change, but in a close one goal loss will seem more important. They are still the #1 seed and host to the Ivy tournament, though. Their chances of winning it all are very good.
18 Villanova LW: 18 (8 over Providence) Play providence again: Villanova really beat up on Providence and now have the chance to do it again. Nova seems to be peaking at the right time. The question is if that peak is high enough to top Denver next weekend.
19 BU LW: 19 (6 over Lehigh & 3 to Army): BU had a nice win over Lehigh to start the week. Then, they were off to play Army in the Patriot semifinals where they fell by three goals. They still host Duke next weekend which will be a great game, but if they lose there, it will likely be too little, too late.
20 Princeton LW: 17 (1 to Cornell) Ivy League 2nd seed: Princeton losing by a goal to Cornell really underscores how unpredictable Princeton is. They have the ability to beat anyone in the country right now. Unfortunately for them, they can seemingly lose to anyone as well. They are a classic case of a potential bid thief. If they beat Yale for the Ivy title, I still like Yale to get into the NCAA. If the Tigers lose, they probably are done.