Acrosse the Lacrosse Polls: March 29, 2011

Everyone and everything loves Notre Dame the best right now. Except me. I think they're really good and really pukish. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Let's rank stuff, homeslice(s).

The new rankings are out -- Coaches // Media -- and while there wasn't much movement among teams within each poll, there are some interesting things happening when you compare the "math" polls to the human polls.  Last week there were some huge differences between where the computers were slotting teams and where things that wear pants were putting them (I'm looking at you, Carolina).  This week those difference are much more muted, primarily due to the fact that the Heels thumped Maryland and Hofstra came back a bit in the human ratings.  Basically, the North Carolina-Maryland game helped kill two birds with one stone.

Whatever.

To the poll aggregation!  (Some quick thoughts are after the jump.)

ACROSSE THE LACROSSE POLLS
TEAM LAXPOWER RPI EFFICIENCY AVG. COACHES MEDIA AVG. DIFF. AVG.
Notre Dame 1 2 1 1.33 2 2 2.0 -0.67 1.6
Syracuse 5 1 7 4.33 1 1 1.0 3.33 3.0
Duke 6 3 5 4.67 3 3 3.0 1.67 4.0
Virginia 2 4 4 3.33 6 4 5.0 -1.67 4.0
Cornell 3 5 2 3.33 7 7 7.0 -3.67 4.8
Hopkins 4 10 3 5.67 5 6 5.5 0.17 5.6
N. Carolina 12 7 17 12.00 4 5 4.5 7.50 9.0
Villanova 10 6 12 9.33 8 11 9.5 -0.17 9.4
Army 7 15 8 10.00 9 9 9.0 1.00 9.6
Denver 8 9 9 8.67 12 12 12.0 -3.33 10.0
Hofstra 16 11 14 13.67 10 8 9.0 4.67 11.8
Penn 13 8 16 12.33 13 13 13.0 -0.67 12.6
Maryland 11 22 11 14.67 10 10 10.0 4.67 12.8
UMass 17 12 10 13.00 14 16 15.0 -2.00 13.8
Yale 9 33 6 16.00 15 15 15.0 1.00 15.6

LAXPOWER: These are the LaxPower ratings.  These ratings are based on solid math, similar to Jeff Sagarin's rankings.  Importantly, they consider margin of victory and where a game was played.  They also consider strength of schedule.

RPI: This is stupid person math.  I include these rankings only because the NCAA is full of stupid people and they still use this stupid person math as a major piece of their stupid tournament selection criteria.

EFFICIENCY: This is just a ranking of a team's efficiency margin, as adjusted for strength of schedule.  These are similar to Ken Pomeroy's rankings, but slightly different.  (Pomeroy uses win expectation as the basis of his ratings. We each, however, use the same foundation (efficiency).)

AVG.: Average of the "math" rankings.

COACHES/MEDIA: These are the human polls, as voted on by humans.  These humans have different jobs, though: One set judges humans while clad in university-issued apparel; the other set of humans judges others simply to sell ink and paper.  These polls are from March 21, 2011.

AVG.: This is the average the Earth-human polls.

DIFF.: The difference between the "math" polls and the human polls.  A negative value means that "math" is rating a team higher than the things that are carbon-based; the inverse means that the things made out of 75% water are rating a team higher than the things not made out of any water.

AVG.: Average of the math and human polls.  This is how the table is ordered.

NORTH CAROLINA

Humans still like the Heels more than the computers do, but the difference is much less significant.   Last week, the gap was about 11.7; this week, the rankings difference is only about 7.5.  So, what's the primary reason for the gap closing? North Carolina absolutely obliterated Maryland in College Park.  I could go into why the computers are considering the Heels a better team right now, but it'd simply be a recitation of that previous fact: Carolina dropped a tactical nuclear weapon on the Terps.  Done.

MARYLAND

There's still a pretty large gap with respect to Maryland's ranking and it's attributable to one thing: The RPI still doesn't understand the Terps (because it's for stupid people). If you toss out the moron math, Maryland is 11th in both the efficiency and LaxPower rankings and is 10th in both human polls. It looks like everyone has the Terps right where they should be  (except the NCAA, because they have no idea where anything is other than their bags of money).

SYRACUSE

So, yeah, "math" isn't loving the Orange (outside of the RPI, of course). It's a function of the close wins (albeit against very good competition) and with respect to the efficiency calculation, there's some worry about the Syracuse offense.  This isn't too say that the Orange aren't any good (they're good, duh), it's just that the human polls are doing what humans polls do: If you don't lose, you don't move down. 

That's reasonable, but it isn't the greatest assessment of how well a team is actually performing relative to the rest of the nation (unless, of course, wins and losses are all that matter (and that's absolutely true in the long run)).  I think this is more an illustration of the fact that Syracuse has warts and isn't as consensus a number one as some people may think.

CORNELL

The Big Red are still smarting from the losses to Army (11-9) and Virginia (11-9) in the human ratings.  Recognize, people: Cornell can still play with anyone in the country.  They're going to knock a lot of cats around before the season is over.

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