What's more interesting than the NCAA releasing its first iteration of the men's lacrosse RPI?
Everything. Everything is more interesting.
The NCAA was apparently supposed to release this "super secret information" yesterday, making it probably the least important "most important day" in the college lacrosse season. Sure, the RPI is a gigantic factor in determining which teams will receive one of the 10 at-large invitations available to this year's tournament (the metric is utilized in six of the NCAA's nine-point selection criteria). The issue, however, is that the RPI is a paint-by-numbers approach to performance value.
In short, it's stupid and full of drool.
I'll have a quick essay on the RPI whenever it's officially released -- today? tomorrow? never? -- attempting to drive home the point on the RPI's complete uselessness. Until then, though, here's this week's poll aggregation. Quick comments follow after the jump.
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.
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 April 25, 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.
The Tarheels are weird. Not "funny ha-ha" weird, but just plain weird. When I watch Carolina and think about Carolina, they don't jump out at me as a team that is lurking on the back-end of the top-10 to -15 teams in the country. Yet, the math-based methodologies continue to show me that.
It's just weird.
I guess that this is the takewaway: I have no idea what the Heels are going to do in the tournament. (If they even get in the tournament. Carolina only has two strong markers on the season: Maryland and Pennsylvania.) This is either a dangerous 9-5 team that could catch fire or one that could whimper out in the first round. The season-ending date against Notre Dame will be a significant litmus test.
Right now it looks like the Cavaliers are going to enter -- if they enter (they probably will) -- the tournament as an unseeded squad. If you're anything like me (a 30 year-old with bushy eyebrows), you don't want to be the seeded team that gets 'em in the first round.
A lot of people are screaming about Hopkins holding poll positions over the Orange. To me, it's not a big deal. If Syracuse is clicking on all cylinders, I think only Cornell can stop them. If they aren't, there are a handful of teams that could take them out right now, Hopkins included.
Syracuse has the talent to be number one, they just haven't played Godzilla lacrosse for extended game stretches throughout the year. Their human poll position this week is pretty fair.