Acrosse the College Lacrosse Polls: March 18, 2013

Rob Carr

Aggregating NCAA lacrosse rankings like a mother.

The new media and coaches polls are out and Maryland remains atop both tallies with a knowing smirk. Cornell, however, gained some ground on the Terrapins this week in the coaches poll, picking up two extra first-place votes in that tally from last week and bringing its total to three. Regardless, Maryland is still steaming toward Championship Weekend with few established peers.

The below aggregation considers every team slotted in the top 20 of at least one set of rankings. Again, don't freak out about the computer-type rankings at this point; it's still early, but they shouldn't be ignored as tools. Some brief thoughts follow the table.

Maryland 1 3 2 2.00 1 1 1.00 1.00 1.60
Cornell 2 2 1 1.67 2 2 2.00 -0.33 1.80
Notre Dame 3 1 7 3.67 3 3 3.00 0.67 3.40
Denver 6 5 3 4.67 5 5 5.00 -0.33 4.80
Syracuse 17 4 5 8.67 4 4 4.00 4.67 6.80
Hofstra 7 9 8 8.00 7 6 6.50 1.50 7.40
Pennsylvania 9 6 9 8.00 9 7 8.00 0.00 8.00
Loyola 8 10 11 9.67 6 9 7.50 2.17 8.80
Princeton 4 14 10 9.33 11 10 10.50 -1.17 9.80
Ohio State 10 8 15 11.00 8 8 8.00 3.00 9.80
Virginia 15 11 14 13.33 14 13 13.50 -0.17 13.40
Duke 20 7 18 15.00 13 12 12.50 2.50 14.00
Yale 5 13 19 12.33 18 18 18.00 -5.67 14.60
North Carolina 16 16 16 16.00 12 14 13.00 3.00 14.80
Brown 14 12 4 10.00 24 21 22.50 -12.50 15.00
Bucknell 13 26 6 15.00 15 16 15.50 -0.50 15.20
Johns Hopkins 12 30 22 21.33 10 11 10.50 10.83 17.00
Lehigh 18 27 17 20.67 16 15 15.50 5.17 18.60
Penn State 11 18 31 20.00 17 19 18.00 2.00 19.20
Drexel 25 15 27 22.33 19 17 18.00 4.33 20.60
Colgate 19 20 23 20.67 21 22 21.50 -0.83 21.00
Albany 21 19 28 22.67 20 20 20.00 2.67 21.60
Bellarmine 24 28 13 21.67 22 24 23.00 -1.33 22.20
St. John's 26 17 21 21.33 27 25 26.00 -4.67 23.20
Robert Morris 32 31 12 25.00 27 26 26.50 -1.50 25.60
Dartmouth 39 33 20 30.67 27 26 26.50 4.17 29.00

LAXPOWER: These are the LaxPower ratings. These ratings are based on solid math, importantly considering margin of victory.

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. I've included these rankings this week because I am, apparently, as stupid as everyone and everything else.

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 18, 2013.

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.

Some thoughts:

  • Is it all that surprising that Johns Hopkins holds the biggest difference in ranking among teams ranked in the top 20 of the coaches and media polls? The Jays are a functional exercise in attempting to determine the unknown: If Hopkins is only average with above-average talent, what does that mean for the Blue Jays? Johns Hopkins hasn't slid in the human polls as much as its peers with respect to their losses -- there is something about losing to Princeton and Syracuse that makes it easy for a carbon-based thing to reconcile what happened on the field relative to what other programs around the country are doing -- but maybe it's time to reassess just what the Jays have done given what computing machines are saying (even the dumbass RPI is on board) . Hopkins' game against Virginia this coming weekend may or may not be the last straw.
  • Brown only has five games under its belt at this point (against a schedule ranked 37th in opponent efficiency margin and 42nd in opponent Pythagorean win expectation), but Bruno has performed well in the sunrise of its season. It's probably a little early to push the Bears into the heart of the top 20, but this is still a team currently ranked fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency and is accomplishing this feat by playing about one-and-a-half fewer offensive possessions per 60 minutes of play than their opponents. The schedule picks up with some big names in the coming weeks -- Bruno will face North Carolina, Princeton, Pennsylvania, and Yale in consecutive games over a three-week stretch -- and we'll all have a better read on the Bears at that point than right now. Brown, though, should be a team on everybody's radar for at least a little bit.
  • The biggest average ranking mover from last week to this week? North Carolina, which only had one game this week -- a loss at home to Duke -- and saw itself drop seven places. It's still very early in the year (the halfway point hasn't been breached yet) and these kinds of things happen. What's a little odd is that the computing machines and humans did almost the same exact thing: The Heels moved from an average computer ranking of 8.33 to 16.00; the humans dropped Carolina from an average ranking of 7.00 to 13.00. It was almost an even drop in both set of measures for the Tar Heels, which doesn't always happen like that.
  • Don't freak out about Robert Morris and Dartmouth sitting where each team is sitting. The games -- as each team plays more -- will figure this out.
  • Pennsylvania is exactly where it should be, which is creepy. Only one other team is close to a zero-balance in the difference between computer ranking and human poll ranking -- Cornell -- and that's only attributable to the fact that Maryland isn't moving from its perch unless something drastic happens. Congratulations, everyone! We're all perfectly knowledgeable about the Quakers.

What do you guys think about this? Okay or no-kay? The comments, they are yours.

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