The new media and coaches polls are out and Maryland has returned to its position as college lacrosse's despotic leader. The Terrapins' claim to the throne, however, isn't without potential detractors: Cornell (three) and North Carolina (one) each earned first-place votes in the coaches poll and the Red also earned three first-place votes in the media poll (one of which was, admittedly, from this Internet publication).
The below aggregation considers every team slotted in the top 20 of at least one set of rankings. Some brief thoughts follow the table.
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 April 1, 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.
- Upwardly Mobile: St. John's. To the Slums: Brown. The move the Johnnies made from last week -- almost 6.5 positions -- obviously makes sense: Dropping then-number one Notre Dame in Arlotta Stadium while riding a wave that has seen the Red Storm play some of the nation's best lacrosse over the last few weeks has vaulted St. John's toward the nation's elite. The Johnnies were dangerous from Day One, and the country is now starting to take notice and reward St. John's for its improvement over the course of the season. As for Brown, a week featuring two losses to solid competition (North Carolina and Princeton) wasn't without consequence. It should be noted, however, that Bruno still shows fairly well in math-based rankings, and that indicates to me -- at least right now -- that the Bears are still a capable team and their fall from grace is partly attributable to playing two top five-ish teams in back-to-back games in the same polling period. I wouldn't sleep on Bruno just yet.
- The Ivy League is facing a kick-to-the-teeth situation: The conference is deep and strong this year, and as its teams throw brandy snifters at each other, the human polls are going to react more significantly to wins and losses than the math-based rankings (depending, of course, on controlling circumstances). That's kind of the situation that Yale and Pennsylvania are dealing with at the moment: These are solid teams that have performed well all season (which the computer-type runs recognize), but these two teams playing knockout with each other this past weekend moved their carbon-based ranking. The math-focused runs still like the Elis and Quakers better than people in polo shirts do, and both squads should be considered armed and dangerous at the moment (especially Penn which will have a date with Brown on Saturday).
- Look at this grouping: St. John's, Bucknell, Yale, Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, and Penn State -- If these teams played in a round-robin tournament, would you feel comfortable picking a pre-tournament winner? (Answer: No, unless you've been drinking A.M. Ales.) That's college lacrosse this season: These teams are separated by razor-thin margins, and expected results and outcomes are about as valuable as a Confederate musket in Fallujah.
- Loyola is starting to entrench itself as a top five-ish type team. The Greyhounds aren't the team that stormed through Division I on its way to a national championship last season, but Charley Toomey still has a contender on his hands in Baltimore. When you pull out that cockamamie RPI value -- it's pretty useless, unless, of course, you're the stupid NCAA and think that it’s the Rosetta Stone -- the math- and human-based rankings are in near agreement on the 'Hounds: They're pretty damn good. I'd personally like to see a big pelt in Loyola's bag, though, to feel better about the team on the whole, and the Greyhounds will have that opportunity in two weeks when they host Denver.
- Here's the deal with Drexel: Computer-type things don't like the fact that the Dragons are playing one- and two-goal games (in comeback fashion) against a somewhat soft schedule (based on opponent efficiency margin, Drexel has played the nation's 27th hardest schedule; LaxPower has the Dragons' schedule ranked 22nd overall). This is cause for concern for math-based things to pump the brakes a little bit, but the human are latching on to Drexel's invincibility. I don't know exactly where the Dragons shake out on that continuum, but Drexel's date with Penn State this coming weekend is going to have an impact on both runs as the Dragons' picture will change )the only thing that's unclear at the moment is how significantly it will change) regardless of the outcome.
What do you guys think about this? Okay or no-kay? The comments, they are yours.