The new media and coaches polls are out and North Carolina has assumed the rank of Momentary Supreme Commander of College Lacrosse. The Tar Heels earned 20 of the 22 first place votes in the media poll -- Cornell and Syracuse each took home one (the latter courtesy of Brian Higgins) -- while Carolina was voted in the top position by every single coach contributing to the USILA poll. This, of course, means only one thing: North Carolina will spontaneously combust in mere hours, rendering these polls useless and forcing everyone to vote "Frank and Beans" to the top spot next week.
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 29, 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: Lehigh. To the Slums: Maryland. Folks are starting to take notice of what Kevin Cassese has in Bethlehem. The Mountain Hawks may or may not have Championship Weekend potential, but Lehigh is playing their best lacrosse at the right time of the season. The Mountain Hawks are arguably right where they should be in the polls, and the win over Bucknell yesterday threw up a signal that Lehigh isn't going to kiss any rings (other than their own) this season. As for Maryland, the Terrapins fell fairly dramatically from their positioning last week and it appears warranted. Maryland just isn't reaching its potential at the moment, and they have separated themselves -- in a bad way -- from the nation's elite.
- Addressing the tiering of teams: Carolina and Cornell are in their own bracket, square in the average of all measures but the Red looking a tad bit stronger in the math-oriented ratings; Denver and Loyola are squished together and may have the opportunity to split their positioning in the ECAC Tournament this week; five teams -- Notre Dame, Maryland, Syracuse, Penn State, and Duke -- are within four slots of each other with two of those teams -- the Irish and Orange -- meeting this week in a Quentin Taratino-esque street fight; then there is one of the biggest messes I've ever witnessed in the history of history: eight teams -- Lehigh, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Yale, Ohio State, Albany, and Bucknell -- are lodged together within four ranking spots with six teams averaging within the same polling position; and then Virginia, St. John's, Villanova, Army, and Massachusetts round out the tally. It's that logjam in around the 13th position that is most intriguing: In large part that is the NCAA Tournament at-large pool. Godspeed, Selection Committee.
- Pennsylvania remains a computing machine favorite and a human machine form of derision. The Quakers have an important date with Yale -- finally situated where it should be in the polls -- this week in Ithaca, and it may change the tenor of the conversation carbon-based voters has created around what Mike Murphy is rolling with. The Quakers are dangerous and could be significantly stronger than their current human poll rankings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the human polls may be overstating the relative strength of Ohio State and Drexel. The computers are slow on the Dragons because they aren't smashing foes in the face (and Drexel's defense remains questionable); as for the Buckeyes, they show as a top 20 offense and defense (they're currently ranked 17th in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency) but aren't otherwise spectacular. Both Drexel and Ohio State can play, but each may be a shade overrated in their carbon-based positioning at the moment.
- With respect to Syracuse and Duke: It's up to you what you want to think about each team. The Orange's win over former number one Notre Dame was a driver for Syracuse's human poll rankings this week, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. I would caution, however, that the Irish weren't exactly a resounding pick for the top position in the coaches and media polls and Notre Dame hasn't shown well in recent weeks in their computer machine ratings. The Devils remain an odd duck when you get into the nitty gritty and their game against North Carolina on Friday night was a perfect illustration of that: The Devils can look alternatively like a destruction machine or a destructed machine given the controlling circumstances. I still don't know what to think about Duke, and that's not a good thing with the calendar flipping to May this week.
What do you guys think about this? Okay or no-kay? The comments, they are yours.