It was a fairly quiet week with respect to what the top 20 I had in my last ballot did. This is surprising for many reasons, especially considering the havoc occurring below this cohort of teams. At this point in the year I think we have both an understanding of these teams and what the chaos means, which finally creates a situation where there is a little stability and comfort around where teams are ranked. I'm still focusing on making sure that teams are in their proper tier rather than ensuring that teams are spot-on ranked (e.g., I care more that a team that is among the 10 or 15 best in the country is in that tier rather than spending hours determining whether that particular team should be ranked 12th or 13th), but early-April's appearance has made slotting teams a bit easier in the overall.
Here's what I'm submitting this week. As always, some brief notes accompany the ballot so that you can understand why I did what I did.
|4.||North Carolina||14.||St. John's||-3|
- New this week: None. Dropped out this week: None. I seriously considered moving Bellarmine into the poll, but at the end of the day I kept the same 20 from last week and made adjustments as necessary. The Knights are painfully close and are probably going to receive deserved votes tomorrow after what they almost pulled off against Denver, but I'm just not yet ready to slide them in over the 20 listed above. They're the only team that I considered moving into the ballot this week (despite their loss).
- Yale is likely due for a course correction fairly soon, but the Elis were somewhat disappointing this weekend in their date against Dartmouth. Conference games can make good teams look weaker than they really are, and I think the Bulldogs ran into that against an overmatched Big Green team that played fairly well against a superior Yale team. I don't think there's any team in the last 10 or so that Yale doesn't match up well against, and they could make a big move next week. (In fact, Yale has already beaten Albany and Pennsylvania this season). The Bulldogs are just caught in a tough spot right now, but looking strong against Brown and Stony Brook -- two games that the Elis should win, the latter one handily -- and I'll give Yale a strong bump.
- I'm still not exactly sure what to do with Albany. The offense is top-five quality, but I remain skeptical about the defense. I don't know where the Great Danes are going to shake out tomorrow, but overstating the win over Hopkins may be a bit of a mistake. The issue with trying to figure out where Albany should sit relative to the rest of the country is this -- the problem is going to remain for the next month as the Great Danes' upcoming slate is filled with punching bags and "meh" opponents (Vermont, UMBC, Siena, and Stony Brook). Albany is existing in a vacuum unto itself, and while filled with potential, is still kind of an enigma with respect to the true national elite.
- This is one of the few times this year, outside of the early part of the season, that I didn't have to do anything with the top five. Huzzah! This, of course, means that there will be a totally new top five next week featuring a dinosaur and a dirty napkin.
- Only four teams from last week earned a loss this week -- Princeton (a one-goal loss to Syracuse); St. John's (an overtime loss to Georgetown); Johns Hopkins (a one-goal loss to Albany); and Drexel (shellacked by Penn State). I didn't really punish any of these teams given the tight results, although I am maybe clinging to the Dragons a little too much despite the uneven effort that was put in against an admittedly surging Penn State team and some of the team's weird results. I think this is fair in totem.
- Conference Breakdown: Ivy (four); ACC (three); ECAC (three); Big East (three); THUNDERDOME! (three); Patriot (two); America East (one); Independent (one). That's a pretty fair distribution given the state of the game across the nation.
I'm always willing to hear what you guys think. Have something to add or want to call me a moron in a few sentences? The comments are your launching pad.