Acrosse the College Lacrosse Polls: April 8, 2013


Aggregating NCAA lacrosse rankings like a mother.

The new media and coaches polls are out and Maryland remains atop of both tallies, making mouth-farting noises at the rest of the country. Once again, though, the Terrapins' position as the hyper-elite of the super-elite isn't without mitigation: Cornell (three) and North Carolina (one) each earned first-place votes in the coaches poll and the Red also earned four first-place votes in the media poll (one more than Cornell earned last 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.

Maryland 1 4 2 2.33 1 1 1.00 1.33 1.80
Cornell 2 7 1 3.33 2 2 2.00 1.33 2.80
Denver 11 2 3 5.33 4 3 3.50 1.83 4.60
Notre Dame 6 1 8 5.00 5 4 4.50 0.50 4.80
North Carolina 8 5 5 6.00 3 6 4.50 1.50 5.40
Loyola 4 10 4 6.00 6 5 5.50 0.50 5.80
Princeton 3 12 6 7.00 10 9 9.50 -2.50 8.00
Syracuse 7 11 7 8.33 8 7 7.50 0.83 8.00
Duke 16 6 9 10.33 7 8 7.50 2.83 9.20
Penn State 10 8 17 11.67 11 10 10.50 1.17 11.20
Pennsylvania 12 3 12 9.00 14 16 15.00 -6.00 11.40
Bucknell 14 13 10 12.33 9 11 10.00 2.33 11.40
Albany 13 15 13 13.67 12 12 12.00 1.67 13.00
Yale 5 14 15 11.33 15 17 16.00 -4.67 13.20
Ohio State 17 9 24 16.67 13 13 13.00 3.67 15.20
Johns Hopkins 9 22 20 17.00 15 15 15.00 2.00 16.20
St. John's 18 16 16 16.67 19 14 16.50 0.17 16.60
Hofstra 15 19 11 15.00 20 21 20.50 -5.50 17.20
Lehigh 19 18 14 17.00 18 19 18.50 -1.50 17.60
Drexel 21 17 23 20.33 17 18 17.50 2.83 19.20
Bellarmine 23 23 18 21.33 22 20 21.00 0.33 21.20
Virginia 20 24 32 26.00 21 23 22.00 3.33 21.20
Massachusetts 24 20 34 26.00 26 26 26.00 0.00 26.00
Army 27 37 19 27.67 26 26 26.00 1.67 27.00

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 April 8, 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:

  • Upwardly Mobile: Albany. To the Slums: St. John's. The Great Danes earned this week's big surge up the polls, rising five positions from last week's aggregation. This was driven partly by the human polls -- carbon-based tallies have Albany about two positions higher than the computer-based polls -- but in the overall, the Great Danes' overall tide is lifting Albany's boat. As for St. John's, the overtime loss to Georgetown not only hurt the Johnnies in the Big East standings but also popped the Red Storm in both the human and computer rankings. The human polls and computer tallies have St. John's in about the same position, so there isn't too much that the Johnnies can gripe about here.
  • Weekly Stumping for Penn and Yale: The human pollsters may still be missing the boat on the Quakers and Elis. (Myself included with respect to the Bulldogs, as I had Yale ranked well to the rear of my top 20 ballot this week.) The computer measures still really like both Ivy League teams, and it may be time for some human course correction if Pennsylvania and Yale continue to play well. While there is a gap between the Cornell-Princeton tier of the Ivy League and the Penn-Yale tier, I don't think that margin is quite as big as the human polls are indicating.
  • Tiering has once again come into focus in the poll aggregation. Maryland and Cornell sit pretty much alone in their own caste; Denver, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Loyola are bunched together in the next grouping, a dangerous sect with Championship Weekend potential; the next tier is a relatively small group of Princeton, Syracuse, and Duke, teams with warts but playing fairly well and loaded with potential; and then a total mess follows with one other notable tier (that I address in the next bullet point). This is why specific slotting in any set of rankings doesn't matter much in 2013: It's more important to look at where teams are located relative to their peers in their specific tiering rather than the specific ranking. There's a lot of "as good as . . ." in college lacrosse this season, and that's going to be the talking point throughout the rest of the regular season and throughout tournament play.
  • Look at this tiering of teams: Penn State, Pennsylvania, Bucknell, Albany, and Yale; all three have an aggregate ranking within two positions of each other. These are teams that are going to be fighting for at-large selections going into May if they fail to win their conference's automatic invitation. Here's the problem with that: Do you have any idea how to separate these teams? I mean, these are all push games if they hypothetically met in a round-robin tournament. And if you have trouble determining which teams are the strongest in that grouping, how is the selection committee supposed to decide?

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

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