Acrosse the College Lacrosse Polls: May 6, 2013

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Aggregating NCAA lacrosse rankings like a mother.

The new media and coaches polls are out and North Carolina remains college lacrosse's prom king (despite what the RPI says is true). The Tar Heels earned 13 of the 19 first place votes in the media poll (Syracuse picked up six ballots with the Orange in the pole position); it's unclear how many top votes Carolina earned in the final coaches poll because mystery and intrigue are fun (or the final count hasn’t been released yet).

The below aggregation considers every team slotted in the top 20 of at least one set of rankings. Some brief thoughts follow the table.

ACROSSE THE LACROSSE POLLS: May 6, 2013
TEAM LAXPOWER RPI EFFICIENCY AVG. COACHES MEDIA AVG. DIFF. AVG.
North Carolina 3 4 2 3.00 1 1 1.00 2.00 2.20
Syracuse 6 3 7 5.33 2 2 2.00 3.33 4.00
Maryland 2 6 5 4.33 5 4 4.50 -0.17 4.40
Cornell 1 8 1 3.33 8 7 7.50 -4.17 5.00
Denver 11 5 6 7.33 6 5 5.50 1.83 6.60
Loyola 5 10 4 6.33 9 9 9.00 -2.67 7.40
Ohio State 14 2 16 10.67 3 3 3.00 7.67 7.60
Notre Dame 15 1 11 9.00 6 6 6.00 3.00 7.80
Duke 9 12 10 10.33 4 8 6.00 4.33 8.60
Yale 7 7 15 9.67 11 11 11.00 -1.33 10.20
Lehigh 16 15 3 11.33 10 10 10.00 1.33 10.80
Penn State 10 9 13 10.67 13 12 12.50 -1.83 11.40
Princeton 8 16 8 10.67 16 14 15.00 -4.33 12.40
Johns Hopkins 4 17 14 11.67 13 15 14.00 -2.33 12.60
Albany 12 13 17 14.00 12 13 12.50 1.50 13.40
Bucknell 17 11 12 13.33 15 16 15.50 -2.17 14.20
Pennsylvania 13 14 9 12.00 19 19 19.00 -7.00 14.80
Virginia 18 19 18 18.33 22 22 22.00 -3.67 19.80
St. John's 22 20 19 20.33 21 21 21.00 -0.67 20.60
Drexel 24 18 27 23.00 18 18 18.00 5.00 21.00
Towson 28 23 24 25.00 17 17 17.00 8.00 21.80
Villanova 20 21 29 23.33 20 20 20.00 3.33 22.00
Massachusetts 19 22 31 24.00 24 23 23.50 0.50 23.80
Army 23 32 20 25.00 24 29 26.50 -1.50 25.60

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 May 6, 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: Ohio State. To the Slums: Penn State. Beating Loyola -- in dominating fashion in the second half -- and Denver -- in "Holy crap, that actually happened!" fashion -- earned the Buckeyes the biggest movement of the week. Ohio State doesn't show as well in computer-based rankings that aren't the RPI (these take into account margin of victory and actual performance), but it's hard to argue that Ohio State isn't one of the hottest teams in the country right now. As for Penn State, beating an average Massachusetts team and losing to Towson at home in the THUNDERDOME! championship dropped the Nittany Lions from the top 10 overall. Humans that need water and food to exist ended up punishing Penn State more than machines that need to avoid water and food to work properly.
  • Look: Towson's run through the THUNDERDOME! Tournament was impressive, but throwing the Tigers comfortably into the top 20 of the media and coaches poll may have been an overreaction. Towson can play, but it's suspect that the Tigers are stronger than St. John's, Virginia, Villanova, and Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania will go down this season as a computer machine hero that humans never quite valued appropriately. The Quakers made their own bed this season, but Mike Murphy's group showed competitiveness this year that isn't illustrated all that well in the coaches and media polls. Princeton exists in this context as well -- the Ivy League was home to a hell of a lot of strong teams this season -- but it's Pennsylvania's variance between its math-based rankings and its human polling positions that makes the Quakers arguably the nation's most underappreciated team.
  • The tiering of teams in the aggregated average is the story of the season: North Carolina sits by itself, somehow relegated to the fifth seeded position in the national tournament; eight teams -- Syracuse, Maryland, Cornell, Denver, Loyola, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Duke -- are squished together between approximately five ranking positions (any of which is capable of winning the national championship this season); eight teams -- Yale, Lehigh, Penn State, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Albany, Bucknell, and Pennsylvania -- are mashed together within the next five ranking positions, only four of which have the opportunity to continue their season; and then there is the mess at the back of the aggregation. This is the volition of Division I lacrosse, you guys. Get used to it..

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

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