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Acrosse the College Lacrosse Polls: April 9, 2012


The new polls are out and Virginia remains your pluralist number one. The media run ended up splitting first place votes among a handful of schools again -- Virginia (18), Massachusetts (3), Johns Hopkins (1), and Loyola (3) -- while the coaches pull just ended up with the Cavaliers (9) and Minutemen (2) receiving some sort of top honors. Yippie!

While we're still light years away from the NCAA's release of its 2012 RPI ratings -- it's kind of like watching a boxer, in slow motion, throw his fist square into your face, but his arm is only cocked back behind his ear at the moment -- folks have started to write their "far-too-early, but-maybe-not-too-early" NCAA Tournament mock brackets, which is a sure sign that it's barbecue season, boys and girls. I have a violent aversion to the RPI, mostly because it's like a one-armed man feeling left out of the ovation for an encore, but as I'm not in charge of everything yet, it persists. As a result, I've finally included RPI ratings in the poll aggregation (thanks to LaxPower).

Here's this week's poll aggregation featuring teams situated in any set of rankings' top ten. Some brief thoughts follow after the jump.

Virginia 2 3 2 2.3 1 1 1.0 1.3 1.8
Massachusetts 1 5 1 2.3 2 2 2.0 0.3 2.2
Johns Hopkins 5 1 7 4.3 3 3 3.0 1.3 3.8
Loyola 3 2 9 4.7 4 4 4.0 0.7 4.4
Cornell 8 9 3 6.7 5 5 5.0 1.7 6.0
Notre Dame 9 4 8 7.0 6 6 6.0 1.0 6.6
Maryland 7 7 5 6.3 9 10 9.5 -3.2 7.6
Denver 6 18 4 9.3 10 8 9.0 0.3 9.2
Duke 15 6 14 11.7 7 7 7.0 4.7 9.8
Princeton 4 14 6 8.0 15 13 14.0 -6.0 10.4
Lehigh 10 11 10 10.3 11 11 11.0 -0.7 10.6
North Carolina 13 8 21 14.0 8 9 8.5 5.5 11.8
Colgate 11 10 12 11.0 14 12 13.0 -2.0 11.8

LAXPOWER: These are the LaxPower ratings. These ratings are based on solid math, similar to Jeff Sagarin's rankings. Importantly, they consider 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 9, 2012.

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.

More after the jump.

  • Obligatory Princeton Pump-Up: The Tigers are pretty good, despite the loss up in the Carrier Dome this past Saturday. The non-vacuum tube polls are still putting a bit of a glass ceiling in front of Princeton, which should result in the Tigers making a Tootsie spoof to demand equality in a satirical fashion. I don't think that Princeton is necessarily one of the five or six best teams in the country like the computer chips are saying, but they're probably better than the back-end of the top-15. Equality now!
  • A Quick Neck-Stabbing of the RPI: Why do I think that the RPI is especially fraudulent? Denver at 18 is a nice little example in a bleeding-out-on-the-floor-due-to-a-knifed-neck kind of way. I mean, c'mon. That's not reality, unless reality has a margin of error of "You may actually be a duck and not a human."
  • ACC Deference (A.K.A. "Well, They're All Top-Ten, Right?"): The cool thing about humans is that they have human error! (We are all God's imbalanced children.) The teams populating the back of the top ten all have warts -- potentially malignant tumors, if you want to be honest -- but everyone may want to be a little cautious about Duke and North Carolina, though. They're getting the benefit of the doubt in the coaches and media tallies -- which, I guess, is fair given the perception of the ACC -- but their cold, mathematical output hasn't exactly been top-ten. Now, the math isn't always right and needs to be tempered with the eyeballs sitting in your melon, but Duke's death-defying struggle against Marist this weekend (and the "Huh? Say what now?" escape against Brown in late-March) illustrates that the math-based polls aren't completely nuts about pumping the brakes on the Devils. The same issue applies to North Carolina (although their efficiency ranking isn't particularly indicative of operating truth (the efficiency rankings really don't like the Tar Heels' defense, which was exposed -- again! -- against Virginia on Saturday)). I guess the takeaway here is to be careful with how you view the cockamamie ACC Tournament that's on the horizon.
  • Maroon'd: Lehigh had been getting all the ink in the Patriot League given their nine-game winning streak, and this created a bit of an issue for Colgate: The Raiders just kind of snuck around in the weeds. The machines have recognized this, though, and are popping Colgate a shade higher than the soon-to-be-enslaved-by-the-machines polls. There isn't a significant difference there -- it's less than the difference for, say, Maryland (which is still a shade underrated, I think) -- but it's still notable. The Raiders' win over the Mountain Hawks this past weekend shows that Colgate is just as good as Lehigh and if you put the Hamiltonians on the field with anyone in their ranking cohort -- Duke, Princeton, North Carolina -- I think Colgate would have a pretty decent shot at winning. This is one of the country's better teams, and with regular season games remaining against Bucknell and Maryland, they have the chance to prove it.