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Acrosse the College Lacrosse Polls: April 2, 2012


The new polls are out -- media // coaches -- and Virginia is the new number one following North Carolina's swamp boat attack on Johns Hopkins this past weekend. (Are swamp boat attacks real things? I hope so.) The Cavaliers' grip on the top spot isn't exactly deadly as Virginia only holds 55 percent of the first place votes in the media poll and 40 percent in the gym teacher tally. The University of Alabama failed to achieve a vote for about the 2,080th consecutive week in a row. ROLL TIDE!

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

Massachusetts 1 1 1.0 2 2 2.0 -1.0 1.2
Virginia 3 4 3.5 1 1 1.0 2.5 1.8
Cornell 6 2 4.0 5 5 5.0 -1.0 3.6
Loyola 4 8 6.0 4 4 4.0 2.0 4.0
Johns Hopkins 7 7 7.0 3 3 3.0 4.0 4.0
Princeton 2 3 2.5 11 10 10.5 -8.0 5.2
Notre Dame 9 9 9.0 6 6 6.0 3.0 6.0
Denver 5 6 5.5 9 11 10.0 -4.5 6.2
Lehigh 12 10 11.0 7 7 7.0 4.0 7.2
Maryland 8 5 6.5 12 12 12.0 -5.5 7.4
Duke 13 12 12.5 8 8 8.0 4.5 8.2
North Carolina 10 18 14.0 9 9 9.0 5.0 9.2

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 and where a game was played.

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 don't include these rankings this week because they have crazy eyes.

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 2, 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.

  • With respect to North Carolina's efficiency ranking: The Tar Heels are taking a bit of a shot due to the team's adjusted defensive efficiency mark (Carolina is only coming in 37th nationally). This is due, primarily, to the fact that the Tar Heels haven't exactly excelled on that end of the field despite playing a schedule ranked 45th in the country in opposing offenses faced. My eyeballs -- which are dastardly villains of hubris -- tell me that North Carolina is coming around nicely, though, and its effort against Johns Hopkins is proof of that. I'd say with strong confidence that the efficiency mark is merely an outlier at this point and should right itself if the Tar Heels continue to play non-knucklehead lacrosse.
  • Again, because it's a week of the lacrosse year and I have a contractual obligation to mention it: Princeton is vastly underrated in the carbon-based polls. I'm not sure what Princeton needs to do to move up in the rankings short of poisoning the teams currently ahead of them. Of course, if the Tigers drop a huge home game to Syracuse this weekend this will all start to become moot, but as of right now, Princeton is performing better than the human polls are giving them credit for.
  • There are a bunch of teams that are squished together like kindergarten-approved Play-Doh. (Frankie says it's delicious!) You're basically splitting hairs between Massachusetts and Virginia for the top spot (which validates the scattering of first-place votes this weekend); there isn't much difference between Cornell, Loyola, and Johns Hopkins (which, if you were setting totally illegal betting lines on games between the three schools in order to feed your family -- Freedom isn't free! -- would probably result in a lot of pick 'ems); and the back-end of the tallies are just stacked bodies with different kinds of ailments and strengths. This, in totem, starts to show why the 2012 Division I has been all kinds of fun, like a birthday party with pony rides.
  • The ACC is a fickle combine: If you can survive it, you reap the rewards; if it eats you up, you're going to absorb the punishment. I think the league doesn't exactly show which teams are great -- these are all good teams -- but rather punishes those that struggle. You're seeing that a little bit with Maryland and Duke in the polls. The Terrapins are currently 1-2 in the conference with consecutive losses to North Carolina and Virginia in the last two weeks; Duke is currently 1-1 in the league with its victory coming at home against North Carolina and its loss due to a trip to College Park. I don't think Maryland is necessarily better or worse than Duke right now -- they each have their own problems -- it's just that the Terrapins have finished the wash cycle of the ACC regular season and they're feeling that in the human polls right now. If Duke can't get their final win in the league against Virginia, the Devils may be in the same poll position that Maryland is in currently. I don't think you'd see this happening if either team were in, say, the Big East or ECAC. Luckily, none of this matters at all.