In the interest of transparency, here's how I voted in the Inside Lacrosse media poll this week. Some brief explanations follow the ballot.
- New this week: Colgate. Dropped out this week: Marquette. Also seriously considered: Marquette, Richmond, and Johns Hopkins (in no particular order). It was tough dropping Marquette out of the ballot this week. The Eagles are still a handful, but some of the shine has started to come off of Marquette's diamond the last few weeks as the team has alternated wins and losses since a one-goal setback to Georgetown in late March. The Golden Eagles aren't so much going in the wrong direction as much as things are starting to level out from the team's nuclear-powered start. If Colgate didn't enter the ballot Marquette would have stayed in the top 20.
- 11-20: This was, once again, attempting to identify bodies strewn across the landscape. Brown, Georgetown, and Ohio State seemed to slot in somewhat easily -- pushing the Bears forward helped create some stability in that part of the ballot -- but it got all sorts of messy past the Buckeyes. The compressed competitiveness of positions 15 through the group of "Also seriously considered" feels incredibly tight, and attempting to make sense of it may make blood leak out of your eyes. It's interesting that there are four Patriot League teams in that part of the ballot, all of which will have an opportunity to make things work in their favor this week during the Patriot League Tournament.
- North Carolina: It didn't feel right to knock the Tar Heels after the effort the team put in against Notre Dame at Arlotta. I'm guessing that some voters will put Maryland or Syracuse ahead of Carolina, but I'm not really sure that's necessary given what the Heels did in a tough spot.
- Navy and Stony Brook: These were probably the most difficult team to find a home on the ballot. The Seawolves looked like two teams against Duke during the middle of the week and almost blew a tire against Binghamton. The end result was Stony Brook staying flat, which felt weird. Navy was idle this week and rose three positions despite the team's profile not substantially changing. The Midshipmen and Seawolves are the epitome of the back half of the top third of the nation this season -- you have no idea how often they'd beat teams in that particular tier of the country (in other words, Stony Brook beat Princeton this season, but how many times would this Seawolves team beat this Tigers team in a 100-game series). The remaining pieces of the pre-NCAA Tournament season should take care of this, but I've also written that every other week for two months now.