|Rank||Team||Total Votes||1st Place Votes|
Also receiving votes (in order as provided by USILA): Marquette, Colgate, Princeton, Penn State, Army, Penn, Fairfield, High Point, Hofstra, Bucknell, Boston U, Richmond, UMass, Marist, Air Force.
Last week, Nike/Lacrosse Magazine released their Preseason Top 20 Poll. Friend of the site (and great Twitter follow, @OrangeLax) did a nice breakdown of the Nike/LM Poll and Inside Lacrosse's Preseason Top 20 Poll over at NunesMagician.com, I highly encourage you to check out his post as well, as there are slight deviations between the three polls.
For our purposes today, we'll just stick with the Nike/USILA Coaches poll. Let's get after it!
1. The Usual Suspects: Denver (1), Duke (2), Notre Dame (3), and Maryland (4).
- It's actually pretty remarkable how consistent Denver, Notre Dame, Duke, and Maryland have been over the last five years, especially in May. Obviously (but for last year) Duke has been on a roll since 2007 (including three titles since 2010), but the other three teams at the top of the polls aren't far behind. Indeed, out of a possible 20 available seats at #TheBigBBQ table over the last five years, these teams occupied 15 of them. The only other Championship Weekend party crashers to make it rain during the last five seasons? Virginia (2011), Loyola (2012), Syracuse (2013), Cornell (2013), and Johns Hopkins (2015). That's not a good stretch -- that's a chokehold.
- Looking ahead: While nothing in life is a lock, it's probably a safe bet that we'll see at least one, if not a combination of these four teams in Philly on Memorial Day weekend.
- You know the names. Even though they haven't been ruling the lacrosse landscape like they did from the 1800s through the late 2000s, these are still the elite/hegemonic programs of Division I college lacrosse. I'm all for
chaos and anarchyparity and all, but whether you're a fan of these programs or not, I think we can all agree that it's a lot of fun in the comments section when these guys are rolling and their fans get into it.
- Looking ahead: I'm looking at Virginia to a bounce back this season. I think we all remember how last season ended for the Cavs. However, with seven returning starters (including All-American defenseman, Tanner Scales, who missed all of 2015 due to injury) I think Virginia will make a statement this year as they look to silence some doubters.
(Ed. Note: We need a UVA Dirty Bird Scooter Gang 2016 Mixtape promptly. Maybe hoverboards this time? Email
Don Corleone StarsiaDom Starsia with some thoughts and bars.)
- The Ivy League was the only conference to have a worse first round of the 2015 tournament than the ACC. Losing all three first weekend games was rough and we won't go through each loss here (Albany fans like "WHY NOT?!?! JUZZZZZZ BLAZE!!"). However, it's probably safe to say a few Georgetown fans were probably getting their Lucille Bluth on that weekend last May.
- Looking ahead: Forget all that 2015 stuff, NEW YEAR, NEW ME, amirite?! Besides, if there's one thing that'll be mandatory watching in the Ivy League for all college lacrosse fans, it'll be the play of Brown's junior attackmen, Dylan Molloy. Did you miss Dylan last year? Don't feel bad, EVERY DEFENSE he went up against did the same thing. Molloy, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year & 2015 3rd-Team USILA All-American, dropped 62(!!) goals on the competition last year as a sophomore. Look for him to kindly ask for your attention this year, only to go all Guy Pearce in "The Hard Word," as he swiftly robs defenses blind in front of your eyes with little to no compassion.
- Even though it's tough to get a seat at #TheBigBBQ table, these four teams have the best shot of any team (outside the top 10) to make a Final Four run. Indeed, despite Denver, Duke, Maryland, and Notre Dame's vice grip on the Final Four spots the last five years, it's not unheard of for a surprise team to make a Final Four. A decade ago (god I'm getting old) we saw unseeded Massachusetts and Delaware make it to the 2006 and 2007 Final Four, respectively. Furthermore, in four of the last five years an unseeded team has made the Final Four. The only twist, those recent, plucky unseeded teams were Maryland (2011 & 2012), Cornell (2013), and Johns Hopkins (2015), not exactly the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Looking ahead: I'm really looking forward to seeing the Post-Thompsons era at Albany. We'll all tell our grandkids about Ty, Miles, and Lyle Thomspon, and even with the help of whatever virtual reality video platform Google comes up with, it still won't do those three justice. But Albany head coach Scott Marr is one of the most innovative coaches in the game and the cupboard is far from bare. Albany's the three-time defending America East champ and they still have super-sophomore, Connor Fields. Fields had a phenomenal season last year, and though he was obviously aided by having Lyle as a teammate in 2015; one does not not simply
simply walk into Mordordrop 66 goals as a freshman (9th all-time in D1) without being heavy on talent. If another team is going to wear the America East crown in 2016, they're gonna have to take it away from Albany.
- D1 lacrosse is a land of wolves and to survive you have to be one as well. Nevertheless The Streets are starving, have some of the sharpest teeth, and the teams towards the top of the polls are starting to look like something to eat.
- Looking ahead: I think Towson is going to be a problem for EVERYONE in 2016. Led by one of the best young coaches in the game, Shawn Nadelen, Towson had one of the stingiest defenses in D1 last year; a unit which helped to lead the Tigers to their first tournament win since 2003. Don't be shocked to see Towson run it back this year and go from The Streets to the Penthouse in short order.
- This post is much too long as it is, but I just wanted to throw this out there to let you know I'll be keeping a close eye on the Philly Four throughout the season. I'm going to set the College Crosse Official Over/Under™ at 1.5 Philly teams at #TheBigBBQ2016. I know it is ambitious, but I feel like at least two (hopefully all four!) of these teams will be in the tournament by Selection Sunday.