There wasn’t a whole lot of movement in my poll this week because almost all of the teams that have been in my poll won this week. For me, this is a case of, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." There were a few teams at the back end of the poll that I was a bit iffy on, and there are a few new teams that are at least worth thinking about for a top 20 honor.
One thing I need to get out of the way at the top of the show. No matter the name on the front of the jersey, I just can’t give a team with 6 losses a nod for the top 20. We’ve seen that the ACC has all the marks of being human this year. So if you’re wondering why Duke or Virginia aren’t here anywhere, that’s why. Both of those teams are far too inconsistent in my mind. Both teams have four losses to top 20 teams, but the point of playing a tough schedule is to 1. Win, and 2. Get your RPI up for a tourney bid. If you don’t do #1, you don’t deserve a trip to the big BBQ.
1. Yale (10-0): Dartmouth isn’t what I would call a significant challenge for Andy Shay and his team, but undefeated is still undefeated. Yale is back to #1 for me.
2. Denver: (9-1): Connor Cannizzaro put his team on his back this weekend in the snow at Villanova. A critical conference victory, a head-to-head win against Notre Dame, and better performances against common opponents keeps Denver just barely ahead of the Domers.
3. Notre Dame (8-1): Notre Dame earned a two-goal win over Duke this week. In all honesty, Duke needed this win much more than ND did. Notre Dame didn’t necessarily look shaky for a stretch there, but they certainly weren’t playing to their fullest potential. It seems like they’re rounding into form just at the right time.
4. Brown (9-1): Mid-week games are where hopes go to die this season. All credit to Bryant for keeping Bruno at bay on Tuesday. Of course, Penn felt Brown’s ire on Saturday, and Dylan Molloy continues to make a case for the Tewaaraton this year.
5. Maryland (8-2): Penn State took Maryland to OT on Sunday evening. The Terps only beat lowly Michigan by one last week. So far league play hasn’t been too impressive for Maryland, but that tends to be the case with conference games.
6. Towson (10-1): The Tiger defense took on a feisty UMass team at the Zoo this weekend. Of course, anything can happen in THUNDERDOME, but Towson looks pretty good at the moment. Fairfield and Hofstra are the toughest tests remaining in the regular season.
7. Albany (8-2): The Danes are cruising through the America East right now. Vermont being their latest victim. The only real test for Albany until their conference tournament is when the Scoobies visit New Haven to take on Yale.
8. Marquette (8-1): I had to do a double take at the scoreboard early in this game as the Johnnies got off to a good start against one of the best defenses in the country. Junior midfielder Andy DeMichiei, who entered the game with four goals on the season, had a career day, lighting the lamp seven times.
9. Navy (8-2): The Mids are on a six game winning streak, and they only have one league game remaining against Army. That should be a barn-burner. With a place in the Patriot League playoffs set in stone, now it just comes down to seeding. I was pleased to see that Jack Ray led the team in scoring (2, 4). Attaboy big man!
10. Stony Brook (9-2): The Sea Wolves took down a Princeton team that’s had a hard week, to say the least. Their two losses are to top 6 teams at this point. Any chance Stony Brook would get an at-large if they fall in the AE tournament?
11. Air Force (10-2): The Falcons welcomed Mercer to the Springs this weekend and had a back-and-forth affair. But the scrappy Falcons pulled out the win late in the fourth. This team just finds a way to win. Those wins haven’t all been easy, especially the past couple of weeks, but Eric Seremet has this team focused.
12. Penn State (7-4): The Nittany Lions were up on Maryland 8-4 at the half, and took the Terps to OT this week. They’ve played 2 top 5 teams in the past 3 weeks and are 1-1 in those games. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.
13. North Carolina (7-4): It seems like every ACC team that’s not Notre Dame is fighting for their life right now. UNC is the team that seems to be stepping up to the challenge the most. Mopping the floor with Virginia helps too.
14. Syracuse (6-3): The Orange took down one of their longest standing rivals this week, beating Hobart in a mid-week game. This was a confidence boost the Orange needed after dropping three straight. Their lone ACC game remaining is against UNC, and it’s a game both teams need. What are the chances both teams are watching Highlander in the lead up to their game?
15. Loyola (8-3): The Hounds only loss in the Patriot League is to Navy. They beat a very good Lehigh team this week. Boston and Army are still ahead, but they’re both at Ridley. It’s easy for visitors to win at Ridley, right? Right?
16. Rutgers (9-2): The Scarlet Knights won and I dropped them. How does that make sense? I think I over-reacted to their Hopkins win and as much as it pains me to admit, beating Michigan isn’t that impressive. Still, they deserve a top 20 nod and #16 seems about right to me.
17. Johns Hopkins (6-4): It’s no surprise that I enjoyed watching Hopkins take down Ohio State on Saturday. Consistency has been an issue for Hopkins this year and with both Penn State and Maryland still ahead I have my concerns.
18. Army (8-3): Last week I hemmed and hawed between Army and Boston, and ultimately went with the Terriers. Well Army rolled their caissons right through BU. It wasn’t even close. I was wrong. There I said it. If you’re not looking forward to the upcoming Army/Navy game I don’t know what to say.
19. St. Joseph’s (8-2): The Hawks beat lowly Sacred Heart this week. Next week’s result after their tilt against Bryant should tell me if I’m daft for trying to be the wind beneath the Hawks’ wings or not.
20. Villanova (6-4): To be honest, I expected Villanova to lose to Denver this week. I didn’t expect a one-goal game and that Denver would have to claw back for the win. That effort keeps the Cats in the top 20 despite losing three straight.
Dropped out: Boston
Also Considered: Boston, Bryant, Bucknell, Duke, Richmond