The NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Committee released its second Top 10 rankings of the 2018 season on Saturday afternoon. Albany retained the top spot, and Maryland once again follows up in second place.
Below is the complete Top 10, including the additional five teams that received consideration.
5. Loyola (Md.)
6. Johns Hopkins
10. Penn State
The five teams receiving consideration: Notre Dame, Rutgers, Bucknell, Virginia, Villanova
Now, let's get into what it all means.
1. Stock Report
First off, a breakdown of how much moving everyone did:
|School||This Week||Last Week||Movement|
2. Big Up, Big Down
The biggest movement here is Yale’s jump from No. 9 to No. 4. Last week, the Bulldogs were still smarting from a 9-8 overtime loss to Bucknell, the nation’s hottest team and their Top 10 ranking reflected it.
Was it the right decision, considering Yale had been a Top 3 team for the majority of the season and lost to a great Bison squad?
Probably not, and after Yale scored 41 goals in two wins over Brown and Marist, the committee has pushed the Bulldogs back towards the top of the pile. Yale is a top 12 team in offensive and defensive efficiency, an obviously valuable pairing. Ben Reeves is a monster on offense, and the rest of this Yale team is for real as well.
The most notable downshift is Denver, moving from No. 6 last week to No. 9 this week. The Pios have only played twice since the start of April, so they might simply be suffering from a lack of exposure, but Bill Tierney’s team has tumbled to within two spots of missing the Top 10 entirely, despite being 9-2 and 3-0 in the Big East.
One thing the committee might be punishing Denver for is its lack of quality wins. The Pios are 0-1 against the current Top 10, and their early March win over North Carolina doesn’t look as sharp now as it did six weeks ago. Add in a .500 record against the five “receiving consideration” squads, and it makes sense. The Pios need to just keep winning and let their scores do the talking — but if they stumble against Providence, watch out.
3. Possible Interlopers
Which of the five “receiving consideration” teams is most likely to join the Top 10 if a team falters?
The best chance, based solely on the level of its opponent, goes to Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are the only “consideration” team facing a Top 10 squad in their next game, going up against No. 10 Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ season has been one with plenty of peaks and valleys, but considering where they are right now, this would be a quality win for Rutgers.
Of course, that hinges on Rutgers actually winning the game. The Scarlet Knights are 1-2 in their last three games. All three have come against ranked opponents, and they’re actually a +6 in goal differential across those three games, with two one-goal losses against a pair of top six squads in Johns Hopkins and Maryland. This sports writer thinks they merit NCAA tournament consideration, so we’ll see.
Another candidate is a sneaky-good Bucknell team, which has teetered on the edge of the top 10 in the Inside Lacrosse poll for the past two weeks. The Bison face Lehigh, No. 19 in the most recent USILA poll and the first RV spot in the Inside Lacrosse poll. The Bison adding an 11th win before conference play, and stretching their win streak to six games, could be enough to place them in next week’s Top 10 with a loss by any of the bottom four teams.
4. Conference Check-In
A quick rundown of the Top 10, by conference, where the Big East lost one and the Ivy gained one:
America East: 1
Big East: 1
5. What to Watch For This Week
Look, we could list a few games here, but the best game of the regular season is happening on Sunday in New Haven, Connecticut, at 1:00 pm ET, so we’ll just roll with that.
No. 1 Albany vs. No. 4 Yale, for a whole lot of marbles and a whole lot of momentum. The Bulldogs could use a big-time win to boost their résumé before NCAA tournament seeding, and the Great Danes would love to cement their status as the best team in the country.
Two of the four highest-scoring offenses in the country (Albany No. 2, Yale No. 4) face off in 60 minutes of lacrosse insanity. Hopefully it lives up to the hype. It probably will.