Monday, January 31, 2011

Syracuse and UVA top the 2011 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Preseason Polls

Now that college football season is over and March Madness isn't quite here yet, I am able to look forward to the beginning of my other favorite sport season: NCAA lacrosse. The two main polls have done their voting for the preseason, and while none of the picks were too shocking, the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Poll and the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA), which is the Division I Coaches Poll, differed in their No. 1 picks. The numbers in parentheses are the number of votes the team got, and if there is a second number, that's the number of first place votes the team received.
 

Nike/Inside Lacrosse 2011 Preseason Poll

1. Syracuse (293/10)
2. UVA (283/4)
3. UNC (255/1)
4. Maryland (245)
5. Duke (228)
6. Notre Dame (227)
7. Cornell (205)
8. Stony Brook (195)
9. Princeton (187)
10. Hofstra (150)
11. Johns Hopkins (147)
12. Denver (137)
13. Army (126)
14. Loyola University (105)
15. Georgetown (68)
16. Drexel (57)
17. Massachusetts (44)
18. Yale (43)
19. Brown (36)
20. Villanova (30)

This seems to break well into little clumps of votes:

Syracuse / UVA
UNC / Maryland
Duke / Notre Dame
Cornell / Stony Brook / Princeton
Hofstra / Johns Hopkins / Denver / Army
Loyola seems to be standing on it's own
Georgetown /  Drexel
Massachusetts / Yale / Brown / Villanova

While I don't necessarily agree with the exact positions of the teams in the poll, I certainly wouldn't argue with any of them. All-around solid votes.

USILA Coaches 2011 Preseason Poll

1. UVA (216/8)
2. Syracuse (211/3)
3. UNC (186)
4. Maryland (179)
5. Duke (158)
6. Stony Brook (151)
7. Notre Dame (149)
8. Cornell (148)
9. Hofstra (139)
10. Princeton (133)
11. Johns Hopkins (98)
12. Army (92)
13. Denver (73)
14. Loyola (72)
15. Georgetown (60)
16. Massachusetts (52)
17. Delaware (48)
18. Drexel (33)
19. Yale (31)
20. Brown (25)

So while there are definitely discrepancies between the two polls, it's clear that everyone believes (and rightfully so), that Syracuse and UVA are well above the rest of the pack. This breaks slightly different than the Nike/IL poll:

UVA / Syracuse
UNC / Maryland
Duke / Stony Brook / Notre Dame / Cornell / Hofstra / Princeton
Johns Hopkins / Army
Denver / Loyola
Georgetown / Massachusetts / Delaware
Drexel / Yale / Brown

Point discrepancies aside, it looks like the uncontested top 5 sits at Syracuse, UVA, UNC, Maryland, and Duke, with Notre Dame chomping at the bit. If I had to pick a poll that I agree with more, I would definitely say the Nike/IL poll. While I'd love to put UVA ahead of Syracuse, I think Syracuse is probably a little bit stronger. If I made preseason picks, it would look something like this:

1. Syracuse
2. UVA
3. UNC
4. Duke
5. Maryland
6. Notre Dame
7. Cornell
8. Princeton
9. Stony Brook
10. Hofstra
11. Army
12. Johns Hopkins
13. Denver
14. Georgetown
15. Loyola
16. Massachusetts
17. Drexel
18. Yale
19. Brown
20. Delaware

Everyone wants to predict a Syracuse / UVA championship game, and I'm inclined to predict something else,  but honestly, I don't see it any other way. My hope? UNC / UVA. My dream? UNC / Duke. But I won't count on that.

Games I'm really looking forward to during the upcoming season:

2/20: Duke vs. Notre Dame
3/5: Duke @ Maryland
3/17: Duke @ UNC
4/3: Duke @ Syracuse
4/16: Duke vs. UVA
4/30: Notre Dame @ Syracuse
5/6: Notre Dame @ UNC

These games will definitely attest to Duke's strength of schedule... as they are playing every single preseason top six team. Notre Dame's games against Syracuse and UNC will also help their otherwise not as strong schedule (although it is definitely a step up from last year).



All in all, shaping up to be a great season. Is it Memorial Day Weekend yet?

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