The Inside Lacrosse media poll is out for the week.
And now, for a more contrarian bent, here's just one ballot in that machine.
1. Virginia (11-1). All things being equal, a one-loss team that has defeated the other three teams in the top four should probably be ranked No. 1 --- regardless of when its one setback occurred. But since when did logic ever apply to anything sportswriters ever voted on?
2. Syracuse (10-1). Wasn't the Big East supposed to help solve a little bit of the Orange's strength of schedule issues? Syracuse is ranked No. 1 this week by the electorate, but there's a real chance its RPI and strength of schedule numbers (as well as the absence of a top-five win) will cost it the No. 1 overall seed next month. Of course, that's never stopped the Orange from playing on Memorial Day in the past.
3. North Carolina (11-1). The last of the one-loss teams, the Tar Heels edged Robert "Bobby" Morris 17-14. With the field goal margin, it begs the question: Since when did Casey Barth join the lacrosse team? In all seriousness, Carolina is in great shape as it heads into the ACC tournament. Defeats of Nos. 4, 5 and 6 ensure no one should be thinking about hopscotching anyone else into the top three.
4. Maryland (8-2). Look at the RPI and strength of schedule numbers, and it's clear pretty much no one has solved the puzzle of making themselves look good quite like Maryland. Oh, and Dave Cottle is five victories away from joining Jack Emmer, Dave Urick and Dom Starsia as the only Division I coaches to win 100 games at two schools. If the Terps can pull a couple surprises this weekend in the ACC tournament, Cottle will probably join that company.
5. Duke (11-3). Were these guys really 2-3 entering mid-March? The preseason No. 1 is back in the top five after torching Virginia (yet again). The signature victory means the ever-shifting tier of elite teams sits at five this week. Round Two with the Cavaliers comes on Friday.
6. Princeton (9-2). Saturday's 16-2 rout of Dartmouth was a vintage performance from the Tigers. Perhaps a little too vintage. Princeton's last double-digit victory in the Ivy League: A 15-5 demolition of Yale in 2003. The last pummeling by 14 goals or more in the Ivy: 18-4 against Harvard in 2002. The Tigers certainly look like the team to beat in the Ivy --- just like they were when they beat Dartmouth by double digits nine times between 1991 and 2001.
7. Loyola (8-2). The Greyhounds are tough, dogged and smart, and beating Georgetown created some separation in the chase for an at-large berth. They won't need it if they can dispatch Hobart and Denver and lock up the ECAC.
8. Cornell (8-3). A last-second loss to Syracuse won't help the Big Red's resume. It does, however, enhance their perception as a capable team --- and increase sympathy after yet another excruciating loss to the Orange.
9. Georgetown (7-4). The Hoyas have four losses to the top seven, but have done nothing to suggest they're not superior to everyone below them. That season finale at Villanova is starting to look like a crucial game for both teams.
10. Villanova (8-3). A good-yet-quiet story is how well the Wildcats have played for the last month. Trips to Rutgers and Providence are up next, and both are winnable. Snag them, and Villanova will probably be playing for an at-large berth in the final weekend of the season.
11. Stony Brook (8-3). The bottom starts falling out a little bit here. It's not that the Seawolves aren't good; they're clearly the best the struggling America East has to offer this year. But their defense --- yielding 11 goals or more in nine games --- remains a serious question. One thing is certain: That early defeat of Towson looks better by the week.
12. Drexel (9-3). After their annual loss to Towson, the Dragons finish out the regular season against Delaware and Massachusetts. Defeats of Notre Dame and Hofstra don't look as valuable as they did earlier in the season.
13. Yale (9-2). Gaudy record, awful schedule strength. The Bulldogs have lost to Princeton and Cornell, but toppling Brown on the road warrants some respect. They finish out the regular season with Bryant and Harvard at home.
14. Towson (5-5). That's four in a row for Tony the Tiger, who is getting fantastic production out of grad student Christian Pastirik. The Cornell transfer had five assists in Saturday's defeat of Drexel. A defeat of Penn State on Saturday hands home field in the CAA tournament to Towson.
15. Hofstra (7-4). The newfangled CAA --- with Massachusetts and Penn State --- does not sit well with the Pride, who have lost to both teams. They get Jacksonville on Saturday.
16. Johns Hopkins (5-6). The record says the Hop isn't good. The eyeballs say the Blue Jays are still capable after hanging with Maryland much of the night before falling 10-9. Hopkins might not be able to afford another loss, but it certainly would be a contender for an NCAA berth if it gets to .500.
17. Denver (9-4). Bill Tierney's first year in the Mile High City has gone much better than his debut at Princeton (2-13). But that worked out in the long run.
18. Fairfield (8-3). The Stags' longshot hopes of claiming the ECAC pin on beating Denver this weekend, then getting a whole lot of help. Fairfield was fortunate to escape Air Force with a 4-3 victory.
19. Army (6-5). The best the Patriot League has to offer this season --- though that's not saying much. The Black Knights will lock up home field in the PL tournament if they win at Lafayette tomorrow.
20. Notre Dame (6-5). The Irish did beat Duke and Loyola. That could easily count for something even if they split their final two games.