For the fourth consecutive week, the #1 team in the country lost. Virginia, Notre Dame, and Duke have each taken turns trying to hold onto the top spot. Here is a quick review of the carnage.
- Week 6: No. 1 Virginia falls to No. 4 Maryland in Overtime
- Week 7: No 1 Notre Dame falls to No. 3 Virginia 15-10
- Week 8: No. 1 Virginia falls to No. 4 Duke 16-14.
- Week 9: No. 1 Duke falls to No. 2 Notre Dame 17-12
Working on the media poll for this week, one is left with one question: Who’s #1? Checking in on Discord, Twitter, and the message boards you get various arguments in support of the ACC’s Triumvirate: Virginia, Duke, and Notre Dame. For those non-history buffs, the (First)Triumvirate happened in Ancient Rome with three men holding power: Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus. Caesar eventually came to power on his own overcoming his two foes. You can read more here or check out Rome on HBO Max to learn more. Now back to lacrosse before my editor fires me…
Who is in position to take the role of Caesar and take the top spot before the NCAA tournament begins in May? Here is a breakdown of where the three are between now and when the season ends on April 30th.
|Team||Record vs. RPI Top 5||Record vs. RPI Top 20||Remaining Games|
|Notre Dame||2-1||5-1||North Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina|
|Duke||1-1||5-1||Virginia, Syracuse, Merrimack|
|Virginia||2-2||5-2||Duke, Syracuse, Lafayette, Notre Dame|
Virginia’s schedule sets up the best with the Cavaliers having the ability to earn two more Top 5 wins against both Duke and Notre Dame. The health of Connor Shellenberger will be key. Shellenberger is a dynamic attackman that is a scorer but even more lethal as a distributor. He was limited to three points in Virginia’s two losses to Maryland and Duke. Shellenberger was held out this weekend against North Carolina to heal a lower-body injury. Shellenberger holds the key to Virginia securing the top spot.
Duke and Notre Dame
Duke and Notre Dame each only get one more opportunity at a Top 5 RPI win when they each face Virginia in the coming weeks. The rest of their schedule will not do much to enhance their RPI ranking. A top seed in the NCAA tournament will be vital to avoid the potential of playing your ACC counterpart in the semifinals on Memorial Day weekend.
Tillman Drops the Gloves
Kyle Devitte is one of the sharpest writers and analysts in college lacrosse. I tweeted out my disbelief that John Tillman called for a stick check on Princeton FOGO Tyler Sandoval back in February. At the time, the Terps were up 7-2 in the third quarter on the Tigers. Sure enough, the Sandoval’s stick was illegal, and Maryland would go on to defeat Princeton.
Devitte nailed it. Tillman lost a game (to Loyola) in February. The gloves were off. The gloves came off again on Friday night when the Terps traveled to Columbus to take on Ohio State. Late in the 4th Quarter with the game tied at 11, Tillman brought Ohio State FOGO Matthew Fritz’s gloves to the official’s attention. His gloves were in violation of Rule 1, Section 21 of the NCAA rulebook which states, “All players on a team shall wear gloves of the same dominant official team color unless safety reasons require a different color glove to be worn.”
Twitter and Ohio State head coach Nick Myers exploded. Many had not either heard or ever seen the rule enforced and questioned Tillman’s strategy. Maryland is a Top 5 team and these are the types of calls that one might not expect. Often, it is the underdog that is more than likely going to try to use these tactics. But, I go back to Devitte. The gloves are off. Tillman is the ultimate competitor. Look at him with his tablet on the sideline, he is always trying and searching for an advantage. It’s another coaching point teams will have to consider as they face the Terps this season. Speaking of which, Duke and Notre Dame were in violation this weekend…
Duke: Glove Uniformity
Notre Dame: No altered equipment = No holes in your gloves
Are you not entertained? While the ACC may have the three best teams in D1, the Big Ten is arguably the deepest conference in the country. Johns Hopkins, Maryland, and Penn State are 2-1 in conference play. Michigan, Ohio State, and Rutgers are 1-2. This weekend’s games all went to overtime and saw a team overcome a five-goal deficit during the game. The win probability metrics from Lacrosse Reference were a thing of beauty and not for the faint of heart.
Each of the teams has two regular season conference games remaining before the Big Ten Conference Tournament begins. All six teams qualify for the tournament. The top two seeded teams will receive byes and #3 and #4 will host #6 and #5 respectively at their home venues. The semifinals and championship game will be held this year at Homewood Field. Lacrosse Reference has three Big Ten teams already in the conference: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, and Penn State. Michigan, Ohio State, and Rutgers are going to have to win at least two more games to be in consideration of an at-large spot. No team at this point is counted out and that should make for an entertaining tournament.
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