Duke, UNC Trade Places in Nike / US Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20

PHOTO BY JEFFREY A. CAMARATI / UNC ATHLETICS

Chris Gray had three goals and three assists in UNC's 15-12 win over Duke on Sunday.


For one week, anyway, the ACC will largely exit the college lacrosse stage.

The ACC league schedule concluded Sunday when North Carolina handled Duke 15-12 to claim a share of the regular season title. Eight conference tournaments are on tap this week, with 34 teams participating. (That doesn’t include Ohio State and Penn State, both bounced in Saturday’s Big Ten quarterfinals).

Those automatic bids — half of the 16-team NCAA tournament field — will be allocated in a span of a little more than 48 hours starting Friday afternoon. But the top of the field seems pretty set.

Maryland, the last undefeated team playing anything resembling a full schedule, probably won’t tumble out of the top five, even if it loses in the Big Ten tournament. North Carolina, Duke and Notre Dame all possess well-established credentials. And Virginia — owner of victories over North Carolina, Notre Dame and Army — isn’t going to plummet after another open date.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division I Men’s Top 20

 
May 3, 2021

W/L

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1 Maryland 10-0 1 5/6 vs. Michigan (Big Ten semifinal)
2 North Carolina 11-2 3 TBD
3 Duke 12-2 2 TBD
4 Notre Dame 7-3 4 TBD
5 Rutgers 8-2 6 5/6 vs. Johns Hopkins (Big Ten semifinal)
6 Virginia 10-4 7 TBD
7 Denver 11-3 8 5/6 at Providence (Big East semifinal)
8 Lehigh 9-1 5 5/7 vs. Boston U./Colgate (Patriot League semifinal)
Army 7-3 10 5/7 vs. No. 12 Navy/No. 6 Loyola (Patriot League semifinal)
10 Georgetown 10-2 9 5/6 vs. No. 13 Villanova (Big East semifinal)
11 Delaware 10-2 12 5/6 at Hofstra (CAA semifinal)
12 Navy 6-2 13 5/4 at No. 16 Loyola (Patriot quarterfinal)
13 Villanova 7-4 18 5/6 vs. No. 10 Georgetown (Big East semifinal)
14 Drexel 8-2 14 5/6 vs. UMass (CAA semifinal)
15 Syracuse 6-5 11 5/7 vs. Robert Morris
16 Loyola 7-5 20 5/4 vs. No. 12 Navy (Patriot League quarterfinal)
17 UMBC 8-2 16 5/6 vs. Albany (America East semifinal)
18 Saint Joseph's 8-3 NR 5/5 vs. Long Island U. (Northeast semifinal)
19 Vermont 7-4 NR 5/6 vs. No. 20 Stony Brook (America East semifinal)
20 Stony Brook 8-5 17 5/6 vs. No. 19 Vermont (America East semifinal)
Also considered (alphabetical order): Albany (7-4), Brown (1-0), Bryant (7-3), Hofstra (7-5), Penn (1-0), Richmond (6-5), Robert Morris (7-5)






Nike/US Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women

HOT

Villanova (+5)

Even if it wasn’t perfect, it was still arguably the most impressive week of the season for the Wildcats. They nearly upended Denver in a Wednesday makeup game before falling 11-10 in overtime, then they took it to Lehigh 16-8 on Saturday in the regular-season finale.

Toss in blowouts of St. John’s (23-8) and Marquette (19-8) the previous two Saturdays, and Villanova is playing well heading into the Big East tournament. With four 20-goal scorers, including Matt Campbell (32 goals, eight assists) and Keegan Khan (21 goals, 32 assists), it presents a balanced offense.

The Wildcats get a third crack at Georgetown, which won a lopsided season opener (16-1) at Villanova before surviving 8-7 in the return game in Washington in late March.

Loyola (+4)

The Greyhounds finally stitched together a complete performance against a quality opponent and took down Georgetown 11-9 on Thursday night, as Kevin Lindley scored three goals and Peter Swindell added two goals and two assists. Perhaps more impressive was doing it without Evan James (23 goals, nine assists), one of Loyola’s more versatile offensive pieces.

Charley Toomey’s bunch will look for its first three-game winning streak of the season with Navy returning to Baltimore for the teams’ third meeting since the start of April. Win, and the Greyhounds will meet Army in the Patriot League semifinals on Friday.

NOT

Syracuse (-4)

That’s just about enough. Yes, the Orange’s sweep of Virginia gives it better victories than several teams it sits behind this week. But at some point, being remotely competitive matters on a regular basis, too.

Syracuse has lost a pair of seven-goal games (Army and Notre Dame at home) and a 12-goal game (North Carolina at home). The Orange switched things up a bit Saturday, getting blown out 22-8 on the road in a rematch with Notre Dame. It’s probably safe to say the Irish aren’t a great matchup for this edition of Syracuse.

John Desko’s team has four losses by at least seven goals. The rest of this week’s top 15 has combined for seven such losses (Denver at North Carolina; Drexel at home against Delaware; Lehigh at Villanova; Rutgers at Maryland; Villanova at Denver and at home against Georgetown; Virginia at Syracuse).

Lehigh (-3)

Speaking of teams that struggled mightily on the road Saturday, the Mountain Hawks committed 24 turnovers in their 16-8 loss at Villanova. If there’s a proven way to waste a significant faceoff advantage (21-5), sloppy play on offense and a ghastly 8-for-15 clearing day will do it.

Lehigh still beat Army, Loyola and Navy over the course of Patriot League play — all on its home field. It can only see one of them in this week’s conference tournament (also on its home field), since the Black Knights, Greyhounds and Midshipmen are all on the other half of the bracket.

Stony Brook (-3)

The Seawolves closed the regular season with matching 14-13 losses to UMBC and Vermont, slipping to the No. 3 seed in the America East tournament. They’ll face Vermont for the second time in six days in Thursday’s semifinals.

Stony Brook is 0-4 against the rest of this week’s top 20 and 8-1 against everyone else. That includes victories over Albany and Bryant and a loss at Hofstra early in the season. Saying the Seawolves are a borderline top-20 team at this stage isn’t an insult; based on the results, it’s accurate.

IN

Saint Joseph’s (No. 18)

The Northeast Conference regular-season champions ran their winning streak to eight by doubling up Wagner 14-7 on Friday. The Hawks have been one of the NEC’s best programs since arriving in the league in 2014, but they have yet to reach the NCAA tournament. Perhaps that changes this week. Long Island University visits Hawk Hill on Wednesday, with Bryant and Hobart meeting in the other semifinal.

Vermont (No. 19)

The Catamounts faced a harrowing week with fellow America East contenders Albany and Stony Brook visiting the Green Mountain State. Lose both, and Vermont risked missing the league tournament altogether. Instead, Chris Feifs’ bunch pulled off a sweep thanks to Liam Limoges’ behind-the-back buzzer beater to knock off Stony Brook 14-13 on Saturday. They get a rematch with the Seawolves in Thursday’s conference semifinals.

OUT

Richmond (was No. 16)

The Spiders (6-5) weren’t seriously threatened in their first five Southern Conference games, but they wound up on the wrong end of one of the weekend’s surprising results: A 9-8 loss at home to Air Force. The teams will meet again Wednesday as the one-bid league’s tournament gets under way on Richmond’s home field.

Albany (was No. 19)

The Great Danes slip out of the top 20 after a 16-14 loss at Vermont, their second against the Catamounts (the America East’s No. 2 seed) this season. They also dropped a six-goal decision to No. 3 seed Stony Brook back in March. But the top seed, UMBC? The Dane Train surged past the Retrievers 14-9 on April 11. They’ll meet for the second time this season on Thursday, only this time at UMBC Stadium.

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