Brown Gets Top Ivy Seed, Now No. 5 in Nike/USA Lacrosse D-I Men's Top 20

PHOTO COURTESY OF BROWN ATHLETICS

Connor Theriault and Brown earned the top seed in the Ivy League tournament.


There isn’t a better time to double-check the preseason rankings work than right now.

In another week, everyone will be dissecting NCAA tournament matchups. And by the time May is over, one team will have a forever moment and just about everything else will be immaterial.

One way to do the comparison is to euphemistically declare who “exceeded” and “fell short” of expectations. But a more honest approach is to point out who was evaluated incorrectly from the jump.

In complete fairness, it was close-to-impossible to accurately assess the Ivy League after its teams largely sat out in 2021. And sure enough, the Ivies account for more than their share of surprises in comparing how things stand entering May than the start of the year.

With that in mind, here’s what went right and wrong in the preseason forecast.

Pegged correctly as top-10 teams: Virginia (No. 1), Maryland (No. 2), Georgetown (No. 4), Notre Dame (No. 5), Yale (No. 8), Rutgers (No. 10)

Six out of 10 isn’t bad. And this week’s top four were all in the USA Lacrosse top 20 back when it was released two days after Christmas.

Pegged correctly as top-20 teams: Duke (No. 3), North Carolina (No. 6), Penn (No. 9), Denver (No. 12), Army (No. 13), Cornell (No. 18)

There is still time for Duke and Penn to wind up in the top 10, and it wouldn’t be unthinkable for Loyola (preseason No. 7) and Vermont (No. 19) to land in the final rankings if they win their respective conference tournaments this weekend.

Five highest ranked teams entering May that were unranked in the preseason: Brown, Jacksonville, Ohio State, Princeton, Harvard

Brown would have been a difficult team to have in the top 20 a month ago. Five consecutive victories later, the Bears could be argued as a top-five team.

Jacksonville was the virtually out-of-nowhere team, beating Duke and Denver on the road in February and not slipping up the last eight weeks. Ohio State collected a batch of solid victories (Harvard, North Carolina and Notre Dame). Princeton probably still owns the best victory on the board (at Georgetown). And Harvard showed a lot of promise, even if Saturday’s overtime loss to Yale could cost it a postseason berth.

Five highest ranked teams in the preseason that are now unranked: Loyola (No. 7), Lehigh (No. 11), Syracuse (No. 14), Johns Hopkins (No. 15), Delaware (No. 16)

Those top three teams all reached the NCAA tournament last year, which illustrates the recency bias that goes into preseason rankings. For all its multi-year defensive limitations, Syracuse going 4-10 wasn’t on anyone’s radar a few months back. Hopkins has been up and down, and a rigorous schedule meant it was punished when it had an off night. Delaware isn’t too far away; it is the top seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament this week.

NIKE/USA LACROSSE
DIVISION I MEN’S TOP 20

 
May 2, 2022

W/L

Prev

Next

1

Maryland

12-0

1

5/5 vs. Johns Hopkins winner (Big Ten semifinal)

2

Georgetown

13-1

2

5/5 vs. Marquette (Big East semis)

3

Rutgers

12-2

3

5/5 vs. No. 8 Ohio State (Big Ten semifinal)

4

Virginia

11-3

4

Regular season complete

5

Brown

10-4

10

5/6 vs. No. 12 Penn (Ivy League semifinal)

6

Yale

10-3

7

5/6 vs. No. 10 Cornell (Ivy League semifinal)

7

Jacksonville

13-2

6

5/5 vs. VMI (SoCon semifinal)

8

Ohio State

10-4

8

5/5 vs. No. 3 Rutgers (Big Ten semifinal)

Notre Dame

7-4

9

5/7 vs. No. 13 Duke

10

Cornell

11-3

14

5/6 vs. No. 6 Yale (Ivy League semifinal)

11

Princeton

9-4

5

Regular season complete

12

Penn

8-4

11

5/6 at No. 5 Brown (Ivy League semifinal)

13

Duke

11-5

12

5/7 at No. 9 Notre Dame

14

Denver

9-5

13

5/5 vs. Villanova (Big East semifinal)

15

Army

11-3

16

5/6 vs. Loyola/Lehigh/Navy (Patriot League semifinal)

16

Harvard

8-4

15

Regular season complete

17

North Carolina

8-6

17

Regular season complete

18

Richmond

9-4

18

5/5 at High Point (SoCon semifinal)

19

Boston U

10-4

19

5/6 vs. Lehigh/Navy/Bucknell (Patriot League semifinal)

20

Saint Joseph's

12-3

20

5/5 vs. LIU (Northeasth semifinal)

Also considered (alphabetical order): Delaware (9-5), Loyola (7-7), Massachusetts (8-5), Navy (9-5), Utah (9-3), Vermont (9-6), Villanova (8-5)





z
Nike/USA Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women

HOT

Brown (+5)

The Bears landed the top seed and hosting rights in the Ivy League tournament after blasting Dartmouth and getting help from elsewhere on Saturday. Brown has won five in a row since a 17-9 loss to Princeton, with an average victory margin of six goals in that stretch.

Mike Daly’s team has clearly made strides over the last month, and it’s the potent version of Brown that handled Penn, Yale and Cornell before dispatching Bryant and Dartmouth last week that receives another jump in this week’s rankings.

Cornell (+4)

The Big Red might be the toughest team to figure out among contenders for a spot in the top 20. They struggled in back-to-back home games against Army and Brown, only to build an eight-goal lead at Princeton, nearly fritter it all away and then control the final 10 minutes to claim an 18-15 victory.

That might be the most valuable victory of the weekend. Lose, and Cornell’s profile takes another hit and it misses the Ivy League tournament. Now, it has a high-profile victory, the chance for one or two more and is all but assured of playing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

NOT

Princeton (-6)

Make no mistake, the Tigers received some grace in the rankings process when it lost to Harvard on April 23. After all, it had that early March triumph at Georgetown to fall back on. But Saturday’s 18-15 loss to Cornell means the Princeton defense has a lot of work to do after giving up 37 goals over its last two games.

The Tigers are going to be in the NCAA tournament field thanks to a mighty impressive set of victories (Georgetown, Brown, Rutgers, Penn) even without an Ivy League tournament berth. It might actually help to have time to tinker in practice without a game or two this weekend. Some defensive tightening will be necessary for the Tigers to make more than a cameo appearance in the postseason.

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