Towson, Hopkins Rise in Nike/USL D-I Men's Top 20 Ahead of NCAAs

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Towson moves up to No. 7 after sweeping through the CAA tournament and into the NCAA field.


Editor’s Note: This is the last in-season update of the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20. The final rankings will be posted Tuesday, May 28, following the conclusion of the NCAA tournaments.

Penn State wraps up the regular season as the consensus top team in the land.

The Nittany Lions claimed the Big Ten double, winning the regular season and the conference tournament.

They’re the only team in the country with less than three losses after stumbles by High Point and Yale in their respective conference title games.

They’re the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

But the point isn’t to be No. 1 on May 6. It’s to secure that spot in the mid-afternoon on Memorial Day, and that’s the challenge for Penn State --- and 16 other teams --- over the next three weeks.

Nike/US Lacrosse
Division I Men’s Top 20

 
May 6, 2019

W/L

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1 Penn State 14-1 1 5/12 vs. Marist/UMBC
2 Penn 11-3 3 5/11 vs. No. 15 Army
3 Virginia 13-3 6 5/11 vs. Robert Morris
4 Yale 12-3 2 5/11 vs. No. 13 Georgetown
5 Duke 11-4 5 5.12 vs. No. 18 Richmond
6 Loyola 11-4 4 5/11 vs. No. 8 Syracuse
7 Towson 11-4 14 5/12 vs. No. 11 Maryland
8 Syracuse 9-4 10 5/11 at No. 6 Loyola
Johns Hopkins 8-7 15 5/12 at No. 10 Notre Dame
10 Notre Dame 8-6 9 5/12 vs. No. 9 Johns Hopkins
11 Maryland 11-4 7 5/12 at No. 7 Towson
12 Cornell 10-5 8 Season Complete
13 Georgetown 13-4 17 5/11 at No. 4 Yale
14 Denver 10-5 11 Season Complete
15 Army 13-4 18 5/11 at No. 2 Penn
16 Ohio State 8-4 12 Season Complete
17 UMass 10-5 13 Season Complete
18 Richmond 10-6 NR 5/12 at No. 5 Duke
19 High Point 13-3 16 Season Complete
20 North Carolina 8-7 19 Season Complete
Also considered (in alphabetical order): Air Force (10-5), Boston University (11-6), Lehigh (9-8), Princeton (7-7), Villanova (8-7)






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

HOT

Towson (+7)

Call this a bit of a correction for the Tigers, whose RPI rapidly shot up over the last few weeks and helped them land the No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Towson earned its fifth NCAA tournament appearance in the last seven years with a Colonial title run against Delaware and Drexel. That they did it without injured faceoff man Alex Woodall is all the more impressive. With Brendan Sunday keying the attack and Zach Goodrich and Koby Smith anchoring a sound defense, Towson is a team no one will want any part of this month.

Johns Hopkins (+6)

Through the third weekend of April, the Blue Jays looked like a borderline NCAA tournament team --- at best. Then they erased an early deficit to blitz Maryland, dominated the second half against the Terrapins five days later in the Big Ten tournament and then took Penn State to overtime before falling 18-17 in a rollicking, rock-‘em-sock-‘em conference title game.

Coach Dave Pietramala would probably point out his defense gave up 18 goals to the Nittany Lions, but Penn State is going to get its goals. The Hopkins offense has figured things out, and the Blue Jays don’t look like a team simply making a cameo appearance in the postseason.

Georgetown (+4)

The Hoyas needed a second-half rally to get past Providence in the Big East semifinals, then controlled the title game at Denver from start to finish to secure a second NCAA tournament trip in a row. The Hoyas quietly pieced together a solid season (their only losses came against Towson, Marquette, Denver and Loyola), and now coach Kevin Warne has taken another step toward restoring Georgetown to annual contender status.

NOT

Cornell (-4)

The best team to miss the NCAA tournament in 2019 is the Big Red, which was overwhelmed by Yale in the Ivy League semifinals. Cornell lost five games, all to teams in the top 10 of the RPI (Yale twice, plus Penn, Penn State and Syracuse), and it will be a hungry bunch once the 2020 season arrives.

Massachusetts (-4)

It’s hard to say much of anything is a surprise in the Colonial tournament, an event with an established track record of wackiness. But it’s fair to say it was unexpected that Massachusetts’ season ended the way it did, with a 15-12 loss to Drexel in the league semifinals. 

The Minutemen hadn’t allowed more than 12 goals all season, and they’d kept each of their last 10 opponents to 10 or less (going 9-1 in that span). It was an unfortunate end for a team defined by defensive excellence over the last two years.

Maryland (-4)

The Terrapins barely scraped their way into the NCAA tournament, and their defensive woes are out of place for a program that has long prided itself on strength at that end of the field. Maryland has allowed at least a dozen goals in five of its last six games, and now must visit a Towson bunch that dropped 34 goals in two games in the CAA tournament.

Maryland is 14-1 in the first two weekends of the tournament under coach John Tillman, so it is best not to count it out, but a turnaround is required this week in College Park if the Terps are to conjure another run this postseason.

Ohio State (-4)

The Buckeyes didn’t make the Big Ten tournament, and the likes of conference tournament champions Army, Georgetown and Towson and Big Ten runner-up Johns Hopkins all pieced together strong weekends.

IN

Richmond

The Spiders claimed their second consecutive Southern Conference title, avenging regular-season losses to Air Force and High Point to secure the program’s third NCAA tournament appearance. Richmond, which impressed early in the season with a victory over Notre Dame, is one of two SoCon teams to appear in the final regular season top 20.

OUT

Boston University (was No. 20)

The Terriers split with Bucknell and Lehigh in the Patriot League tournament, wrapping up their season at 11-6. They’ve averaged 10.3 victories over the last three seasons, and with attackman Chris Gray back, they’ll likely start next season right around where they ended this one --- right around the top 20.

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