Commentary

Loss can't drop Virginia from top

Updated: April 13, 2009, 2:21 PM ET
By Quint Kessenich | ESPN.com

Quint's Power Rankings

1. Virginia Virginia
Record: 12-1
Previous ranking: 1
The Cavaliers were upset by Duke on Saturday in Durham in front of a capacity crowd and a national television audience. Virginia's Danny Glading was the lone bright spot for the Wahoos. The offense shot 10-for-43 with Shamel Bratton going 0-for-7. The Cavs lack offensive flow in their half-field sets right now, relying on isolations. I've seen them in person for three straight weeks and haven't seen many multiple-pass goals. Duke riddled their defense with sharp ball movement and well orchestrated sets -- specifically from a 1-4-1 with Ned Crotty up top and with Crotty behind running off a big/little pick from behind. The loss may be the best thing to happen to this Virginia team -- expect improvement in their next game, against Dartmouth on Saturday. Based on the full body of their work, the Cavs still deserve the No. 1 spot, in my opinion.

2. Princeton Princeton
Record: 10-1
Previous ranking:2
The Tigers picked up two wins this week -- on Tuesday, they survived a scare from Penn, winning 10-9 in overtime, and then beat Harvard, 10-9, on Saturday. Chris McBride scored three times, and Tommy Davis tallied four points in the win. Teams are starting to put the short sticks on Chris McBride and double-poling the first midfield line. Princeton now has wins over Johns Hopkins, UMBC, Harvard, Albany and Syracuse. The Tigers travel to Cornell on Saturday for a huge Ivy League game.

3. Syracuse Syracuse
Record: 9-2
Previous ranking: 3
The Orange won two games last week against Cornell and Rutgers. They shut out Rutgers in the first half. They have quality wins over Hopkins, Loyola and Cornell. SU faces Albany this weekend.

4. Notre Dame Notre Dame
Record: 10-0
Previous ranking: 6
The Fighting Irish are the lone unbeaten team in Division I lacrosse. They beat Denver 10-8 on Saturday at Invesco Field, scoring the game's final two goals. Duncan Swezey had the hat trick, and goalie Scott Rogers made 15 saves in the win. Notre Dame's best wins are against Loyola and North Carolina. Its strength of schedule is well below that of teams such as Hopkins, Duke, Syracuse, Princeton and UMBC.

5. Hofstra Hofstra
Record: 9-1
Previous ranking: 5
The Pride have won five one-goal games this spring, the latest a come-from-behind victory at Towson on Saturday. Ryan Carter scored the game winner with 3.2 seconds left in regulation. Hofstra trailed by three goals with 8:33 remaining. Long Island's finest have wins over UMass, Brown and Princeton. Hofstra hosts North Carolina on Saturday in a critical contest.

6. Cornell Cornell
Record: 8-2
Previous ranking: 4
The Big Red have losses to Virginia and Syracuse. Their best wins came against Duke and Harvard. John Glynn recorded a game-high five goals in Saturday's win over Dartmouth.

7. Duke Duke
Record: 9-3
Last week: 10
The Blue Devils have won seven of their past eight games -- the latest a 15-10 upset of previously undefeated Virginia. It was Duke's sixth straight win in the series and puts Duke back in the picture as a national title contender. Ned Crotty had two goals and six assists, Max Quinzani scored four times, and Justin Turri netted a hat trick for Duke. The Blue Devils scored on 5 of 7 third-quarter shots. Duke has stellar wins over Colgate, Loyola, North Carolina and Virginia -- those are better wins than Notre Dame's.

8. UMBC UMBC
Record: 9-2
Previous ranking: 7
UMBC has won six straight games, the latest against league rival Albany, 15-7, on Saturday. Peet Poillon scored four goals, and Alex Hopmann chipped in with three points. UMBC's first midfield is the nation's most productive group. The Retrievers have wins over Albany, Maryland, Ohio State and Colgate. They finish their regular season at Hartford and against Vermont.

9. UMass UMass
Record: 7-3
Previous ranking: 9
The Minutemen found a way to win at Hobart, prevailing 7-6 in overtime. Jim Connolly scored the difference-maker, and goalie Doc Schneider made 21 saves. UMass was outshot 40-28. UMass has wins over Harvard and Loyola. They are unbeaten in the ECAC but have a challenging portion of their schedule on deck with games against Georgetown, Fairfield, Syracuse and Rutgers.

10. North Carolina UNC
Record: 9-4
Previous ranking: 11
UNC topped Ohio State 12-11 and has been involved in four straight nail-biters. Billy Bitter continued his hot streak, scoring four goals and adding one assist. The Tar Heels have beaten Navy, Colgate and Johns Hopkins.

11. Johns Hopkins JHU
Record: 5-4
Previous ranking: 12
The Blue Jays took down Maryland 10-9 on Saturday in the Day of Rivals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Coach Dave Pietramala has never lost a game at Hopkins to Navy, Mount St. Mary's, Towson or Loyola, the Jays' four remaining games.

12. Navy Navy
Record: 9-3
Previous ranking: 13
The Mids have turned up the heat on defense in the past two weeks, holding both Maryland and Army to four goals. Tommy Phelan has been a huge upgrade between the pipes. Navy has won seven of its past eight games and finishes its regular season at Hopkins on Saturday.

13. Loyola Loyola (Md.)
Record: 7-4
Previous ranking: 16
The Greyhounds won a key game Saturday against Georgetown, sending the Hoyas packing for the summer and staying alive for the ECAC title and an NCAA bid in the process. The way I see it, Loyola has two ways to make the NCAA tournament: win out in the ECAC and hope that UMass loses, or beat Johns Hopkins in the season finale. Otherwise, Loyola may be left out of the Big Dance.

14. Maryland Maryland
Record: 6-5
Previous ranking: 15
The Terps lost another heartbreaker this week to Johns Hopkins. Maryland has wins over Duke and North Carolina but may need to win a game in the ACC tournament to gain entrance into the NCAA field of 16.

15. Colgate Colgate
Record: 9-3
Previous ranking: 17
The Raiders have won eight straight, the most significant over Navy on March 21. I don't see Colgate as an NCAA qualifier unless it wins the Patriot League automatic bid or beats Syracuse in the season finale May 2.

16. Brown
Brown
Record: 9-2
Previous ranking: 8
The Bears fell to Penn by a goal this week. Brown has a woeful strength of schedule, and its only win of merit is against UMass. The Bears have four games left against Harvard, Providence, Cornell and Princeton. I get the sense that they'll have to win three of four to make the NCAA tournament.

17. Harvard Harvard
Record: 5-4
Previous ranking: 14
The Crimson have become the tough-luck team of 2009, losing one-goal games to Cornell, Georgetown and Princeton. If Harvard is to make the NCAA tournament, it must win out against Brown, Holy Cross, Yale and Dartmouth and hope teams such as Hofstra and UMBC win their automatic bids. The Crimson are clinging to a win over Duke as playoff ammunition.

18. Georgetown Georgetown
Record: 5-6
Previous ranking: 18
The Hoyas are the nation's most disappointing team in 2009. If you're a Loyola fan, you'll be rooting for Georgetown at UMass this Saturday. The Hoyas have three games left in the ECAC (UMass, Rutgers and Penn State). If they sweep and win out, they'll be 8-6 with wins over UMass, Maryland and Harvard.

19. Ohio State OSU
Record: 6-5
Previous ranking: Not ranked
The Buckeyes must capture some magic in the GWLL playoffs if they want to return to the NCAA tournament. They lost to North Carolina this week by a goal. Joel Dalgarno had five goals and two assists.

20. Albany Albany
Record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 20
The Great Danes got dusted at UMBC, 15-7. They'll have to beat the Retrievers in the America East tournament to gain entry into the postseason.

Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for ESPN. He can be reached at quint@insidelacrosse.com.

Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for ESPN.