NCAA Power Rankings: Duke, Loyola Lead; ‘Cuse and Denver in Hunt

See where your favorite teams stand heading into the postseason:

1) Duke (12-2)—The Blue Devils will take on Syracuse for the third time in less than a year. Wonder how these new rivals will treat each other going forward. Brendan Fowler could be in for a fight as Frank Daddio and the Orange faceoff unit have played at a high level since the ‘Syracuse Slaughter’ a month ago.

2) Loyola (12-1)—Another tilt with Colgate as the Greyhounds start their first Patriot League tournament. They cannot look too far ahead as they will host Johns Hopkins in their final game of the regular season.

3) Denver (11-2)—It seems like forever since we last heard of Denver. For a top-five team, they have flown under the radar for most of the season. They are a probable lock to make the big dance, but the Big East Tournament will not be easy to claim the automatic quarterfiler. Curious to see if any defense can stop them come tournament time.

4) Syracuse (9-3)—The Hobart-Syracuse game has been one of the more underrated rivalry games in lacrosse. It has been a lot closer in recent times, especially after last year’s shocking upset. The Orange made sure there was no sequel by handing their upstate rivals a 15-9 defeat. Now they turn their attention to a rematch with Duke. I wonder if John Desko is still angry about those two losses to John Danowski’s squad.

5) Johns Hopkins (10-3)—The Blue Jays will enjoy a bye week knowing that a return to the NCAA Tournament is probably going to happen. They had a close call against Navy before their offense bounced back against Villanova. John’s Hopkins will have plenty of time to prepare for their season finale against Loyola.

6) North Carolina (10-3)—UNC is likely heading for the postseason with three quality wins. A fourth this weekend could cement them a home game. How much do you think Joe Breschi is thinking of the chance to pop Virginia’s bubble chances on Saturday?

7) Maryland (10-2)—The Terps survived a fourth quarter push from Notre Dame to claim the win, but now must prepare for Kevin Corrigan’s adjustments. If the Fighting Irish can slowdown Maryland’s offense, then the Terps could be in trouble.

8) Penn (8-3)—Five straight wins for the Quakers. The latest at the hands of the Towson Tigers on their senior day. They are destined for the Ivy League Tournament, but their defense will get a good test against Kieran McArdle and the St. John’s offense.

9) Notre Dame (6-5)—Tough loss for the Fighting Irish, especially after they battled back to tie it. But they ran out of gas as Maryland went on a four goal run to end the game. Now the difficult task awaits Notre Dame. In order to avoid a do-or-die game against Army, the Irish must find a way to defeat Maryland and earn that extra win that could propel them into the NCAA Tournament.

10) Virginia (9-5)—All the Cavs can do is try to beat UNC this weekend and hope the Selection Committee is kind to them.

11) Hofstra (10-3)—It was not easy, but the Pride won their first game at Garber Field since 2002. Mike Malave now has 13 goals in his last four games. Saturday at Penn State still has importance for Hofstra’s at-large chances should they fail to win the CAA. They will play the winner of UMass/Delaware next Wednesday.

12) Cornell (10-3)—A 14-9 win over Brown snapped their three-game losing streak. Dan Litner now has 41 goals and 45 points to lead the team. Important game this weekend against Princeton to ensure homefield for the tournament.

13) Yale (9-3)—Good win against in-state rival Quinnipiac. Brandon Mangan had six points while Yale outshot their opponent 45-24. Harvard this weekend could provide a resume building win should the Bulldogs need to sneak in to the NCAA.

14) Army (9-3)—The Black Knights take on Lehigh this Friday in the Patriot League semifinals. Pat Hart and Sam Somers will be tested by Lehigh’s potent scorers. Army will be one of the team’s discussed for an at-large, but their weak schedule and RPI could cost them unless they can win the conference or Notre Dame to end the season.

15) Bryant (11-4)—The Bulldogs fell to Brown on three days rest on Tuesday. An at-large bid is unknown but probably not in the cards, so the NEC Tournament is the way to go.

16) Drexel (9-4)—Convincing win over Towson to wrap up their CAA slate with a 4-1 record. The Dragons travel to High Point on Friday to wrap up the regular season.

17) Fairfield (10-3)—Andy Copelan’s squad is playing for homefield advantage against Ohio State this weekend. The winner might get the field advantage, but the loser will have the advantage of making adjustments for the follow-up meeting in the ECAC semifinals.

18) Lehigh (12-4)—It is do or die week for the Mountainhawks. After handling Navy on Tuesday, Lehigh must face a rested Army team at West Point. Dan Taylor (63 points) and Reid Weber (40 points) will be targeted by the Black Knights defense. Patrick Corbett (28 goals, 31 points) and Kurtis Kaunas (17 goals, 24 points) need to help take pressure off their teammates.

19) Harvard (8-5)—How long have we waited for Harvard to finally reach this level? After numerous top recruiting classes, the Crimson have finally put everything together for a good season. After taking down Princeton, they will travel to Yale this week before the Ivy League Tournament.

20) Albany (8-5)—Nineteen points from the Thompson Trio in a 19-11 win over Siena. Coach Scott Marr believes his team is heating up at the right time. If goaltender Blaze Riorden and the defense can make some extra stops, the offense will benefit (and likely be rewarded) from the extra possessions.