The NCAA rankings right now list the top five as Notre Dame, Maryland, Cornell, Denver and Loyola. Right behind them is Bucknell, a team that was 16th last week. Syracuse is ninth and Massachusetts is unranked at 5-5. Some of these are surprises and some are not, but we have plenty of them.
Two teams have stuck out this season so far; Bellarmine and Bucknell. Bucknell is in 6th place. That ranks ahead of Syracuse, North Carolina, Princeton and Johns Hopkins. Pretty impressive. They have defeated teams like UMass, Navy and Albany, But at the same time, they have been blown out by Penn State and they lost to Cornell. For this schedule to have Bucknell ranked sixth is good for them.
Bellarmine meanwhile is not ranked but sit at 7-2 on the season and third in the ECAC behind Loyola and Denver. They’ve defeated Robert Morris, Detroit, Air Force and Fairfield and lost to Loyola by just two goals.
Lehigh is a team that won’t make the tournament unless they get the AQ by winning the tournament. They were ranked 8th to start the year, so what happened? They are behind Bucknell and have a lower winning percentage than Colgate. They’ve lost to Denver, Air Force, Penn and UMass.
UMass is another team that has struggled. They are 5-5 and next to last in their division. The Minutemen lost their best player in Will Manny for a while which set them back. They’ve lost to North Carolina, Brown, Albany, Bucknell and St. Joseph’s. It doesn’t get any easier with Drexel and Hofstra next. Do they even have a shot at the tournament?
Penn State might be a bit of a surprise this season. They are 6-3, lead the CAA and have won four in a row. They’ve defeated Denver, UMass, Binghampton, St. Joseph’s and Bucknell. They could be a sleeper to watch in the tournament.
The Brown Bears have entered the polls this week and sure have looked good. They’re 5-3 and third in the Ivy League but have some nice wins over UMass, Hartford, Harvard and St. Joseph’s.
What to Watch For
Penn State is on fire and now Duke has won five in a row after a very slow start. They are 4-3 at home but 1-2 on the road and tonight they are at Harvard.
Providence, a surprise early on, faces Yale this week in what might be a make it or break it game for the Friars. Albany faces Hopkins on Friday in a chance for them to catch Stony Brook in the America East Conference as well.
Drexel is at Penn State in a battle of division leaders, while Syracuse could use a win at second place Princeton.