One can certainly make a case for Arizona State to be placed outside of the Top 3 in the MCLA. They are 7-3 and have dropped 3 of their last 4 games. One of those losses was to Michigan State, who is now ranked 6th, while the other two losses came at the hands of Michigan and Colorado State. In between losing to CSU and Michigan, ASU beat Colorado handily, 15-5.
Photo pulled from Colleen J. Hayes Photography. Great stuff, Colleen!
Losses are losses and they are coming in bunches for the Sun Devils, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still an extremely talented and dangerous team. And there are such things as good losses. At least at this point in the season there are. After all, when two good teams play, someone does have to lose.
The loss to Colorado State was tight,
11-10 in OT 6-5 in regulation (thanks commenters for the fix!), but it did happen on the road. This seems to justify the #3 ranking to me. They went to the #2 team’s house and lost in overtime. No problems there.
They then went TO Colorado and dominated. Another mark of the #3 team in the country if I’ve ever seen one.
Then they head to Michigan (talk about being willing to play anyone anywhere!) and lose by two to the 3-time defending champs. Again, no reason for them to actually drop in the polls. The #1 team should probably beat the #3 team at home. That’s how you know it’s working.
THE VERY NEXT DAY, they take on a tough and talented Michigan State team who has won and lost tight games against some of the best teams in the country. ASU does this AT Michigan State and they lose by one.
In NCAA D3 Lacrosse, the estimate is that an approximate 3 goal shift occurs when a team plays at home vs on the road. It doesn’t always happen, and there is a large margin for error, but the point is that playing at home helps. It’s why when Middlebury lost to Wesleyan at Wesleyan earlier this year, Midd didn’t drop out of the Top 10 and Wes didn’t enter it. Home field means something. According to Laxpower, HFA means about 1.5 goals in the MCLA. Still impressive. And it further illustrates my point that ASU can still be ranked 3rd.
I can see the argument for Cal Poly deserving to the #3 team in the most recent poll, but they don’t have a Top 10 win, while ASU has two. So I can still see why the Sun Devils are rated so highly. South Carolina is undefeated at 10-0 but haven’t played a single Top 20 team yet. You don’t get to be a top 10 team without quality wins. Or at least quality SOS. Chapman is a compelling case but they only have one Top 10 win, and two Top 10 losses, and one of those was at home. So that’s a toss up. FSU is 14-1 but have zero Top 10 wins and a loss to Texas. Don’t think so. Texas could actually make a better case, but SOS is killing them too. BYU? They lost to both teams from Michigan and it wasn’t as close. So that doesn’t work either.
See my point? You can disagree with ASU being ranked 3rd, but you have to admit, it’s not as simple as just moving them down. Who takes their place?