Tufts is unanimous men's No. 1
The NCAA championship finals brought the 2019 season to a close on Saturday. After over 4,000 men's matches, including conference tournaments and the ECAC and NCAA tournaments, it was time for our panel of voters to evaluate the men's teams one last time and submit their final ballots. Three of the top four ranked teams entering the tournament reached the Final Four and two of them met in the final, so there's no surprise with the top few spots. But the rest of the rankings were completely up for grabs with tournament results—thirteen ranked teams were eliminated the first weekend, six by unranked opponents—leading to a much bigger re-shuffle than seen week-to-week during the regular season.
Tufts (20-2-2), who entered the tournament ranked No. 2, is a unanimous selection for the top spot in the final 2019 men's ranking after claiming back-to-back national titles and their fourth in six years. NCAA runner-up Amherst (19-2-2), who were ranked No. 1 or 2 all season except for Week 11, is also our runner-up. Calvin (23-2-1) entered the tournament as the top-ranked team and place third after reaching the semifinals. Centre (20-4-1), the surprise of the tournament with their Final Four run on the road, catapulted from No. 21 to No. 4.
Four previously unranked teams benefitted from their tournament runs; none more than No. 10 Montclair State (18-5-2) who dropped out of the rankings after Week 3 but came within minutes of advancing to the Final Four. Luther (17-5-3), ranked just once during the season but always on the radar, is rewarded for their Elite 8 finish with the No. 16 spot. Swarthmore (11-4-5), left out of the Centennial playoffs, garner their first—and only—ranking of the season after two penalty kick shootouts triumphs put them into the Sweet 16. Rowan (12-6-4), with more losses than any other ranked team, returns to the Top 25 having survived a first round upset scare before an overtime win over ranked Mary Washington put them in the Sweet 16.
Another big climber is No. 8 Connecticut (13-4-3) who cracks the Top 10 from No. 17 on the strength of three tournament wins before a quarterfinal loss to the eventual champion. North Park (16-5-2) moves up eight places to No. 17, having nearly eliminated then-No. 1 Calvin in their Sweet 16 tussle. Moving in the opposite direction, Oneonta State (18-3-0) falls eleven places from No. 7 to No. 18 after being soundly defeated at home, 4-1, in the second round by Messiah. Roanoke (14-2-4) dropped ten notches to the final spot in the rankings after being eliminated on penalty kicks in round one by Swarthmore. Mary Washington (14-4-4), on the losing end of a back-and-forth overtime battle with Rowan to advance to the second weekend, slips nine slots to No. 22.
Previously No. 16 Catholic (18-3-1) was not shown any favors by our panel after a tough first round loss to eventual Elite 8 and Top 10 Connecticut College, just missing the cut for the final Top 25. Three other one-and-done tournament teams were shown the door: Penn State-Behrend (19-2-0), Oglethorpe (14-5-0) and Texas-Dallas (17-4-2), the first two the victims of 5-0 whitewashings.
The NESCAC not only is home to the top two teams, but four total in the final rankings, three in the Top 10. The Centennial is the only other conference with more than two representatives; four other conferences have two members in the final Top 25.
|December 11, 2019
Through games of Saturday, December 7, 2019