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Lambert Power Rankings, 10/25/2008

I don't know if Villanova fans follow this blog, or my Lambert Power Rankings, but I can say with certainty that they won't be happy with what the rankings tell us this week.

'Nova fans probably aren't that upset with the Sports Network's Top 25 this week, which has them maintaining their No. 7 ranking this week after falling on a last-second hail-mary play to James Madison this week. (Full disclosure: James Madison was still my No. 1 pick, and I dropped Villanova a couple points in my poll.) Lafayette continued to climb the rankings too (No. 21, up 3 spots), as did Harvard (No. 23, up 2 spots).

Likewise, in the official ECAC Lambert Cup Poll this week, James Madison and Villanova remain squarely at No. 1 and No. 2. As a matter of fact, the only change from this week to last week's poll is that Albany dropped out at No. 10 and was replaced by Maine. (Go figure; they both won last week.)

But in my Lambert Power Rankings, margin of victory does not matter. What counts is that they lost, and as a result Villanova fell behind a logjam of other teams while James Madison increases their stranglehold on the top spot. Here are my LPR rating this week:

1. (1) James Madison (CAA, 7-1, 88.5 points)
2. (2) Richmond (CAA, 6-3, 73 points)
3. (3) New Hampshire (CAA, 6-1, 63 points)
4. (5) Lafayette (Patriot, 6-1, 60 points)
5. (6T) Maine (CAA, 5-3, 58.5 points)
6T. (6T) UMass (CAA, 5-3,
6T. (8) William & Mary (CAA, 5-2, 57.5 points)
8. (NR) Brown (Ivy, 56.5 points)
9. (5) Villanova (CAA, 5-2, 56 points)
10. (9) Colgate (Patriot, 5-2, 54.5 points)

Once again, very interesting that my LPR rankings also dropped Albany out of the No. 10 spot last week (they sit at No. 11 this week), while Brown is the one who leapfrogged into the rankings with a win over Cornell, not Harvard with their win over Princeton.

As for Villanova, I think my LPR ratings were way too harsh on them this week. Had they won, they would have been No. 1 by a few percentage points over James Madison. The silver lining is that if they keep winning, starting this week at Northeastern, they should be right back up into the upper echelon: with six spots separating 4th and 10th, I could see a lot of shakeup before the end of the year.

The GPI this week also saw barely any movement with Eastern schools:

1. (1) James Madison (1.00)
2. (3) Richmond (4.88)
3. (2) Villanova (6.13)
4. (4) New Hampshire (9.38)
5. (5) William & Mary (12.63)
6. (6) UMass (13.38)
7. (7T) Maine (19.13)
8. (9) Lafayette (21.25)
9. (7T) Harvard (22.75)
10 (NR) Liberty (23.13)

Following these ten are two CAA teams with losing records (Delaware and Northeastern), but then comes up some interesting schools: Brown, Holy Cross, Penn and Colgate, and Albany not all that far behind either. Penn plays Brown this week; the winner should show up in the ECAC Lambert Poll next week for sure with a 4-0 Ivy League record.

Here's the GPI of all the Patriot League schools (and the change from last week):

20. Lafayette (21.25) (+6)
40. Holy Cross (35.13) (+6)
42. Colgate (36.63) (+5)
74. Lehigh (56.25) (-10)
79. Fordham (57.63) (-10)
89. Bucknell (65.63) (-4)
104. Georgetown (74.75) (+3)

Of the eight playoff conferences, the Patriot League maintained a slim GPI lead over the OVC, and also maintained a large lead over the MEAC making the Patriot League still the sixth-best autobid conference out of eight. However, both the Ivy League and Big South conferences leapfrogged over the Patriot League's GPI, making the Patriot League No. 9 overall. Less than .60 GPI points separare the Big South, Ivy and Patriot Leagues, while the bloodbath in the OVC last week gave the Patriot League a 1 GPI point breathing room.

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