John Tillman’s weekly conference call was going well Tuesday morning until Kevin Dunleavy of The Washington Examiner asked a seemingly innocuous question.
How did the Maryland coach feel about the Terps leapfrogging Loyola to move to the top of the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll?
“I didn’t even know,” Tillman replied. “Are we ranked No. 1? I seriously have no idea. How are we No. 1? We just lost to this team in the national championship, and they won over the weekend. I guess I’ve got to talk to the guys about that. I didn’t even know that. I don’t even look at that stuff.
"Obviously, that’s something that we’ll remind the guys that you are as good as you are that day, and I don’t think anybody remembers who was ranked No. 1 in the country the second week of February . I seem to remember Loyola not even being ranked going into 2012 and they were the national champions. So I think preseason polls and early season polls are what they are. If you start looking at the polls, you start forgetting about what can help you win games, which is your preparation, your attention to detail, watching your film, practicing hard, working on your shooting and fundamentals. If we’re worried about polls and letting that dictate our mindset, we’re not going to be a very good team.”
Maryland is 2-0 and has looked dominant in routs of Mount St. Mary’s and Hartford by a combined score of 39-10. But as Tillman pointed out, the reigning national champion Greyhounds -- who are ranked No. 1 by The Baltimore Sun and in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll -- are also undefeated after edging Delaware, 9-8, last Saturday.
The dispute will be decided Saturday when the No. 3 Terps (according to The Sun) visit Loyola. It will be the first regular-season meeting since 1989, and Tillman said the university is open to perhaps resuming the series on an annual basis.
“It’s certainly something we’ll look at,” he said. “The hardest thing right now is with the conference transition and not knowing what’s going to happen next year and beyond, trying to figure out if we need to put Notre Dame on the schedule next year, where do we put them in if they do come in. So it’s something we would seriously look at in the future. Having what happened last year and both teams being where they are this year, I think there’s a lot of interest in the game, especially within this state and even nationally.”