Denver captured its first NCAA championship Monday in its first appearance in the tournament final, adding to Maryland's 41-year drought without a national title. As fresh as that game was, some of us can't wait to see how the 2016 campaign will unfold. So, here is a very premature attempt to compile preseason rankings for next year.
The top 20 will be broken up into four installments, with Tuesday's post involving teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Wednesday will feature Nos. 15 to 11, Thursday Nos. 10 to 6 and Friday Nos. 5 to 1.
Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2015 will not return next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here's a spin anyway.
Returns: Eight starters, including the entire midfield of sophomores Brian Sherlock (29 G, 19 A) and Romar Dennis (17 G, 13 A) and junior Tyler Albrecht (23 G, 5 A).
Reason for pessimism: The onus is on sophomore attackman Zack Sirico (11 G, 18 A) to become the quarterback the program hopes he will be.
Reason for optimism: The graduation of Frazier hurts, but the return of senior defenseman David Manning from a torn meniscus should help fill the void.
19. Albany (16-3; quarterfinals)
Losses: Four starters, including two-time Tewaaraton Award winner and NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer attackman Lyle Thompson (52 G, 69 A), and two of three starting midfielders in Tim Cox (17 G, 8 A) and Matt Garziano (12 G, 7 A).
Returns: Six starters, including much of the defense that includes junior goalkeeper Blaze Riorden (9.93 goals-against average and .560 save percentage), freshman defenseman Stone Sims (30 GB, 13 CT) and sophomore defenseman James Burdette (18 GB, 12 CT).
Reason for pessimism: For the first time in three years, the Great Danes must find an offensive leader not named Lyle Thompson.
Reason for optimism: The cupboard isn't completely bare courtesy of freshman attackman Connor Fields (66 G, 22 A) and redshirt sophomore attackman Seth Oakes (54 G, 12 A).
18. Stony Brook (13-5; no tournament)
Losses: Two starters, including the school's all-time leader in assists and points, attackman Mike Rooney (48 G, 63 A).
Returns: Five starters, including sophomore defenseman Marshall Peters (58 GB, 23 CT) and sophomore goalkeeper Christian Knight (9.96 goals-against average and .480 save percentage).
Reason for pessimism: The offense graduated its top four scorers in Donovan, Buczek, midfielder John Hogan (19 G, 21 A) and attackman Dan Lintner (30 G, 2 A).
Reason for optimism: If the Big Red can replenish its offense, that unit should get plenty of chances from sophomore faceoff specialist Domenic Massimilian, who ranked seventh in the country in faceoff percentage (65.4 on 249-of-381) and third in ground balls (150).
16. Navy (9-5; no tournament)
Losses: Two starters in midfielder Gabe Voumard (16 G, 6 A) and defenseman Ryan Everson (22 GB, 4 CT).