In non-conference play this season, the Big Ten dominated their playing efforts, going 128-27 for an 82.58 winning percentage to begin the year. Three teams from the conference alone escaped the grueling preseason session without a loss – Penn State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Pac-12 followed right behind with a 105-23 non-conference record and an 82.03 winning percentage.
Of the power five conferences – Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12, SEC and ACC – four of them claimed the top winning spots for the preseason. The ACC came in a #6 in non-conference winning percentage with a 90-66 record, winning 57.69% of their matches. Taking over the #5 place is the Colonial conference, which had two teams end the opening weeks of the season with unbeaten records – Towson and James Madison.
Other undefeated teams after non-conference play were Florida out of the SEC, who accumulated a 106-40 record, winning 72.60% of their matches and Miami of the ACC.
The top-15 conferences (in terms of winning percentage in the 2017 non-conference season) all exited with a winning percentage higher than 50%. The other 17 conferences struggled throughout the preseason, accumulating less than 50% winning records.
While this might, at times, seem like an imbalance of power in NCAA volleyball, there are many conferences that offer up strong mid-major programs, such as the Colonial Conference or the Big East, who came in #7 in non-conference play. Out of the Big East is Creighton, who has proved their dominance on the court over the past few seasons, even sneaking into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 2016 before losing to Texas. The West Coast Conference also brings up top-teams in NCAA volleyball, including BYU and San Diego.
Now that the non-conference slate is complete, teams are starting their regular season play, within their conferences, looking to vie for their spot in their conference’s tournament and maybe the NCAA Tournament to end the year.
Want to know how your favorite team finished non-conference play? Click here.