The final regular season VolleyMob Top 25 is out with the large portion of the season in the books. Still three more polls remain though through the NCAA Tournament, but as we head into the postseason here is what we have.
Some of the poll may be similar to what the NCAA Tournament committee put out for their top 16, while others may be ranked differently. That should make for interesting matchups in the first couple rounds of the tournament as the poll should take on plenty of shifting next week.
1. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 29-1 (19-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #1; Def. at #18 Wisconsin (3-1), at #7 Minnesota (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Howard, *vs. (RV) VCU/(RV) Pittsburgh*
- Penn State didn’t earn the automatic bid for the Big Ten, but they did get a share of the conference title as they earned a pair of four set road wins against ranked competition. Not only do they remain number one in our poll, but they also earned the top seed from the NCAA Tournament, with a meeting against an ‘on the cusp’ team awaiting in the second round.
2. FLORIDA GATORS
- 25-1 (17-1, SEC)
- Last Week: #2; Def. Auburn (3-1), at Missouri (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Alabama State, *vs. Miami (FL)/College of Charleston
- The Gators took care of business in a pair of four setters this week, most impressively at Missouri to close out the season. Beyond closing things out on a high note, they earned a share of the SEC title and the automatic bid – although they would have made the NCAA Tournament as an at-large anyway. Their success earned them the two seed overall as they will face Alabama State before potentially meeting either Miami or a College of Charleston team that earned an at-large behind a big win over Baylor.
3. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 26-3 (19-1, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #3; Def. #16 Utah (3-0), at California (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. CSU Bakersfield, *vs. #25 Michigan/(RV) Colorado State*
- After suffering their lone Pac-12 loss to Washington, Stanford closed the season with five consecutive victories including three sweeps. Two of those came this week over a ranked Utes team and a rival Cal this week, as they now look to defend their National Championship against an automatic qualifier and then a strong second round opponent.
4. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 24-2 (16-0, Big 12)
- Last Week: #4; Def. Oklahoma (3-0), at #9 Baylor (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Fairfield, *vs. (RV) Oregon State/NC State
- The Longhorns finished off their perfect run through the Big 12 as their most difficult challenge – a road match in Waco against second in the Big 12 (Baylor) – came on the final day of their regular season. They chalked it up as another top 10 victory, but it wasn’t enough to earn a top four seed as now they get a pretty solid path until a potential National Championship rematch with Stanford in the Elite Eight.
5. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 26-4 (19-1, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #5; Def. at Northwestern (3-0), vs. Iowa (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Stony Brook, *vs. Florida State/Washington State*
- The Cornhuskers finished off their regular season with 14 consecutive victories as they earned the conference split with Penn State. However, they technically earned the automatic bid as they swept the Nittany Lions in Pennsylvania earlier in the season. It surprisingly wasn’t enough for a top four seed from the NCAA Tournament committee though as the team behind them in our rankings got it. They’ll have the opportunity to down them in the Elite Eight if seeds hold though.
6. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 26-3 (17-1, SEC)
- Last Week: #6; Def. at Arkansas (3-0), at Georgia (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. East Tennessee State, *vs. (RV) Western Kentucky/Notre Dame*
- Since losing at home to Florida, Kentucky has won seven straight matches. Most impressively, the past five have come in three-set sweeps. It’s safe to say the Wildcats are ready for their next challenge as they head into the NCAA Tournament hot and get the opportunity to host through the Elite Eight as they surprisingly earned a top four seed from the committee.
7. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 24-7 (14-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #8; Def. Arizona (3-0), Washington State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. LIU Brooklyn, *vs. (RV) Illinois/Hawaii*
- Washington has won nine consecutive sets to end the Pac-12 season as they accelerated to a tie for second in the conference after overcoming injuries earlier on in the year. Now they look geared up to go as they get to host in the first two rounds and would host beyond that if Penn State were upset. They should have an interesting second round test should they get by LIU Brooklyn.
8. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 26-5 (15-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #7; Def. Rutgers (3-0); Lost vs. #1 Penn State (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. North Dakota, *vs. (RV) Northern Iowa/(RV) Louisville*
- It wasn’t quite the end to the season the Golden Gophers envisioned, as they went from two Big Ten losses in their first 14 matches to suffering three in their final six. Another of those was this week, although it was to #1 Penn State. They’ll get out of Big Ten play though as they start their run toward a potential third straight Final Four with a 30-win North Dakota team then a difficult second round foe.
9. BYU COUGARS
- 28-2 (17-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #9; Def. Loyola Marymount (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. American, *vs. (RV) Oregon/Kennesaw State*
- The Cougars finished off the season with a sweep of Loyola Marymount as they earned a split of the WCC title with San Diego. The win also gives them five straight sweep victories, as they will look to keep rolling in week one of the NCAA Tournament as the 13th overall seed with a pod that shouldn’t be too difficult, but Kentucky looming for a possible Sweet 16 matchup.
10. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 25-6 (16-2, Big East)
- Last Week: #13; Def. vs. Villanova (3-0), vs. (RV) Marquette (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Coastal Carolina, *vs. #15 Michigan State/#24 Missouri State*
- Creighton avenged its most recent loss by sweeping Villanova before downing the other team they fell to in Big East play in five sets over Marquette. That gave the BlueJays the Big East crown for the regular and post-season in an underrated conference this year. While it earned them the ninth overall seed from the committee, they didn’t get any favors as they have the most difficult four team pod.
11. BAYLOR BEARS
- 23-6 (13-3, Big 12)
- Last Week: #9; Lost vs. #4 Texas (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Miami (OH), *vs. #23 Colorado/James Madison*
- Baylor was unable to maintain its constant rise in the rankings and get their second win over a top-10 team in Texas, but they still finish the season a program-best second in the Big 12. That was good enough to earn the 12 seed from the committee – their first ever opportunity to host. Their pod features a couple of solid mid-majors and former Big 12 foe Colorado.
12. USC TROJANS
- 22-9 (14-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #12; Def. at #22 Oregon (3-1); Lost vs. #19 UCLA (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Central Arkansas, *vs. #14 San Diego/LSU
- The Trojans took down a ranked Oregon team (who’s fading a bit) but had a bitter end to the regular season with a sweep at home against inner-city rival UCLA. Still, the Trojans had a fantastic season after starting the year unranked and now look to add to it with success in the NCAA Tournament. San Diego had too low of an RPI to host, but make no mistake that the co-WCC champions could present a difficult matchup for USC.
13. UTAH UTES
- 22-9 (13-7, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #16; Lost at #3 Stanford (0-3); Def. at #21 Colorado (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Cleveland State, *vs. #16 Purdue/High Point*
- The Utes fell on the road to #3 Stanford in straight sets, but they earned redemption on the road against Colorado in Boulder in four sets. That win was enough with others losing around them to move up, as they jump San Diego with similar resumes but a head-to-head win over the Toreros. A potential second round meeting with Purdue, who was a borderline seeded team, should make things interesting for the Utes.
14. SAN DIEGO TOREROS
- 24-4 (17-1, WCC)
- Last Week: #14; Def. Pepperdine (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. LSU, *at #12 USC/vs. Central Arkansas*
- San Diego worked into a split for the West Coast Conference title as they have now collected 14 consecutive victories. However, their run of success and eye test wasn’t enough to overcome an RPI that put them on the outskirts of a top 16 seed. They’ll head a few hours north to meet LSU and potentially USC.
15. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- 21-8 (14-6, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #11; Lost at #17 Purdue (1-3); Def. at Indiana (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #24 Missouri State, *at #10 Creighton/vs. Coastal Carolina*
- The Spartans lost two of their final four matches of the season, but their overall resume still looks solid as they earned a top five finish in the rugged Big Ten. That wasn’t enough to host in the first two rounds though, as instead they get hurt by the geographical tabling by the committee and get put with two other VolleyMob Top 25 teams in one pod.
16. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 22-9 (12-8, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #17; Lost vs. (RV) Michigan (1-3); Def. #11 Michigan State (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: vs. High Point, *at #13 Utah/vs. Cleveland State*
- Purdue showed to be a bad matchup against Michigan, as they lost their second straight match – both to the Wolverines. Besides that though, they downed #11 Michigan State on senior day as they have won five of their last seven with three over ranked foes. Their late run wasn’t enough to host though, as they take on an at-large team in High Point before potentially having a road match with Utah.
17. UCLA BRUINS
- 19-10 (12-8, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #19; Def. at (RV) Oregon State (3-0), at #12 USC (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Austin Peay, *vs. #21 Cal Poly/Denver*
- The Bruins finished the year strong with three consecutive victories – all in sweep fashion and on the road. The two this week came against recognized competition too against Oregon State and rival USC. That was enough to sneak into a spot hosting as the 15 seed for the NCAA Tournament, but a tough Cal Poly team may await in the second round.
18. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 20-9 (11-9, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #18; Lost vs. #1 Penn State (1-3); Def. Rutgers (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Marquette, *at #19 Iowa State/vs. Princeton*
- The week will go down as another 1-1 edition for Wisconsin, who has done that on a regular basis this year in a tough Big Ten schedule. However, it’s not quite that when looking closer as one of the losses came in a contest with Penn State where they had a 1-0 set lead. Now they get out of the Big Ten where they were undefeated in the regular season but have to head to the road in doing so.
19. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- 21-6 (11-5, Big 12)
- Last Week: #20; Def. Texas Tech (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Princeton, *vs. #18 Wisconsin/(RV) Marquette*
- With the Jayhawks struggles, Iowa State worked its way into a tie for third, as once again they found an opening to collect a top three finish in the conference as they’ve done for quite some time now. They had a strong RPI though, so they earned the 14-seed from the NCAA Tournament committee, although they could face maybe the most dangerous unseeded team in Wisconsin.
20. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- 22-7 (11-5, Big 12)
- Last Week: #15; Lost vs. West Virginia (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Missouri, *at #22 Wichita State/vs. Radford*
- The Jayhawks lost on senior night to an unranked West Virginia squad. The losses are starting to add up for Kansas with four in the last seven appearances. Madison Rigdon was injured, but now she’s back, so it seems something else is up with the Jayhawks. They’ll look to correct it in a tough midwest pod as they renew the border war with Missouri.
21. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 26-2 (16-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #23; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. Denver, *at #17 UCLA/vs. Austin Peay*
- The Mustangs had a bye week as they prepare for the NCAA Tournament, but increased their ranking in the VolleyMob Top 25 with losses from a few teams in front of them. They get Denver in their opening NCAA Tournament match now too as Torrey Van Winden can upend her former team.
22. WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS
- 28-3 (20-0, AAC)
- Last Week: #24; Def. at Memphis (3-0), Memphis (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Radford, *vs. #20 Kansas/Missouri*
- The Shockers downed Memphis twice – once on the road and once at home – to end the regular season unbeaten in AAC play. That was enough to slide into the final seeded and first/second round hosting position, as the Shockers get to do so for the first time. If they can get by Radford, power five midwest foes Kansas and Missouri potentially await.
23. COLORADO BUFFALOES
- 22-9 (12-8, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #21; Def. at California (3-0); Lost vs. #16 Utah (1-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. James Madison, *at #11 Baylor/vs. Miami (OH)*
- Colorado dropped their finale to Utah at home after sweeping Cal, but overall it was a great regular season for the Buffaloes after they started the year unranked. Now they look to tack on more but they will be tested with an experienced James Madison bunch and possibly a road meeting with former Big 12 opponent Baylor.
24. MISSOURI STATE BEARS
- 28-5 (18-0, MVC)
- Last Week: #25; Def. vs. Indiana State (3-0), vs. (RV) Northern Iowa (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. #15 Michigan State, *at #10 Creighton/vs. Coastal Carolina*
- After soaring through the Missouri Valley Conference undefeated, Missouri State added another trophy with the MVC Tournament Championship. They had to down Northern Iowa for a third time to do it as well. It’ll be a more unfamiliar foe next up as they take on Michigan State as part of the toughest four-team pod.
25. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- 21-11 (11-9, Big Ten)
- Last Week: RV; Def. at #17 Purdue (3-1), at Indiana (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: vs. (RV) Colorado State, *at #3 Stanford/vs. CSU Bakersfield*
- The Wolverines were sitting at just 6-9 in Big Ten play and falling in the RPI, but a strong turnaround with five straight victories has changed the tune of this team that ended up above .500 in the Big Ten. Now they look like a difficult second round matchup, but they will have to get by (RV) Colorado State to have that opportunity of taking down the defending champs.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Oregon (17-11)* (22)
Colorado State (28-3)
Northern Iowa (26-8)
Western Kentucky (30-3)
Oregon State (21-11)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)