Post Week-5 Notebook: The Edge of the Top 25, Creighton & the WCC

  0 Derek Johnson | September 24th, 2018 | Big East, College - Women's Indoor, News, WCC

The fifth week of the season is in the books, with its significance being that it was the start of conference play for a majority of schools. We didn’t see a ton of drastic changes or headlines, but there were still some notes to get to.

Note: It’s impossible to get to every match and every team for the sake of you not getting bored on this page or my fingers falling off from typing, so we try to cut it down a bit.

The edge of the top 25 is very inconsistent this year

So far, it’s been really difficult trying to judge who should be at the end of the top 25 and who should be on the cusp. And as soon as one team seems to have things locked down, they lose a match you’re not expecting.

For example, take the 23-24-25 trio of Kansas State-Oregon State-Utah this week, who all lost twice. The first, fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth teams who were on the cusp all lost as well. A week prior, #24 and #25 lost as well, with the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, ninth and 10th place on the cusp teams also falling.

This isn’t a totally new phenomenon. Really what separates teams at the end of the top 25 and the teens area is consistency, but it seems like it’s either happening more this year or the teams are just weaker who are being evaluated for those spots.

But the edge of the top 25 is waiting for some teams to emerge. There were stretches last season where Wichita State or Cal Poly was a solid team right on that spot and the reason teams would change were because of big wins, not because no one is earning victories. Maybe some teams will figure it out, but right now it’s kind of a mess.

I still think there will be parity in the NCAA Tournament more than usual, but I’m to a point where I believe that will happen more so in the regionals (Sweet 16/Elite 8) than the first two rounds.

The WCC might beat up on each other too much… except for BYU

Coming into league play, it looked as if the West Coast Conference could have as many as three NCAA Tournament teams – obviously BYU, then some combination of Portland, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary’s and Pepperdine – with maybe even a fourth if things played out really well.

That’s still possible, but after watching the first week, I wonder if there’s going to be too much carnage among those teams that will weigh down their overall records to keep the WCC at a one or two-bid league.

For instance, Portland came into league play undefeated and right on the cusp of being ranked; they lost to Pepperdine and LMU. San Diego has given the league a steady team in the NCAA Tournament, but they lost at home to Saint Mary’s and are now 4-7. LMU got their big win at Portland, but were also swept at Gonzaga.

It just seems like there are so many teams grouped closely together after BYU – who is the clear-cut number one and I don’t expect to be effected by this. It doesn’t mean the conference is any less, in fact it probably means it’s the deepest of the mid-major leagues. Unfortunately, barring a team or two breaking out, it could hamper them come postseason selection.

It runs through Omaha

Creighton has won the Big East regular season title every season since the league added Butler in 2014 – it’s second season in the conference. That means they’ve collected four in a row.

The team to win it in 2013 with Creighton finishing second? Marquette. The team who finished behind Creighton as runner-up in 2016 and 2017? Marquette as well. So these two teams have owned a strong grip on the top of the Big East standings since it’s reshaped look in 2013. It seems likely that one of these two teams will win the Big East once again in 2018.

Following a year where Marquette finished just a match behind Creighton and beat them once, the Golden Eagles were the preseason Big East pick to win the league with more returning to their team. To win the championship though, you have to go through the champion. And in the first go around between the two, the Bluejays showed them why the league runs through Omaha with a statement sweep.

Of course, Marquette still gets to play Creighton on their home floor later in the year, but it’s an early notch in the belt for the Bluejays in defending yet another league title. It’s also confirmation that despite some personnel losses from last season, Creighton isn’t going anywhere and if Marquette wants a share or possession of the title, they’ve got to knock the king off their throne themselves.

As for now, the dynamic pin duo of Taryn Kloth and Jaali Winters reigns supreme. Beyond just the league, if Creighton continues to pile up wins, they may have a chance of besting even last year’s #9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is the school record.

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