Stanford Remains In Control Above Tight Race for 2nd in Pac-12 (Nov. 7)

  0 Derek Johnson | November 07th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, Pac 12

Only six matches are left in the Pac-12 regular season and the Stanford Cardinal continue to roll to an undefeated mark in conference play. That firmly contrasts with the rest of the conference, as chaos and carnage among strong competition has led to every other school having four or more losses in Pac-12 action.

The biggest chunk of that comes from teams with five to six losses, as five schools (just under half the conference) sit in that tier just behind USC for second in the conference as one slip up can drop you to seventh or eighth in the standings.

Moving from last week to last week though, things stand relatively the same in terms of Stanford being at the top and number of NCAA Tournament teams as eight should make it with another on the bubble.

More analysis after the Pac-12 table:

Pac-12 Volleyball Standings (As of November 7, 2017):

CONFERENCE OVERALL LAST GAME NEXT GAME
Stanford 14-0 21-2 W3-0 ORE 11/8Pac-12 Networks
USC 10-4 18-7 W3-2 ARIZ VS 11/9Pac-12 Networks
Colorado 9-5 19-6 W3-0 WASH 11/9Pac-12 Networks
Washington 9-5 19-6 W3-1 UTAH VS 11/8Pac-12 Networks
Utah 9-5 18-7 L1-3 WASH 11/9Pac-12 Networks
Oregon 8-6 15-7 L0-3 STAN 11/9Pac-12 Networks
UCLA 8-6 15-8 W3-0 ASU VS 11/9Pac-12 Networks
Oregon State 7-7 17-9 vs CAL 11/9Pac-12 Networks
California 4-10 13-12 vs ORST 11/9Pac-12 Washington
Washington State 3-11 14-12 L0-3 UTAH VS 11/10WSU Live Stream
Arizona 3-11 9-14 L2-3 USC VS 11/9Pac-12 Networks
Arizona State 0-14 10-16 L0-3 UCLA VS 11/9Pac-12 Networks

Close to clinching: Stanford (14-0 Conference Record)

Stanford is still unbeaten in Pac-12 play and with just six matches left in the regular season, a pair of victories this week would clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 championship. That also assumes that USC will win both of their matches this week, but if the Trojans fall once and Stanford wins both this week than they would win the Pac-12 outright.

Besides the rest of this Pac-12 season, Stanford will look to keep winning to get a top four seed and host through the Elite Eight. Although we have them ranked second in the latest VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings, the NCAA Tournament committee put them at #4, meaning they are on a tight line to and have plenty more to play for than just the Pac-12 title.

Remaining schedule:

  • at Washington (9-5)
  • at Washington State (3-11)
  • vs. USC (10-4)
  • vs. UCLA (8-6)
  • vs. Utah (9-5)
  • at California (4-10)

The edge for second: USC (10-4 Conference Record)

The Trojans started the season unranked, but have more than exceeded expectations as a ranked team currently second in the Pac-12 standings. They will look to hold their edge for the spot and stay alive for the Pac-12 title by winning out and hoping for some Stanford losses, but beyond their conference standing aspirations, they rank 18th in the RPI. That puts them on the first/second round NCAA Tournament hosting bubble.

The schedule will be quite difficult from here for the Trojans, but it’s also a great opportunity to put away the teams chasing their spot right behind them. Additionally, if they post a strong mark through their final six, they should be sitting pretty on RPI and have a great chance of hosting two matches in the NCAA Tournament.

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. Utah (9-5)
  • vs. Colorado (9-5)
  • at Stanford (14-0)
  • at California (4-10)
  • at Oregon (8-6)
  • vs. UCLA (8-6)

The incumbent champ: Washington (9-5 Conference Record)

The Huskies won the Pac-12 last year, and although they are eliminated from winning the conference this season, they still have plenty to play for and can stake their claim for second in the conference. They’ve got some work to do as they are a match back of USC and two tough matches to come in the state of Oregon, but besides those and Stanford this week, they play three of the bottom four in the conference.

Beyond their conference standing, the Huskies have national aspirations in mind too as the NCAA Tournament committee seeded them at #8. That’s close enough to where if they win out they may have an outside shot of a top four ranking (with help in front of them), but at the very least even a couple of losses shouldn’t prevent them from hosting the first two rounds.

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. Stanford (14-0)
  • vs. California (4-10)
  • at Oregon State (7-7)
  • at Oregon (8-6)
  • vs. Arizona (3-11)
  • vs. Arizona State (0-14)

The late bloomer: Colorado (9-5 Conference Record)

No team (with the exception of Stanford who hasn’t had a point in the season where they haven’t been) has been hotter in the conference than Colorado, who has collected four straight wins and seven of their last eight. They’re now at a point where not only could they have a significant finish in the Pac-12, but could also think about hosting a few NCAA Tournament matches in Boulder.

If they can get through a tough weekend in Los Angeles this week with a split or a pair of wins, they should be able to nab three more before a big home meeting with Utah on senior day. That one will not only wrap up the regular season and have a big impact on their hosting/seeding chances, but it may also be a match for second/third in the Pac-12.

Remaining schedule:

  • at UCLA (8-6)
  • at USC (10-4)
  • vs. Arizona (3-11)
  • vs. Arizona State (0-14)
  • at California (4-10)
  • vs. Utah (9-5)

Trying to turn it back on: Utah (9-5 Conference Record)

The final team in the 9-5 triangle is Utah, who has gotten to this point with losses in four of their last five matches. Beyond being in this fight for second and third in the Pac-12, the Utes just need to turn things around so they aren’t slumping heading into the NCAA Tournament in about three weeks.

It won’t be easy to turn things around this week with a pair of matches in Los Angeles, but if they can earn a split and take care of the Arizona schools and Cal, even a loss to Stanford would give them a winning record in the final six. That would give them a good shot at hosting in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Remaining schedule:

  • at USC (10-4)
  • at UCLA (8-6)
  • vs. Arizona State (0-14)
  • vs. Arizona (3-11)
  • at Stanford (14-0)
  • at California (4-10)

On the heels of the top five: Oregon (8-6), UCLA (8-6), Oregon State (7-7)

Right behind the trio of 9-5 teams is the next tier with two 8-6 Pac-12 squads and a 7-7 team in Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State, respectively. UCLA still has Utah, Colorado and USC (who are all ahead of them in the standings) while Oregon plays Washington and USC from this tight pack with both coming in Eugene. Oregon State remains a dark horse, but has done enough to earn a spot in the same tier as the Bruins and Ducks.

Needing a strong finish: Washington State (3-11 Conference Record)

In principal, Washington State doesn’t need a strong finish for their conference ranking. Instead, they need it for their overall season as they sit on the NCAA Tournament bubble. That said, a stronger conference finish would be a byproduct of a good end to the year, as they likely need to jump Cal, their next opponent, and score a big win or two fro the combo of games against upper-echelon Pac-12 opponents.

Remaining schedule:

  • vs. California (4-10)
  • vs. Stanford (14-0)
  • at Oregon (8-6)
  • at Oregon State (7-7)
  • vs. Arizona State (0-14)
  • at Washington (9-5)

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