A large amount of teams in the rankings this week had byes while many others held serve or put up similar results to those around them. That leads to a stiffening in the rankings this week, as they look very similar with a few exceptions to last week’s VolleyMob Men’s Top 20 Power Rankings.
In fact, the top 11 is the same, with Grand Canyon’s move to #12 representing the first change. We start once again at the top though with the team who has been there since week two in the Long Beach State 49ers:
1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS
- 19-0 (4-0, Big West)
- Last Week: #1; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. #4 UC Irvine, at #4 UC Irvine
- The 49ers had an off week as they prepare for two monumental matches with UC Irvine in regards to both the national and Big West standings.
2. BYU COUGARS
- 18-4 (8-0, MPSF)
- Last Week: #2; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. Concordia Irvine, vs. Grand Canyon
- An off week for BYU turns into the final stretch in MPSF play with just two weeks and four matches to go. A pair of wins this week secures at least a share of the regular season crown.
3. UCLA BRUINS
- 19-5 (7-2, MPSF)
- Last Week: #3; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. UCSB, at USC
- The Bruins have just three matches left in MPSF play and need two wins this week just to keep their hopes alive in earning a share of the league crown. They’d need to win out – which would include a victory over BYU next week – and hope the Cougars lose, but at the very least have set themselves up for a potential at-large bid.
4. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS
- 17-5 (3-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #4; Def. at #19 USC (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at #1 LBSU, vs. #1 LBSU
- UC Irvine has just six regular season matches left, and if they can do what no one else has done – beat LBSU – and earn at least a split, they’d set themselves up for a great shot at an at-large bid even if they don’t win the Big West.
5. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS
- 19-4 (9-1, MIVA)
- Last Week: #5; Def. #12 Ball State (3-0), #14 Fort Wayne (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at Ohio State, at McKendree
- The challenges that Loyola Chicago has faced in taking their MIVA lead have been answered continually, as they overcame Lewis a few times and now swept a pair of top 15 opponents – including Ball State who represents their only league loss. The big one comes this week in Columbus, with the MIVA regular season crown essentially on the line.
6. PEPPERDINE WAVES
- 13-6 (6-3, MPSF)
- Last Week: #6; None
- Upcoming Week: at USC
- Pepperdine needs to win out from here for their best and most realistic chance at an at-large bid, as they are currently on the outside looking in. Their quest after an off week starts at USC this week.
7. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS
- 13-6 (1-3, Big West)
- Last Week: #7; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. UCSD, vs. UCSD
- Yet another top-end team on the west coast had an idle week as now Hawaii commences against UC San Diego twice in desperate need of wins for their at-large hopes.
8. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- 17-4 (8-2, MIVA)
- Last Week: #8; Def. at Quincy (3-0), at Lindenwood (3-2)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Loyola Chicago, vs. Lewis
- The Buckeyes have continued to win and stay right on the heels of Loyola Chicago, as now they get a chance at home to even the season series and earn a first-place tie in the MIVA. The MIVA postseason will truly determine their odds at making the NCAA Tournament with a lack of impressive wins compared to others, but getting hot now would be go a long way in doing so.
9. LEWIS FLYERS
- 16-8 (7-3, MIVA)
- Last Week: #9; Def. #14 Fort Wayne (3-0), #12 Ball State (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at McKendree, at Ohio State
- A two-sweep week for Lewis came at a good time, as now they head to the road for two tough ones. If they can get a couple of victories and Ohio State downs Loyola Chicago, they’d move back to a match from the top of the MIVA lead.
10. CSUN MATADORS
- 12-7 (2-2, Big West)
- Last Week: #10; None
- Upcoming Week: vs. UCSB, at UCSB
- A week off might be a good thing, but it is unfortunate that CSUN was riding a hot streak with wins over Hawaii before the interruption. They’ll look to resume with two matches against UCSB in which they can truly affirm themselves in the top 10 and top half of the Big West.
11. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
- 9-7 (2-2, Big West)
- Last Week: #11; None
- Upcoming Week: at UCLA, at CSUN, vs. CSUN
- UCSB’s off week comes following two losses to LBSU, but they can more than rebound with three matches against top 10 opponents – and two on the road.
12. GRAND CANYON LOPES
- 16-8 (3-6, MPSF)
- Last Week: #13; Def. #15 Concordia Irvine (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at Stanford, at BYU
- The Lopes got revenge on Concordia Irvine, pushing them up into the top dozen once again. They’re in a fight for the #4 seed in the MPSF – which hosts in the first round of the league tournament – so will need to earn at least a win at Stanford this week.
13. BALL STATE CARDINALS
- 13-11 (6-4, MIVA)
- Last Week: #12; Lost at #5 Loyola Chicago (0-3), at #9 Lewis (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Lindenwood, vs. Quincy
- The Cardinals had an opportunity to legitimately win the MIVA, but were swept twice against teams who they beat in their first go around. They’ve still got an opportunity in the MIVA postseason tournament, but will need to turn things around this week.
14. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 15-9 (3-7, MIVA)
- Last Week: #14; Lost at #9 Lewis (0-3), at #5 Loyola Chicago (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Quincy, vs. Lindenwood
- The Mastodons have now lost four in a row, including three straight via sweep. They dropped last week in the rankings, but this week stay the same with others behind either too far behind in resume or losing as well, but that could change should things continue against teams who aren’t ranked – like they’ve played the last four.
15. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 12-13 (3-4, MPSF)
- Last Week: #15; Lost at #13 Grand Canyon (1-3); Def. at Benedictine (3-1), at Ottawa (3-1)
- Upcoming Week: at BYU, at Stanford
- Concordia did go 2-1 this week, but their wins came over teams outside of the Division I-II classification with a loss at Grand Canyon. That keeps them at #15, with a chance to move up should they upend BYU this week.
16. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS
- 12-10 (8-0, EIVA)
- Last Week: #16; Def. at Charleston (3-0), at Charleston (3-0)
- Upcoming Week: at NJIT, at Princeton
- Two sweeps of Charleston have George Mason continually riding high in EIVA play, where they’ve dominated despite non-conference troubles. Princeton will be a true test to their EIVA fortitude, as the Tigers are hot and are looking like the team who was ranked preseason.
17. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 11-8 (6-2, EIVA)
- Last Week: #17; None
- Upcoming Week: at Sacred Heart, at Harvard
- An off week for Penn State sets them up to try and make a final stand at the EIVA regular season crown, as they may need to win out. That mainly comes on the road with their next four away from home.
18. MCKENDREE BEARCATS
- 10-11 (5-5, MIVA)
- Last Week: #18; Def. at Quincy (3-0), vs. Princeton (3-1); Lost vs. Princeton (2-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Lewis, vs. Loyola Chicago
- McKendree didn’t have a perfect week, but their only loss (a five-setter to Princeton) was avenged to go with a MIVA sweep. That keeps them firmly at #18 with a chance to rise up against two top 10 foes this week.
19. USC TROJANS
- 6-16 (2-6, MPSF)
- Last Week: #19; Lost vs. #4 UC Irvine (0-3)
- Upcoming Week: vs. Pepperdine, vs. UCLA
- The Trojans final four matches (and five if you include their most recent with UC Irvine) come against top 15 opponents, so even one win in the final quartet would go a long way towards their growth.
20. SAINT FRANCIS RED FLASH
- 8-15 (3-5, EIVA)
- Last Week: #20; None
- Upcoming Week: at Sacred Heart, at Harvard
- An off week prepares Saint Francis for two road matches where a loss could push them out of the rankings. It’s also two more as part of five straight on the road (with two more next week to come).
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked
Barton (17-6, 13-0 Conf. Carolinas)
Princeton (8-12, 5-4 EIVA)
Stanford (4-17, 1-7 MPSF)
UCSD (9-12, 0-4 Big West)