VolleyMob Men’s Top 20 Power Rankings Headed Into the Tourney (Wk 17)

  0 Derek Johnson | April 23rd, 2018 | Big West, College - Men's Indoor, Conference Carolinas, EIVA, Independents, MIVA, MPSF, News, Rankings

Following conference championship week, the bracket is now set for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. There were two big surprises in the bracket, with Ohio State being below Harvard and Hawaii not making it in. That doesn’t effect our rankings though, as the opposites for both occur in this week’s VolleyMob Men’s Top 20 Power Rankings.

No dispute occurs at the top once again though, as the 49ers of Long Beach State got back to being the dominant force they’ve been all season long with a pair of sweeps in the Big West Tournament this week:

1. LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS

  • 26-1 (9-1, Big West)
  • Last Week: #1; Def. #11 CSUN (3-0), #4 Hawaii (3-0)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (National Semifinals vs. #5 UC Irvine/#6 Ohio State/#16 King)
  • LBSU made quick work of the Big West Tournament as they seemed to have a new focus after losing for the first time. It’s possible that loss was the best thing for them if it leads to more dominant play like we just saw, as they look to take that into the NCAA Tournament.

2. BYU COUGARS

  • 22-6 (10-2, MPSF)
  • Last Week: #2; Def. #19 USC (3-0), #3 UCLA (3-1)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (National Semifinals vs. #3 UCLA/#17 Harvard)
  • BYU defended its MPSF regular season title by winning the postseason tournament, downing both Los Angeles schools in the process. The one against UCLA supplanted them as the #2 seed and got revenge for the regular season finale. While it does give them a bye, they may have to face the Bruins one more time if they want to play for the National Championship.

3. UCLA BRUINS

  • 24-7 (9-3, MPSF)
  • Last Week: #3; Def. (N) #14 Concordia Irvine (3-1); Lost at #2 BYU (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (First Round vs. #17 Harvard)
  • UCLA couldn’t down BYU again, but over the course of the season they solidified their spot as a clear choice for the top at-large pick. That sends them to the NCAA Tournament where they have the advantage of being at home.

4. HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS

  • 19-8 (6-4, Big West)
  • Last Week: #4; Def. (N) #5 UC Irvine (3-1); Lost at #1 LBSU (0-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Hawaii didn’t win the Big West, but they won a match that was extremely important against UC Irvine… or so we all thought. It seemed like at that point with the two basically neck-and-neck that the Rainbow Warriors win right before selection to win the season series 2-1 would put them in, but instead the committee opted for a team with more road/neutral wins.

5. UC IRVINE ANTEATERS

  • 20-8 (6-4, Big West)
  • Last Week: #5; Def. (N) UC San Diego (3-0); Lost (N) #4 Hawaii (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (First Round vs. #6 Ohio State/#16 King)
  • The Anteaters couldn’t down Hawaii, losing the match to fall in the season series 2-1. That loss seemed to have pushed them out of the field, but their overall body of work in not being swept and playing a large amount of road/neutral matches was ultimately the difference from the committee’s perspective.

6. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

  • 23-5 (11-3, MIVA)
  • Last Week: #6; Def. #8 Lewis (3-2), #7 Loyola Chicago (3-0)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (Play-In: vs. #16 King)
  • Ohio State had difficulty with Lewis all season long, which showed as they squeaked by in the semifinals. For whatever reason, they didn’t have the same problems with Loyola, who they led 2-0 on the road, defeated 3-1 at home and swept again this time around for the automatic bid. Shockingly though, they were pushed below Harvard to participate in the play-in-match, which seems to be the NCAA caring more about geography/travel fees than who is the better team.

7. LOYOLA CHICAGO RAMBLERS

  • 23-7 (11-3, MIVA)
  • Last Week: #7; Def. #10 Ball State (3-1); Lost at #6 Ohio State (0-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Loyola Chicago fell just short of the NCAA Tournament as they were one of the first teams out and were a match from winning an automatic bid. Still, their season ends with a share of the regular season MIVA title and a top 10 ranking.

8. LEWIS FLYERS

  • 19-11 (9-5, MIVA)
  • Last Week: #8; Lost at #6 Ohio State (2-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Lewis was incredibly close to upending Ohio State and heading to the MIVA Tournament Championship for the second time in three seasons. Instead, their season comes to a close as they end up in the top 10.

9. PEPPERDINE WAVES

  • 15-8 (8-4, MPSF)
  • Last Week: #9; None
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • A home loss to USC not only ends Pepperdine’s run in the MPSF Tournament right where it started, but it also ended their season a few weeks back.

10. CSUN MATADORS

  • 16-11 (5-5, Big West)
  • Last Week: #11; Def. (N) #12 UC Santa Barbara (3-1); Lost at #1 LBSU (0-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • CSUN ran into the buzzsaw that is LBSU to end their season, but also added a solid top 12 victory on the week against UCSB. Overall, they finish the year in the top 10 with just two seniors – although one is star Arvis Greene.

11. BALL STATE CARDINALS

  • 18-12 (10-4, MIVA)
  • Last Week: #10; Lost (N) #7 Loyola Chicago (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • The Cardinals fell short in the third meeting with Loyola Chicago, as they failed to make it to the MIVA Championship. Still, it was a great effort, not just in the match but for the season. They started the season 5-7, but turned it on in MIVA play and end right on the cusp of the top 10.

12. UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS

  • 11-13 (4-6, Big West)
  • Last Week: #12; Lost (N) #11 CSUN (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • UCSB couldn’t get another shot at LBSU as they were cut off by CSUN. It’s too bad for them, because they showed the ability to take out top teams with wins over BYU, Pepperdine and UC Irvine this season. Instead, those carry them to a top 12 finish.

13. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS

  • 18-11 (6-8, MIVA)
  • Last Week: #13; None
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Fort Wayne just couldn’t figure out Lewis this season, losing all nine sets they played with the Flyers. Still, as their season comes to a close with the MIVA Tournament loss, they had a remarkable year starting unranked and finishing in the top 15.

14. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES

  • 16-15 (5-7, MPSF)
  • Last Week: #14; Lost (N) #3 UCLA (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Concordia Irvine got to face UCLA after taking down Grand Canyon a week prior but couldn’t upend the Bruins. After starting the season unranked though, to finish the year in the top 15 is a great season for the Eagles.

15. GRAND CANYON LOPES

  • 18-11 (4-8, MPSF)
  • Last Week: #15; None
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Grand Canyon’s season came to a close at Concordia Irvine, but overall it was a strong season for the Lopes who came close to the 20-win clip and will end the year either in or right around the top 15.

16. KING TORNADO

  • 23-5 (15-1, Conf. Carolinas)
  • Last Week: #17; Def. Lees-McRae (3-0), Belmont Abbey (3-1), (RV) Barton (3-0)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (Play-In: vs. #6 Ohio State)
  • King powered through the Conference Carolinas Tournament to claim the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, defeating Barton to win the series 2-1 in the process. Now they run into the two-time defending National Champions as they look for a monumental upset.

17. HARVARD CRIMSON

  • 13-13 (10-4 EIVA)
  • Last Week: RV; Def. (N) #18 Penn State (3-2), (N) (RV) Princeton (3-1)
  • Upcoming Week: NCAA Tournament (First Round: vs. #3 UCLA)
  • Harvard began the year 1-8 and 1-2 in EIVA play. Sure enough they finished the year just short of the regular season crown in the last week of the season and excelled in the league tournament. It may have helped that Princeton upended George Mason so that they didn’t face a road match, but now the EIVA postseason champs get a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

18. GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS

  • 17-12 (13-1, EIVA)
  • Last Week: #16; Lost vs. (RV) Princeton (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • George Mason ended up 13-2 against teams in the EIVA, but unfortunately for them one of those losses came at a bad time. Still, it was a great run for the Patriots who still find themselves with a trophy for the regular season.

19. PRINCETON TIGERS

  • 12-16 (7-7 EIVA)
  • Last Week: RV; Def. at #16 George Mason (3-1); Lost (N) (RV) Harvard (1-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • With a healthier team and momentum coming as the season came to its end, Princeton was much better than their record showed. That was proven by their road upset of top-seeded George Mason, but they couldn’t re-kindle that magic in the EIVA Championship. Still, they end the year ranked after starting the year 1-11.

20. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS

  • 15-11 (10-4, EIVA)
  • Last Week: #18; Lost (N) (RV) Harvard (2-3)
  • Upcoming Week: None
  • Penn State had plenty of talent, but couldn’t get it all to click this season. In totality, it ends with a EIVA Semifinals exit, but one that could have easily been different as they still end the season ranked.

On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:

Note: * indicates ranked last week; (#) is what they were ranked

USC Trojans (8-20, 3-7 MPSF)

McKendree Bearcats (11-15, 6-8 MIVA)

Barton Bulldogs (21-8, 15-1 Conf. Carolinas)

Past Rankings:

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