The latest week of action saw several top 25 teams take each other out. There wasn’t much movement in the top 10, but the teens is where the action really caused some shuffling. Rising among that was Washington, who has now won four in a row to find solid footing once again after a rough stretch. At the top though is a team who’s found firm ground all season long in the undefeated BYU Cougars:
1. BYU COUGARS
- 25-0 (15-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #1; Won vs. Santa Clara (3-0), vs. San Francisco (3-0)
- Next Week: at Saint Mary’s, at Pacific
- Just three matches separate BYU from an undefeated season now. In total, 20 of their victories have been sweeps too, including 13 in the WCC. Playing at St. Mary’s almost tripped them up last year (they won in five), so could be tricky again.
2. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 24-1 (16-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #2; Won vs. #15 Oregon (3-1), vs. Oregon State (3-0)
- Next Week: at Washington State, at Washington
- The next three for Stanford come on the road now, including at a really good Washington State bunch and at a Washington team playing much better right now. They’ve already won the Pac-12 though and are nearing a lock as a top four seed.
3. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 22-2 (16-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Won vs. Indiana (3-0), vs. #14 Purdue (3-0)
- Next Week: at Maryland, at Ohio State
- Minnesota is a win from earning the Big Ten title, and two from getting it outright (although they’d win a tiebreaker over Illinois). Still, four straight to end the season on the road makes for a tricky finish.
4. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
- 24-3 (13-3, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #4; Won vs. Rutgers (3-0), vs. #5 Penn State (3-2)
- Next Week: at Northwestern, at Rutgers
- Even if Illinois can’t earn a share of the Big Ten, their victory over Penn State proves vital for their shot at a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament. With that, they’re now in position where winning out should lock them in.
5. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 18-6 (11-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #6; Won vs. #14 Purdue (3-2), vs. Indiana (3-0)
- Next Week: at Ohio State, at Maryland
- Wisconsin is in a three-way tie for third in the Big Ten with Nebraska and Penn State. The Badgers and Huskers are both 7-6 vs. VM Top 25 competiton at the time of play, while the Nittany Lions are 4-5. Wisconsin also has the head-to-head over Nebraska.
6. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 20-6 (11-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #7; Won at Iowa (3-0), at #13 Michigan (3-1)
- Next Week: at Purdue, at Indiana
- Nebraska, also part of that three-way tie in the Big Ten for third, comes up in between Wisconsin and Penn State due to the stronger top 25 mark (over PSU) but behind the Badgers from head-to-head.
7. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 20-6 (11-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #5; Won at Northwestern (3-0); Lost at #4 Illinois (2-3)
- Next Week: vs. Michigan, vs. Northwestern
- Penn State’s last three losses have all come in five sets. They’ll be a very dangerous team for the NCAA Tournament. With their latest thought to Illinois, their chances of winding up in the top four are shot.
8. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 17-4 (12-1, Big 12)
- Last Week: #8; Won vs.Kansas State (3-0), vs. (RV) Kansas (3-1)
- Next Week: at Baylor
- Texas was #6 in the NCAA Committee’s early release of the top 10, so if they win out they’ll have a shot at a top four seed. Their toughest challenge in doing so is at Baylor coming up this week.
9. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 24-4 (16-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #9; Won vs. Georgetown (3-0), vs. Villanova (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Providence, vs. Providence
- The Bluejays continue to dominate the Big East and have now won at least a share (with the tiebreaker) of the league title. They’ll look to grab it outright this week and then win a postseason Big East crown to boot now for an encore.
10. PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
- 26-1 (14-1, ACC)
- Last Week: #10; Won vs. Duke (3-0)
- Next Week: at Florida State, at Miami (FL)
- The Panthers avenged their lone loss of the season in not just beating Duke, but winning in straight sets and 75-54 in total points. Now comes their toughest week left with a road trip to Florida against a pair of solid opponents, notably FSU.
11. USC TROJANS
- 19-8 (11-5, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #11; Lost vs. #22 Washington (1-3); Won vs. #16 Washington State (3-1)
- Next Week: at Arizona, at Arizona State
- The Trojans were upended at home by a suddenly hot Washington squad, but got it back by taking down a really good Washington State team at home. That keeps them in sole possession of second in the Pac-12, while they now have 10 wins over VM Top 25 competition at the time of play – more than everyone but Stanford – including a win over #12.
12. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 20-4 (14-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #12; Won vs. Mississippi State (3-0), vs. Alabama (3-0)
- Next Week: at Arkansas, at Missouri
- The Wildcats are well on their way to an SEC title, which they can wrap up at least a share of this week with a couple of more wins. That was all made possible by sweeping Mississippi State and Alabama. A road test at Missouri highlights this week.
13. OREGON DUCKS
- 17-9 (10-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Lost at #2 Stanford (1-3); Won at Cal (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Utah, vs. Colorado
- The Ducks were competitive in a loss to Stanford and then got a nice sweep on the road of Cal – suddenly a solid victory. They’ll be on the borderline of earning a top 16 seed, but two wins this week would go a long way toward doing so.
14. FLORIDA GATORS
- 21-5 (12-2, SEC)
- Last Week: #17; Won at Auburn (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. LSU, at Georgia
- Florida hasn’t been as dominant even in wins over lesser competition, but still have plenty of talent overall and come into the top 15 after a few losses in this range. With an RPI of 21 last week, they’ll probably need to win out for a chance at a top 16 seed.
15. WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
- 19-7 (10-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #16; Won at #25 UCLA (3-1); Lost at #11 USC (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. Stanford, vs. Cal
- The Cougars began the week with a road win in L.A. over UCLA but couldn’t double down in taking on USC. Still, a split week isn’t bad considering the competition, and with struggles for others around here they actually slide up a spot.
16. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 21-6 (10-6, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #14; Lost at #6 Wisconsin (2-3), at #3 Minnesota (0-3)
- Next Week: vs. Nebraska, vs. Iowa
- The Boilermakers had a rough week, but considering the schedule it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. They were 12th in the RPI last week, so they’ll still be fighting to host in the first two rounds, but may have to win either vs. Nebraska or at Illinois (the following week) to lock it up.
17. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 23-2 (13-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #17; Won vs. UC Davis (3-0), at UC Irvine (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. UC Riverside, vs. CS Fullerton
- The Mustangs inched closer to a Big West title, now just needing one win for at least a share and two for things outright (or a win and a Hawaii loss). At #22 in last week’s RPI, it’ll be close whether they can host or not, but they’ll need to win both this week to even have a chance.
18. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 17-9 (9-7, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #22; Won at #11 USC (3-1), at #25 UCLA (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Cal, vs. Stanford
- Five consecutive losses have now switched up into four straight wins, including three over ranked competition. In fact, they are now 9-5 against VM Top 25 competition at the time of play, vaulting them up to #18.
19. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- 19-8 (8-8, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #13; Lost vs. Maryland (0-3), vs. #7 Nebraska (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. Maryland, vs. Nebraska
- The Wolverines are now just .500 in the Big Ten and have dropped five of six and six of eight. Some of the losses to the top tier schools are easily explained, but back-to-back weeks with losses to Maryland and Indiana won’t cut it.
20. MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES
- 24-5 (14-2, Big East)
- Last Week: #19; Won at Butler (3-0), at Xavier (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Seton Hall, vs. St. John’s
- Marquette will still get another go at Creighton potentially in the Big East Tournament. If they win out and grab that postseason Big East title, they’ll have a great case to host in the first two rounds.
21. UCF GOLDEN KNIGHTS
- 24-3 (15-0, AAC)
- Last Week: #21; Won vs. (RV) Cincinnati (3-2), vs. ECU (3-0)
- Next Week: at SMU, at Houston
- The Golden Knights vanquished Cincinnati for a second time this season – both in five sets. The RPI still looks good, so winning out should give them home matches in the NCAA Tournament along with that AAC crown.
22. TENNESSEE LADY VOLS
- 21-5 (12-2, SEC)
- Last Week: #20; Won at Mississippi State (3-0)
- Next Week: at Missouri, at Arkansas
- Tennessee continues to be a nice surprise in the SEC and looks to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament if they can avoid a disastrous finish. It’s not an easy finish though with matches at Missouri, at Arkansas and then at home vs. Florida in the next three.
23. MISSOURI TIGERS
- 22-5 (12-3, SEC)
- Last Week: #24; Won at Auburn (3-0), vs. Georgia (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. Tennessee, vs. Kentucky
- The Tigers bounced back from a loss a week prior with two triumphs this week. They can really get momentum going forward with strong play this week as they host a pair of top 25 opponents.
24. ARIZONA WILDCATS
- 19-9 (8-8, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #23; Lost at Utah (2-3); Won at (RV) Colorado (3-2)
- Next Week: vs. USC, vs. UCLA
- The Wildcats had two five-set matches this week, dropping one and claiming the other. They get three in a row at home now, but all against top competition. An RPI of 39 from last week shows that they may be on the bubble a bit, so they need a strong finish, but they look good enough to be in.
25. BAYLOR BEARS
- 17-7 (9-4, Pac-12)
- Last Week: RV; Won vs. Iowa State (3-1), at Kansas State (3-0)
- Next Week: at Texas Tech, vs. Texas
- Baylor finally re-appears in the rankings after a several week hiatus. They’re healthier now and playing better. They’d love to keep that momentum push forward with an upset of Texas this week – and actually have a good enough RPI that a win there may be enough to earn a hosting spot in the NCAA Tournament.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
UCLA (12-11)* (#25)
Colorado State (22-6)
South Carolina (18-6)
Illinois State (24-5)
Northern Iowa (21-8)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)
Previous 2018 Polls:
VolleyMob Week 11
VolleyMob Week 10
VolleyMob Week 9
VolleyMob Week 8
VolleyMob Week 7
VolleyMob Week 6
VolleyMob Week 5
VolleyMob Week 4
VolleyMob Week 3
VolleyMob Week 2
VolleyMob Week 1
VolleyMob Week 0/Preseason