There wasn’t much but the occasional one or two spot slide/jump in this week’s rankings as we near the end of the regular season. Normally the shifting doesn’t apply at the top, but in this case it does, with a rare switch.
1. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 26-1 (18-0, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #2; Won at #15 Washington State (3-1), at #18 Washington (3-0)
- Next Week: at Arizona State, vs. California
- The Cardinal have only lost in five early in the year at BYU. Since, they’ve racked up 24 straight wins and have 14 wins over VM Top 25 opponents at the time of play – more than anyone in the country (second has 11 and third at nine). With the tougher schedule and another impressive week tacked onto a key injury to BYU, Stanford makes a late jump to #1 based on the idea that the Cardinal would be favored on a neutral court today.
2. BYU COUGARS
- 27-0 (17-0, WCC)
- Last Week: #1; Won at Saint Mary’s (3-1), at Pacific (3-0)
- Next Week: at Loyola Marymount
- The Cougars won the WCC title, but for the first time had a down set since the injury to McKenna Miller. With Miller out for the season, it’s fair to question if they are better than Stanford (Miller had 15 kills in a five-set tight win over the Cardinal earlier). Knowing Stanford has more than triple the VM Top 25 wins adds to the intriguing question.
3. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
- 24-2 (18-0, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #3; Won at Maryland (3-1), at Ohio State (3-2)
- Next Week: at Penn State, at Rutgers
- It wasn’t the prettiest week for Minnesota, but they kept the wins coming and earned the Big Ten title all to themselves in escaping Columbus. At this point it’d be hard to envision them not getting a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they’ll look to cement it at Penn State and keep the unbeaten league season alive.
4. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
- 26-3 (15-3, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #4; Won at Northwestern (3-0), at Rutgers (3-0)
- Next Week: at Michigan State, vs. Purdue
- The Fighting Illini have quite the opportunity now this week. With a pair of wins, they’ll seemingly secure that final top four spot in the NCAA Tournament. A loss makes the debate more interesting, but with a solid RPI and a second place marking in the Big Ten, they’re looking good.
5. WISCONSIN BADGERS
- 20-6 (13-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #5; Won at Ohio State (3-0), at Maryland (3-0)
- Next Week: at Rutgers, at Penn State
- The Badgers will look to get their fifth straight victory at Rutgers before a tough season finale in a potential battle for third in the league at Penn State. If they win both and Illinois trips up, maybe they have an outside chance at a top four seed.
6. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- 22-6 (13-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #6; Won at #16 Purdue (3-1), at Indiana (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Ohio State, vs. Maryland
- A tough finish for Wisconsin and Penn State comes to allow a pair of wins for Nebraska to potentially wrap up a top three finish without a team tied to their hip. They probably can’t get a top four seed, but they’ll wind up a high ranking regardless as they look to use this week as a tune-up for the postseason.
7. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- 22-6 (13-5, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #7; Won vs. #19 Michigan (3-0), vs. Northwestern (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Minnesota, vs. Wisconsin
- Penn State was just 17 in RPI last week, so it’s not a certainty that they would host should they lose both matches this week. One would think the committee would look just beyond that number to see that this team is clearly top 10, but it’s a big week to further prove they deserve a high seed.
8. TEXAS LONGHORNS
- 18-4 (13-1, Big 12)
- Last Week: #8; Won at #25 Baylor (3-1)
- Next Week: at Texas Tech, vs. West Virginia
- The Longhorns continue to roll in the back-half of their Big 12 schedule, earning their eight straight victory. They’ve secured another Big 12 title, and will look to put the final stamp on things this week.
9. CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
- 26-4 (18-0, Big East)
- Last Week: #9; Won vs. Providence (3-0), vs. Providence (3-0)
- Next Week: Big East Tournament
- Creighton has swept their last seven opponents as they enter the Big East Tournament. If they can win in the semis, a potential rematch with Marquette looms as both teams are in the discussion to host in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
10. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
- 22-4 (16-0, SEC)
- Last Week: #12; Won at Arkansas (3-0), at #23 Missouri (3-0)
- Next Week: at South Carolina, vs. Auburn
- Kentucky has really turned the corner since early in the season and is absolutely rolling right now. They even swept Missouri, a tough team on the road. They’ll look to cement an undefeated SEC season this week.
11. PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
- 28-1 (16-1, ACC)
- Last Week: #10; Won at Florida State (3-1), at Miami (FL) (3-2)
- Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech
- The Panthers struggled a bit this week, especially with Miami (FL). The Florida State win looks good though as they should be in a position to host in the first two rounds at this point regardless of this week’s result.
12. USC TROJANS
- 20-9 (12-6, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #11; Won at #24 Arizona (3-2); Lost at Arizona State (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. Utah, at UCLA
- USC got its 11th win over a VM Top 25 opponent at the time of play – second in the country and one of two with double-digits. That’s where the fun ended for the Trojans though, who fell at Arizona State as they slide a tad.
13. FLORIDA GATORS
- 23-5 (14-2, SEC)
- Last Week: #14; Won vs. LSU (3-0), at Georgia (3-0)
- Next Week: at Tennessee, vs. South Carolina
- The Gators are creeping back up the rankings now after coming in at 17th just a few weeks back. Their latest week saw sweeps of LSU and Georgia. The competition ramps up this week as they try to make a final statement to try and host in the first two rounds.
14. OREGON DUCKS
- 18-10 (11-7, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #13; Won vs. (RV) Utah (3-0); Lost vs. (RV) Colorado (2-3)
- Next Week: at Washington, at Oregon State
- The Ducks had a split week, but the loss came in five with both opponents on the cusp. With some other losses in this area, Oregon only slides one spot and has a big week ahead for their hosting chances in the NCAA Tournament in which they likely have to win both based on their RPI.
15. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- 22-7 (11-7, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #16; Lost vs. #6 Nebraska (1-3); Won vs. Iowa (3-2)
- Next Week: at Indiana, at Illinois
- The Boilermakers fell to Nebraska, but rebounded with a win on senior night over Iowa. They’ll need to take care of business at Indiana to host in the first two rounds after owning an RPI of 13 last week.
16. CAL POLY MUSTANGS
- 25-2 (15-1, Big West)
- Last Week: #17; Won vs. UC Riverside (3-0), vs. CS Fullerton (3-0)
- Next Week: Idle
- The Mustangs are now awaiting their placement in the NCAA Tournament as Big West champions. It’ll be close as to whether they host or not, so it will be interesting to see if their lone blemish against Hawaii in league play holds them back.
17. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 18-10 (10-8, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #18; Won vs. Cal (3-1); Lost vs. #2 Stanford (0-3)
- Next Week: vs. Oregon, at Washington State
- The Huskies made their big jump last week, while this week they maintained their spot. They did fall to Stanford, but who hasn’t? They also took out a solid Cal bunch and are 9-6 against VM Top 25 opponents.
18. WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
- 19-9 (10-8, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #15; Lost vs. #2 Stanford (1-3), vs. Cal (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. Oregon State, vs. Washington
- Washington State couldn’t upend Stanford, but they did play them tight – which is more than many can say. However, the bigger issue is that they compounded it with another loss in a home upset to pesky Cal team. They’ll need to bounce back for their hosting chances this week.
19. MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES
- 25-5 (15-2, Big East)
- Last Week: #20; Won vs. St. John’s (3-0)
- Next Week: Big East Tournament
- The Golden Eagles had one match cancelled, but then swept St. John’s. That sets up a rematch in the Big East semifinal before they potentially get another crack at Creighton, and maybe a shot at hosting in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
20. UCF GOLDEN KNIGHTS
- 26-3 (17-0, AAC)
- Last Week: #21; Won at SMU (3-0), at Houston (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. USF
- UCF stayed unbeaten in the AAC with a couple of more victories. They’re a win away from not only completing that, but likely locking up a spot hosting in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
21. TENNESSEE LADY VOLS
- 23-5 (14-2, SEC)
- Last Week: #22; Won at 23 Missouri (3-1), at Arkansas (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. Florida, vs. Ole Miss
- Tennessee continues their strong surprise season in the SEC and added another strong victory over Missouri. Then, they took out Arkansas on the road. That should cement their ticket in the NCAA Tournament, though winning one this week will make them feel more comfortable.
22. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- 20-9 (9-9, Big Ten)
- Last Week: #19; Lost at #7 Penn State (0-3); Won at Michigan State (3-1)
- Next Week: vs. Northwestern, vs. Michigan State
- Michigan still might have an outside shot at hosting, but they’ll have to win both this week. Still, that won’t be likely, but they can really get rolling heading into the postseason after suffering their third straight loss to Penn State.
23. ARIZONA WILDCATS
- 20-10 (9-9, Pac-12)
- Last Week: #24; Lost vs. #11 USC (2-3); Won vs. (RV) UCLA (3-0)
- Next Week: vs. Cal, at Arizona State
- Arizona fell to USC, but it came in a tight five sets. Then, they swept UCLA. Their RPI of 41 last week says they’d be a bubble team, though we think otherwise. Still, if they want to avoid leaving it to chance they could use two wins this week.
24. COLORADO BUFFALOES
- 17-12 (9-9, Pac-12)
- Last Week: RV; Won at #13 Oregon (3-2), at Oregon State (3-2)
- Next Week: at UCLA, at Utah
- The Buffaloes road stand to end the year started out with a bang in a win at Oregon and finished it by squeaking one out with Oregon State. Still, it’s enough to get them back to .500 in the Pac-12. Their RPI is really weak, so they probably need two more wins this week to make the postseason.
25. BAYLOR BEARS
- 18-8 (10-5, Big 12)
- Last Week: #25; Won at Texas Tech (3-1); Lost vs. #8 Texas (1-3)
- Next Week: vs. West Virginia
- The Bears couldn’t handle Texas, but did down Texas Tech and now will look to win on senior night against West Virginia. They may be #25 here, but their RPI says if they win that they’ll have a chance to host in the NCAA Tournament, so that match has some big implications.
On the Cusp/’Receiving Votes’:
Missouri (22-7)* (#23)
Stephen F. Austin (32-2)
Texas State (26-6)
Colorado State (23-7)
South Carolina (19-7)
Florida State (17-9)
Others who Dropped Out:
Note: * signifies dropped out (previous ranking)
Previous 2018 Polls:
VolleyMob Week 12
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