The NIVC isn’t quite the NCAA Tournament – that’s no secret. But while it’s a chance for schools who were left out to add success to the season and continue their year or career, is it possible that the extra play can help a team take a step forward for the next season.
Let’s take a look at some case studies from the first edition last season, and if those extra matches and practices were a springboard to 2018 with the teams who made deep runs in the event:
Ole Miss Rebels, 2017 NIVC Champion
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 17-14, (8-10, SEC)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 14-18, (4-14, SEC)
- In the Rebels case, they failed to see a big boost to the next season. A stronger SEC would likely explain this.
Texas Tech Red Raiders, 2017 NIVC Runner-Up
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 15-14, (4-12, Big 12)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 17-13 (6-10, Big 12)
- So in the Red Raiders case, they’ve seen a bump this season by returning some talent. They even lost five of their last six and still usurped last season’s regular season mark.
TCU Horned Frogs, 2017 NIVC Final Four
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 12-16 (4-12, Big 12)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 15-12 (7-9, Big 12)
- TCU has a sophomore heavy team, so it would make sense that the extra play and repetition helped them.
West Virginia Mountaineers, 2017 NIVC Final Four
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 18-12 (6-10, Big 12)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 11-19 (2-14, Big 12)
- The Mountaineers lost five key seniors and their top player to transfer after 2017, so it’d make sense they didn’t see a boost.
Green Bay Phoenix, 2017 NIVC Quarterfinals
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 15-15 (9-7, Horizon)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 20-10 (13-3, Horizon)
- The Pheonix got one of the biggest boosts from playing in the event, as they made a jump to league champ and the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
UC Irvine Anteaters, 2017 NIVC Quarterfinals
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 22-7 (10-6, Big West)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 16-12 (10-6, Big West)
- The Anteaters lost some talent from last year and had a tougher non-conference slate, but wound up with the same record in league play.
Georgia Bulldogs, 2017 NIVC Quarterfinals
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 20-11 (10-8, SEC)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 15-14 (6-12, SEC)
- The Bulldogs were on pace to be an NCAA Tournament team early this year, but fell off, limiting any big jump from last year to this. A stronger SEC likely hurt them as well.
Syracuse Orange, 2017 NIVC Quarterfinals
- 2017 Regular Season Record: 20-13 (12-8, ACC)
- 2018 Regular Season Record: 18-8 (14-4, ACC)
- The Orange played less matches than last year but logged a stronger winning percentage, a better mark in the ACC and made the NCAA Tournament behind a team that returned all kinds of letterwinners.
So what’s the conclusion?
The average regular season record for teams in the event in 2017 and made the quarterfinals or further was 17-13 and conference records of 8-9. This season, those teams averaged to combine for regular season marks of 16-13 and conference records of 8-9 – so pretty much the same. Additionally, two teams made the NCAA Tournament.
What that means is there’s not an overarching boost for everyone involved. But, if you look at a majority of the teams who were either young or returned a lot of players, that extra play likely helped them as a springboard to 2018 – such as Syracuse, TCU and Green Bay.
It’s still a small sample size after just one NIVC to go off of, but that’ll be something to watch in the 2018 version: can the teams who make a deep run use that to start off a stronger 2019 season.