The opening weekend is almost in the books, with matches finishing out today. Obviously, preseason polls can be inaccurate in certain places since it is based on assumption and not what has happened, so let’s take a look into what both VolleyMob and the AVCA most got right and wrong, respectively, in each preseason poll (can be seen below the list of preseason rakings):
|21||San Diego||Iowa State|
|22||Iowa State||Michigan State|
|25||Cal Poly||Colorado State|
Note: It’s easy to say some high-ranking teams who didn’t play anyone special and got wins went right, but that won’t be included
VolleyMob’s Top 25
What went right?
- Florida ahead of Kentucky:
- Coming into the year we had Florida edging out Kentucky because of the Wildcats loss of middles and libero to hamper their defense. Still, we didn’t expect Florida to upend Nebraska on the road of Kentucky to go 0-3, but as of right now let’s focus on this positive even though we were still off on where each team should be ranked – at least for now.
- Washington, Baylor & Pittsburgh in the middle:
- The Huskies, despite losing a ton from last season, still have plenty of talent, it’s just a bit unproven. They took care of San Diego and looked like a top 15 team and at the very least much better than USD. Baylor also downed a pair of solid teams in #24 Marquette and (RV) LSU while Pittsburgh showed out with some of their expectations.
- Northern Iowa in the top 20:
- Even this could be construed as too low – and sure enough the Panthers will be receiving a nice boost for the week two rankings, but for a team that wasn’t getting notoriety in the AVCA Poll, to have them #20 and see them show out was vindication.
- San Diego below Washington and outside the top 20:
- This one ties in with Washington, and while the AVCA Poll had USD higher than the Huskies, we viewed it differently. Sure enough, Washington won both matches over San Diego.
What went wrong?
- We had Texas at number six because of questions once again about the passing and serving. They looked vastly improved in those regards though and obviously have all the power you could want at the net. They will likely be a top two or three team in next week’s VolleyMob Top 25.
- The lone team on both lists. Even at #8 it was probably too high, especially after what we saw from a team in their same tournament a few spots below in #10 USC. They’re not as far off as their record indicates, and had a brutal opening three matches, but have a lot to work on.
- I hesitate to put this one on the list because they were without their top blocker in Naghede Abu, but they still should have enough to down Wyoming on the road. Maybe it’s also a sign that the MWC could be strong this year with Wyoming & Colorado State at the top.
- Iowa State:
- This could just be a one-off where the Cyclones just had a poor early season loss at home in five sets, and it also came against a 2017 NCAA Tournament in Oregon State. Still, being ranked 22nd might be just a tad too high.
AVCA Top 25
What went right?
- While we had Texas at sixth because of passing concerns, the AVCA had them at three, which looks much more accurate now. The Longhorns look like a true title contender.
- Baylor & Pittsburgh in the middle:
- We had Pitt a bit higher and only time will tell on that front, but going back to what was said above, each of these top 20 teams impressed in week one to earn their ranking.
- Colorado State:
- The Rams almost upended Illinois at home, but just fell short in five sets. Still, Illinois has high hopes for 2018, so that was an impressive loss for Colorado State and they look like a top 25 caliber team.
What went wrong?
- This one goes right in line with where we had Kentucky, but I guess the saving grace from our poll was they weren’t in the top five or ahead of Florida. It’ll be interesting to see where the Wildcats drop to in next week’s rankings.
- San Diego:
- 14 seemed a little high to begin the year at the time with the loss of a couple of star players and that came to fruition with two road losses to Washington. They’re still a really good team, but that preseason ranking might not have been realistic.
- Same ranking in the AVCA that it was in VolleyMob, so I suppose it goes here. Again though, hard to faul Colorado too much or have expected this from Wyoming.
- The Utes being ranked in the top 20 was a bit of a head scratcher after they lost some key players, namely Adora Anae, from 2017. It appeared to be more of a situation where it was a respect vote from last season, but they were upended by Saint Mary’s over the weekend and shouldn’t be a top 25 team anymore.
- Iowa State:
- Read above in the VolleyMob section ^
- Michigan State:
- This should really be number one. The Spartans didn’t bring back a single starter outside of the libero. It was more of a respect pick from last season. They lost in their opener in four to Tennessee, a team picked to finish in the back half of the SEC.
- Teams not ranked (Northern Iowa & Marquette):
- Both showed out in week one – although more so for UNI. The loss for Marquette will keep them off voters radars while Northern Iowa should be a top 15-20 level team. In fact, UNI – who downed Kentucky and Creighton – didn’t receive a single vote in the preseason AVCA poll!