Texas on top of NCAA DI volleyball committee’s first top-10 reveal

The NCAA DI women’s volleyball committee revealed its first top 10 on Sunday, Oct. 2. Texas maintains the No. 1 spot, as expected, followed by Louisville and San Diego. Here is the full ranking: 




1 Texas 10-0
2 Louisville 12-1
3 San Diego 13-1
4 Nebraska 11-1
5 Pittsburgh 13-2
6 Ohio State 7-5
7 Oregon 9-2
8 Stanford 7-4
9 Purdue 12-1
10 Minnesota 6-5

The San Diego Toreros received the No. 3 slot over the Nebraska Huskers, — San Diego holds the three-spot in the AVCA poll. Pitt is up at No. 5, five spots up from its No. 10 AVCA ranking, followed by Ohio State. The Buckeyes are up at No. 6 with its 7-5 record. The biggest surprise is Oregon at No. 7 in the committee’s top 10 as the Ducks were ranked all the way down at No. 16 in last week’s AVCA poll. The Ducks have two close losses to Minnesota and Penn State, but a huge sweep over Stanford. 

The committee rewarded Oregon for the head-to-head win, placing them one spot above the Cardinal who are 7-4 on the season. Lastly, Purdue and Minnesota close out the top 10 at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. The biggest exclusion to the top 10 is Wisconsin — the Badgers were at No. 8 in last week’s AVCA poll and just swept Penn State on Friday, Sept. 30. 

Keep in mind, these rankings are through games Oct. 1, but they give us a glimpse of how the committee views these teams and what they value the most ahead of actual selections for the NCAA tournament. My biggest takeaway from this ranking is just how highly the committee values ranked wins — especially top 10 wins. Ohio State, for one, has five losses on the season, but three top-10 wins and a five-set loss to a top-three team. The committee values that more than say a Wisconsin team — who has a win over then-No.24 Marquette, then No.14 Kentucky, and then-No.9 Penn State. Or a PSU team that has two wins over two top-15 teams in Stanford and Oregon. 

Oregon has two losses on the season, but both are to ranked teams in Minnesota and Penn State. I am slightly surprised by the No. 7 ranking, considering its only ranked win is over Stanford. But to that same point, their only two losses are “good losses” to solid, ranked teams. The Ducks are looking pretty similar to Purdue right now, as the Boilermakers have just one big ranked win over Minnesota, but only one loss, which is to No. 2 Louisville. 

Minnesota is an interesting one, making it into the top 10 with a 7-5 record. The Gophers wins are over Baylor, Florida, Oregon and Wisconsin, but they do have losses to Stanford, Pepperdine, Purdue and Northwestern. Pepperdine was No. 22 at the time of the loss, but Northwestern was unranked when they pulled off the upset. 

Head-to-head seems to be important, when possible, to the committee as well. Oregon got the edge over Stanford, despite the Cardinal having more ranked wins than the Ducks. Purdue also is placed one spot above Minnesota, and the Boilermakers swept Minnesota. But again, Purdue has far less ranked wins than Minnesota, but the head-to-head over the Gophers. 

This season has been so crazy already, and with so much parity, it is so difficult to rank these teams and stick to a certain logic. The eye-test is likely a big driver of these rankings, as the committee has regional advisory boards who get to watch each and every match.  RPI and strength of schedule is also likely a BIG factor here. We still have a long ways to go, and the committee will release a second top-10 ranking before selections.