The season is just over the half way point, and to start off this Match of the Week, let’s look at which teams are making a push. Nebraska just regained it’s spot at #1, while Texas leapfrogged Minnesota and Wisconsin for the #2 spot. Currently, 16/25 spots in the AVCA Coaches Poll consists of teams from either the Pac-12 or the Big 10. Teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Washington State, and San Diego, who began the season unranked, are consistently in the AVCA’s top 20 each week. Teams are continually moving around the top 25, which makes it interesting to see how each week’s polls will look like. With this is mind, VolleyMetrics will feature three Matches of the Week, which are shown below:
Depending on how these matches play out, they can do a lot to shake up next week’s polls. The first match-up is between #1 Nebraska and #3 Minnesota. Both teams made it to the Final Four last year and are looking to head there again. In our VolleyMetrics rankings, Nebraska is the best overall team in the country, along with Florida and Penn State. They exceed the league average in every statistical category. They will be hosting Minnesota, and they are predicted to win by a margin of 74.34%.
The next match-up is #16 Michigan and #9 Penn State. Although this match will be played in Ann Arbor, home court advantage will not be enough to help Michigan win. Penn State is the only undefeated team in the Big 10, and they have beaten four ranked opponents in conference play. Look for them to continue to play well and defeat #16 Michigan this week. They have moved up in the AVCA polls in the last few weeks, and have a chance of being in the top 5 if they can win both of their matches this week.
The last match-up is a Pac-12 showdown between #15 UCLA and #14 Stanford. Both of these teams, as well as 5 other teams, are currently 5-3 in the Pac-12 standings. There are 7 Pac-12 teams in the AVCA rankings, so this game will not only affect the AVCA rankings, but the Pac-12 standings as well. UCLA is playing at home in this match-up, but it looks like Stanford will still have the edge. Both teams are similar in our ratings, but Stanford appears to have the advantage in attacking and blocking. This plays a big role in the outcome of a match.
All of these matches feature great teams looking for big wins. Make sure to check our blog for other interesting insights into volleyball.
Watch these three matches this week.
#14 Stanford @ #15 UCLA,October 21
#9 Penn State @ #16 Michigan, October 22
#3 Minnesota @ #1 Nebraska, October 23