This past weekend had a lot of shakeups with many of the teams in the poll losing at least one match. No. 6 Penn State lost to LBSU and CSUN. No. 7 UCSB lost to UCLA twice. No. 8 Hawaii lost to BYU twice. No. 9 Pepperdine lost to Stanford. No. 10 Ball State split two matches with Grand Canyon. No. 12 Loyola and No. 13 Lewis lost to Ohio State. and No. 15 Cal Baptist split matches with USC. As you can see 8 of the bottom of 10 teams in the polls lost this past week and only two of those teams came out of the weekend with a victory. However, what we did see this past week is that the top 5 teams truly asserted their claim on the top of the mountain. No. 1 LBSU took their top spot back to the east coast and came away with a big victory over Penn State, the top team in EIVA. No. 2 BYU traveled to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to take on Hawaii, who just a few weeks ago was looked at as one of the top teams in the nation. No. 5 Ohio State gave perennial MIVA contenders and last year’s NCAA championship game participants Lewis and Loyola another tick mark in the Loss column.
A couple of weeks ago I pointed out that the poll was showing four solid natural breaks in the point distribution in the ratings, each with about a 40-45 point differential. If you look this week you really only see one break, and it is a large one. No. 5 Ohio State garnered 220 points, which is the equivalent of 20 5th-place votes. No. 6 Penn State received just 166 points, to put that in perspective No. 8 Hawaii received just 5 points less. 54 points separates No. 5 and No. 6 and just 79 points separate No. 1 from No. 5. The cool part about it is that the VMRI agrees, in a more general sense, with the Top 5 teams in the nation. Here are the top 5 teams in the VMRI for the entire season:
And if we look at the past four weeks:
I could have some fun talking about the the exact positioning of the bottom 10 teams but when it comes down to the end of the season all that really matters is winning conference tournaments then the next two best teams. Unless Penn State can beat Ohio State both times in the next couple of weeks and Ohio State drops a few more it is looking like the EIVA and Conference of Carolinas regular season champions won’t be up near the top of the rankings and some MPSF teams will duke it out for those at-large bids.
Check out this week’s post for the Match of the Week to see a breakdown of the LBSU, Ohio State matchup.