Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who are volleyball's giants?


Are the Washington Huskies one of volleyball’s “giants?”

Here’s how I began a post last week about Washington’s 2012 schedule:

Two volleyball giants—Washington and Penn State—will square off this September in State College, Pennsylvania.

Washington celebrates its 2005 title
after defeating Nebraska
I soon heard back from a reader who disagreed. Without offering his/her own list, the reader thought the Huskies do not deserve to be mentioned among volleyball’s elite.

Realizing I had lauded Washington based on gut reaction rather than research, I decided to crunch some numbers to see if my description was justified.

And so, I checked data from the past ten years, and came up with my own ranking of Division 1 women’s volleyball top ten over the past decade. I then tried to cobble a list of those who might deserve to be in the next ten—not quite giants.

Check out my rankings, then weigh in with your own list!

DIVISION 1 VOLLEYBALL: 2002-2011


NATIONAL
CHAMPS
FINAL
FOURS
ELITE
EIGHTS
W-L
PCT.
1.
Penn State
4
4
5
315-37
.895
Four consecutive national titles, compete in nation's second-toughest conference
2.
USC
2
6
6
260-60
.813
Six Final Fours, two titles ('02 & '03), compete in the nation’s top conference
3.
Stanford
1
5
6
278-55
.835
Five Final Fours, finished first in ’04 and second in ’02, ’06, ’07 & ‘08
t4.
Nebraska
1
3
7
296-32
.902
’06 champs, seven Elite Eights; impressive W-L record built largely before 2011 move to Big-10
t4.
Washington
1
3
6
258-61
.809
’05 champs, 2-1 vs. Nebraska, eight matches every season vs. Stanford, USC, UCLA, Cal
6.
UCLA
1
2
5
239-95
.716
’11 champs, lots of wins against other teams in this Top Ten
7.
Texas
0
3
6
247-60
.805
Three Final Fours, six Elite Eights, conference even easier now that Nebraska gone
8.
Minnesota
0
3
4
261-87
.750
Three Final Fours, usually among top three in tough Big-10
9.
Hawai’i
0
3
4
306-36
.895
Three Final Fours, tons of wins in a second-tier conference, rarely allowed to host playoffs
10.
Florida
0
2
4
296-37
.889
Two Final Fours, a weaker conference, many bitter playoff losses, several at home

next 10 teams
(alphabetical)
California
Colorado State
Illinois
Long Beach State
Michigan
Oregon
Pepperdine
Wisconsin
San Diego
Tennessee
close, no cigar
(alphabetical)
Arizona
Ball State
Iowa State
Kansas State
Ohio State
Purdue
Santa Clara
UC Santa Barbara
Utah
Western Kentucky

How would you rank 'em? 

5 comments:

  1. Good research and a good list, Jack. Despite USC's two titles in 2002 and '03, in recent years (until last year) Stanford might edge up to No. 2 if I were to attempt a Top 10 for the time frame you survey. The Cardinal seemed to be UW's chief nemesis during Washington's prime Tomasevic-Thompson-Morrison-Lee years (2004-06). Interesting to ponder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a tough call between USC & Stanford. In the end, it was because--over the past ten years--the Trojans lead in national championships 2-1, and in Final Four appearances 6-5.

      I would have listed Nebraska #4 and Washington #5, except that the Pac-12 is so much tougher than the Big 12 (where Nebraska played most of the decade), and UW leads NU 2-1 head-to-head during that period. In the end, I listed them as tied at #4.

      Delete
  2. Your "crunch"(es) for MANY of your top 10 get muffled (some where along the 'projected' future-way) do in LARGE part to trendy "sand".
    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. (1) Stanford, (2) Penn State, (3) Nebraska, (4) USC, (5) Texas, (6) Florida (t7) Hawai'i (t7) Washington--JMac's era, (t9) California--Feller's era (t9) UCLA, (...#10)Iowa State--Johnson's era.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would have to agree with you Jack. Might even put UW ahead of Nebraska based on UW winning two of the three head to head matches in the NCAA tournament since 2005. Plus the PAC 10/12 is far superior to the Big 12.

    ReplyDelete

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