Texas Tech professor Alan Reifman uses statistics and graphic arts to illuminate developments in U.S. collegiate and Olympic volleyball. [For archives of this blog and extensive links to other volleyball sites, please click the three-line icon in upper-right corner.]
The NCAA website has an article on how women's volleyball teams' seeds predict how they do in the tourney. Data are from 2000-onward, which is as long as teams have been seeded 1-16. Two findings I found interesting were as follows (quoting from the article): Since 2000, the tournament’s No. 1 seed has won the national championship six out of 18 times. Stanford [No. 11] in 2004 and No. 9 UCLA in 2011 are the only teams seeded lower than No. 6 to win a national championship. The article also contains a chart at the bottom, listing the final four teams every year from 2000-onward, their seeds, and their ultimate national finish.
With this year's NCAA women's tournament getting underway tonight , it's time for my annual Conference-Adjusted Combined Offensive-Defensive (CACOD) ratings of the leading teams ( explanation ). In a nutshell, the CACOD takes each team's season-long hitting percentage, divides it by the aggregate hitting percentage it has allowed its opponents, and then multiplies the result by an adjustment factor for difficulty of conference. Relevant numbers for this year's seeded teams are shown as follows (with the actual CACOD ratio listed under "adjratio"). You can click on the graphic to enlarge it. The first thing that jumps out at me is that Nebraska is grossly under-seeded (No. 7), relative to its CACOD rating (best in the nation at 2.49). The Cornhuskers' defense, allowing a microscopic .130 opposition hitting percentage , is key to the high CACOD rating, along with the 1.25 adjustment factor for playing in the Big 10. And what a Big 10 season it was,
The women's college volleyball season is only three weeks old, so the Top 10 teams in the AVCA pre-season poll shouldn't have too many losses at this point, should they? Well, as shown in the following chart, the number of Top 10 teams who are still undefeated is... ONE. The number of these teams with three or more losses is... THREE. Team Good Wins Over... Losses To... 1. Stanford Penn St., Minnesota BYU 2. Nebraska Oregon (18), Creighton (14) Florida 3. Texas Oregon, Florida, Kentucky Wisconsin 4. Minnesota ? Oregon, Stanford 5. Kentucky ? Creighton, USC, N. Iowa, Texas 6. Penn State Oregon Stanford 7. Florida Nebraska Texas, USC, N. Arizona 8. BYU Stanford, USC --- 9. Wisconsin Texas Baylor 10. USC Kentucky, Creighton, Florida C. Florida, BYU, Marquette And it's not merely the number of losses by Top 10 teams. It's to w
In reflecting on Long Beach State's five-game win (25-19, 23-25, 20-25 , 26-24, 15-12) over UCLA back in May for the NCAA men's championship, there seemed to be a few possible angles to pursue. One was the re-emergence of California schools -- which had been completely absent from the last three NCAA title matches and had last hoisted the trophy in 2013 ( UC Irvine ) -- as championship combatants. A second possible angle was UCLA's aggressive serving , which led to four straight service errors at a crucial point in Game 4 (at 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, and 23-23 ). I wrote about the Bruins' serving dilemma back in 2016 and it evidently is not something they have yet solved. To me, however, it was the two-way performance of 49ers' outside-hitter TJ DeFalco , whose hitting and digging were indispensable to his team's success. DeFalco hit .419 (18 kills and 5 errors on 31 hitting attempts) and led his team with 12 digs. A method for putting a player's d
Three stories stand out to me, in looking back at the 2017 college women's season: Nebraska's turnaround from a slow start (coinciding with the loss of three senior starters from the 2016 squad) to an eventual NCAA championship. The Cornhuskers' recent domination of Penn State, in the form of a seven-match winning streak over the Nittany Lions from 2015-2017. The messy "divorce" taking place being USC and its now-former coach Mick Haley. When I visited the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in mid-October on academic business, I stopped by Husker Headquarters near the end of my trip to pick up a souvenir. What I ended up purchasing was a Nebraska "School of Volleyball" shirt. Little did I know at the time that the numbers of NCAA championships and final appearances listed on the bottom line of the shirt (click on photo to enlarge) would have to be updated so quickly. The Huskers started off the season with a 6-3 record, the losses coming to Oregon