ESPN-W previews what it considers the top women's college volleyball teams and players in this upcoming season... Meanwhile, here is the AVCA pre-season national poll. Defending NCAA champion Stanford is a near-unanimous pick to repeat, while five B1G teams make the top eight (Nebraska 2, Minnesota 3, Wisconsin 5, Illinois 6, and Penn State 8). Texas (4) and Kentucky (7) complete the top eight.
Two years ago, I created a very simple prediction equation for the NCAA women's tournament. Each team gets its own value on the predictive measure. To calculate it, you take a team's overall hitting percentage at the end of the regular season and divide it by the hitting percentage the team allowed its opponents (in the aggregate). The result is then multiplied by an adjustment factor for conference strength, as shown here . For any match in the NCAA tourney, the team with the higher value on my measure would be expected to win. In both 2012 and 2011 , my formula did about as well as other, more complicated ranking formulas. I'm not going to do a full-scale analysis for this year's bracket , but I wanted to mention the formula and provide some sample calculations, in case anyone wanted to compute a score this week for his or her favorite team. The necessary information should be available from the volleyball page of a given school's athletics website. Here are 20