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.]
It was an unusual spring for U.S. collegiate volleyball, thanks to COVID-19-related adjustments, with the women's championship (typically decided in December) and the men's championship (typically being decided five months later) being held only two weeks apart. The women's final was played on Saturday, April 24, 2021, with the men's on May 8. Having nearly three months to digest these matches, I present my analyses of the championships below. WOMEN'S For starters, here's a sentence I never expected to write in my lifetime (I'm 58): The Kentucky Wildcats are the new NCAA women's volleyball champions .* UK stopped Texas in four games, 20-25 , 25-18, 25-23, 25-22, to claim what really is the 2020 championship (the 2021 title will be determined this coming November). True, Kentucky was the No. 2 seed. However, previous high seeds from outside the power conferences (Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12) have rarely lived up to their placements**, so I remained skeptical.