Applied to sports teams, a poll (sometimes called a rating) involves an opinion of a team’s performances by someone who is knowledgeable about both the sport involved and the team in question. A poll is therefore an informed opinion and a subsequent ordering of teams based upon this informed opinion. A ranking involves an analysis, either mathematical or statistical, based on the performance of a team and the performances of its opponents. A ranking is therefore a mathematical or statistical analysis which evaluates the performances of teams. Polls and rankings complement each other because each represents a different viewpoint and a different “skill set” in terms of evaluating volleyball performance.

Here’s the Net Set Top Ten Rankings, based upon the AVCA Poll of February 20, the OTB Poll of February 21, and the Pablo Ranking of February 20.

 NS Rank School Plays In W-L NS Index AVCA Poll 2/20/17 OTB Poll 2/21/17 Pablo Rank 2/20/17 1 Ohio State Buckeyes MIVA 15-0 1.33 1 1 2 2 Long Beach 49ers MPSF 13-2 1.67 2 2 1 3 BYU Cougars MPSF 12-2 3.33 3 3 4 4 Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors MPSF 14-2 3.67 4 4 3 T5 Lewis Flyers MIVA 11-3 5.67 5 5 7 T5 UCLA Bruins MPSF 10-6 5.67 6 6 5 7 UC Irvine Anteaters MPSF 9-5 7.00 7 T8 6 8 Stanford Cardinal MPSF 9-5 8.00 8 T8 8 9 Loyola Ramblers MIVA 9-4 8.33 9 7 9 10 Pepperdine Wave MPSF 6-5 10.67 10 10 12

And, waiting in the wings should any of the current Top Ten falter, are the Ball State Cardinals of the MIVA and the Cal State Northridge Matadors of the MPSF. Both teams are having excellent seasons and additionally, both teams must be considered credible threats to reach the National Championship tournament.

The Net Set Ranking is a mathematical, numerical average based upon performances of teams in three other polls/rankings. In the Net Set Ranking, the team’s position in each of the three other polls is totaled and then averaged to create a Net Set Index. This Net Set Index is then arranged, or ranked, in ascending order, with the lowest Net Set Index determining the number 1 team, the next lowest Net Set Index determining the number 2 team, and so forth. By combining polls and rankings into a single index number, we obtain both the mathematical benefits of the rankings and the human performance insights of coaches and journalists from the polls.

Net Set Rankings and the Net Set Index are a mathematical average from these three polls/rankings.

1. The AVCA Coaches Poll (2/13/2017). The AVCA, or the American Volleyball Coaches Association, publishes an outstanding weekly poll for each volleyball division from its member coaches in that division. Thus, DI – DII Coaches are voting on the teams in the DI – DII poll, providing their unique insights since these are the coaches who have seen the DI and DII teams up-close and personal. The latest AVCA Coaches Poll is available on the AVCA website at AVCA.org.

2. OTB/Springbak, Inc. National Media Poll (2/14/2017). The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Media Poll is the only ranking in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball solely determined by media members. The 10 teams receiving the most votes are ranked in the National Media Poll. The latest OTB poll is available on the Off the Block blog at OfftheBlockblog.com.

3. The Pablo Rankings (2/6/2017). The Pablo Rankings are an incredibly ingenious ranking system that operates on a probabilistic, algorithmic approach and analyzes and measures the difference in abilities between two teams overall and in a match. In terms of accuracy and predictive analytics, the Pablo Rankings are the most accurate probabilistic model available today. You can find a detailed explanation of the Pablo Rankings on the MiddleHitter website at MiddleHitter.com.

In this edition of the Net Set Top Ten Ranking, Ohio State is once again ranked “Number One”, and the Buckeyes have earned the position with a stellar and so far undefeated record. Seven of these ten teams (70.0%) play in the MPSF and the remaining three teams (30.0%) play in the MIVA. Once again, neither the Conference Carolinas nor the EIVA cracked this ranking. Since there are only 46 teams total in NCAA DI – DII (counting four teams from Puerto Rico which are DII members but rarely play in the continental US) these ten teams represent 21.7% of those 46 teams. And, just so you don’t have to scroll up for review, here’s the Net Set Top Ten for February 21 once again

 NS Rank School Plays In W-L NS Index AVCA Poll 2/20/17 OTB Poll 2/21/17 Pablo Rank 2/20/17 1 Ohio State Buckeyes MIVA 15-0 1.33 1 1 2 2 Long Beach 49ers MPSF 13-2 1.67 2 2 1 3 BYU Cougars MPSF 12-2 3.33 3 3 4 4 Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors MPSF 14-2 3.67 4 4 3 T5 Lewis Flyers MIVA 11-3 5.67 5 5 7 T5 UCLA Bruins MPSF 10-6 5.67 6 6 5 7 UC Irvine Anteaters MPSF 9-5 7.00 7 T8 6 8 Stanford Cardinal MPSF 9-5 8.00 8 T8 8 9 Loyola Ramblers MIVA 9-4 8.33 9 7 9 10 Pepperdine Wave MPSF 6-5 10.67 10 10 12

LET’S GROW VOLLEYBALL!