Comparing these rankings to the Preseason poll, looks like NDSU is the most improved (from expectations) and UND is the least. Omaha and NDSU will likely do well in conference play. They have had the toughest non-conference schedules, followed by Denver and USD.
Denver had a couple of head-scratching losses in the non-con. Could just be a fluke, or might be a sign of taking a step back. They are a talented team, so it might just be the coach trying to find the right lineup. We had a tough couple of tournaments in Arkansas and California last year before going on a tear in the conference.
Omaha appears prominently in the team stats in several categories. I'm surprised how well they are playing with a new coach and without their all-star setter. Isabella Sade is a great hitter/blocker/server.
I can see a scenario where both Denver and USD are ranked in the at-large bid territory again this season. THat would be great for the conference! Safe to say USD is having it's best start in this sport in program history.
Post by yoteforever on Sept 23, 2019 11:09:01 GMT -6
It’s all very impressive. Only loss was to Iowa State. The Cyclones are traditionally a ranked team but this year they are down a little. I was at that match and that’s the best the Cyclones played by far and I thought our gals were a little uptight that night. If we played them again on neutral floor I’d give us a 50/50 shot to win it.
We are a good team. Get to the arena and back these gals. In all honesty, the next step forward is becoming a regional power. This is really good stuff people.
Think of it in terms of what Gonzaga is to men’s basketball. We’re not there yet but trending that way.
I like Massey for a better idea of actual team strength, where the RPI is more basic and really rewards a tough schedule. RPI is how the tournament committee picks at-large bids, so it is important for that reason. Even more so than in WBB because of the lack of other data. ORU and NDSU are good examples. NDSU had one of the toughest schedules in the conference, and the RPI is rewarding them, where ORU is ranked at the bottom of RPI, but I would put them in the middle of the conference.
As far as a summary of current conference stats rankings.... USD is #1 in all major categories (I don't look at totals) but is #2 in Service Aces/set behind Omaha.
Omaha is #2 in most of those categories, but appears to have poor blocking numbers, and average digs/set. So defense in general. I think they will end up being our primary competition for the title.
PFW appears to be #3 in most categories, but is poor in service aces/set. They are #2 in blocking. These stats point to a team that should be a conference contender, but has had a rough non-conference. The win over Denver maybe shouldn't have been unexpected.
Denver is #4 or #5 in almost every stat. They are the worst summit team in digs/set. Last year they were also low ranked in digs, but they were the #1 blocking team then, so that might have been a factor. This year they are #4 in blocking. I predict future losses to USD/Omaha/PFW. Strange to say that about them.
ORU is right in the average range for most stats. I could see them finishing #4 or #5, and safely in the 6-team tournament. As for the last spot, NDSU, SDSU and WIU are too unpredictable to know who will get in. I haven't seen anything that indicates UND will contend for #6.
Just a few outstanding stats from this team, as of Sunday:
14.78 kills per set = #5 in the country
0.294 Hitting % = #5 in the country
13.73 Assists per set = #6 in the country 11.92 Assists per set (Jugens) = #2 in the Country
And those are just the top-ten stats. I don't have time to itemize the rest of them, but Rasmussen is back on top of the digs/set standings for the league. both of our starting MBs are in the top 5 in blocks (Harms, Weidenfeld). Jurgens has never not lead in assists/set. Two OHs are in the top 5 in kills/set and points/set.
Really hard to find any weaknesses.
It's early, but we could be looking at a sweep of POY (Juhnke) FOY (Juhnke) DPOY (Rasmussen) SOY (Jurgens) and COY (Williams)
Maybe they would break it up and give DPOY to the best blocker (right now Brianna Green, Denver or Mackenzie Steckler, WIU)
I could also see POY go to Sade (Omaha) or Madison (ORU), but I think FOY and SOY have to be ours to lose at this point. COY as well.
There appears to be a lot of correlation between the two, but Massey is more accurate IMO. Omaha is better than NDSU, and ORU belongs in the middle tier with NDSU and PFW in my opinion. Overall, I'd rate Denver and Omaha higher as well, with USD in the top tier. The close matches bears this out, although both Denver and Omaha have fallen to middle-tier teams at least once. Here's my assessment:
Top Tier USD Denver/Omaha
Middle Tier PFW/NDSU/ORU
Bottom Tier UND/SDSU/WIU
So I'd say that USD will have to try to not get upset in Omaha or vs Denver, Omaha/Denver will be fighting for the 2-seed and BYE in the tournament, the middle tier teams will be fighting for seed, and the bottom tier will be fighting to get into the 6-team playoff.
Both rankings are similar, but Massey doesn't like NDSU as much as the RPI does. I'll chalk that up to the RPI's emphasis on Strength of Schedule. PFW and ORU get higher marks from Massey. The Jacks and Hawks have traded places in both polls. I could potentially see the Jacks making a run in the second half of the conference season, and getting into the conference tournament over ORU. Maybe.
There is a good deal of agreement in the two polls right now. The main discrepancy is how well PFW has done in the conference standings vs the overall season. I think that likely shows the improvement they have made from the non-conference to now. Watching them on Sunday, they are indeed a good team. That Libero is good, and so is Crowe and their blockers. Luckily the Yotes were just playing at a really high level that day and took it to them.
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