My men’s volleyball media poll ballot

The majority of teams being on bye weeks created more stability in the national rankings this week.

UCLA moving past BYU to No. 3 and Long Beach State jumping ahead of Ohio State to No. 9 were the only changes in the new top 10 national media poll released Tuesday.


Check out this week’s top 10 men’s volleyball media poll and my ballot with explanations on why I ranked each team where I did.

Let the debate begin on who are the best teams in the nation.

Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Top 10 Poll
1. UC Irvine — 100 (10) points
2. USC — 88 points
3. UCLA — 78 points
4. BYU — 70 points
5. Stanford — 57 points
6. Penn State — 48 points
7. Lewis — 45 points
8. Pepperdine — 32 points
9. Long Beach State — 18 points
10. Ohio State — 10 points
Others receiving votes: Harvard

My Volleyball Magazine Men’s Division I-II Top 10 Poll ballot
1. UC Irvine (18-3, 14-3 MPSF)

Last week’s results:
idle
It was a well desrved bye week for the Anteaters. UC Irvine is on a nine-match winning streak and remains in first place in the MPSF with a half-match lead on second-place UCLA. The Anteaters now need to make sure the bye week didn’t kill their momentum heading into their weekend home match against the Bruins.

2. USC (16-4, 12-4 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated George Mason
So much for the so-called rebuilding year for USC after losing four starters from last year’s team. The Trojans are on a nation-best 11 match winning streak and in contention for the lone at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Regardless of how USC’s season ends, coach Bill Ferguson deserves serious consideration for National Coach of the Year.

3. UCLA (19-4, 13-3 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
idle
UCLA despite not playing a match last week move up one spot on my ballot this week thanks to BYU’s loss to Long Beach State. UCLA following its bye week now enters its season-ending gauntlet with four of its remaining six matches against UC Irvine, BYU and Stanford.

4. BYU (18-5, 14-4 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
split two-match series with Long Beach State
So BYU is beatable in the MPSF with All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander in the lineup. All it took was Long Beach State to hit .357 and have five players with at least 10 kills. Even in the loss, though, Sander had a match-high 25 kills.

5. Lewis (19-4, 5-1 MIVA)
Last week’s results:
defeated IPFW
Lewis convincingly swept IPFW to avenge its early-season upset loss to the Mastodons. The Flyers lead the MIVA with a .324 attack percentage — the only MIVA team to have more than a .300 attack percentage — and look primed to return to the Final Four.

6. Penn State (16-3, 9-0 EIVA)
Last week’s results:
defeated NJIT and Rutgers-Newark
Time to hit the panic button in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions during the weekend lost their first conference set of the season. In all seriousness, whether Penn State would lose a set in the EIVA this season was the about the only remaining question for the Nittany Lions in conference play.

7. Stanford (14-5, 11-4 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
idle
Stanford will finally end its 23-day hibernation and return to the court this weekend. It’s been so long since this team last played it’s almost like the start of a new season for the Cardinal.

8. Pepperdine (12-10, 7-9 MPSF)
Last week’s results:
defeated George Mason
Pepperdine setter Matt West is second in the MPSF and leads all freshmen in the nation with a 11.43 assists per game average. In addition, Pepperdine outside attackers Maurice Torres and Josh Taylor are in the conference’s top 10 for kills per game average. The Waves will the scariest low seed to face in the MPSF Tournament.

9. Harvard (14-3, 6-2 EIVA)
Last week’s result:
defeated Sacred Heart
Yes, Harvard does not have the toughest schedule in the nation. However, the Crimson continue to just beat all the opponents on their schedule and have won eight of their last nine matches. Until Harvard loses, it will remain on my top 10 ballot.

10. Ohio State (14-8, 4-3 MIVA)
Last week’s results:
split two match series with Quincy
Something is just not right with the Buckeyes since their bye week two weeks ago. Ohio State lost to Ball State coming out of the bye and then suffered its first loss in program history to Quincy. The good news for Ohio State is it has three weeks to fix what’s wrong before the start of the MIVA Tournament.

On the bubble
Long Beach State —
The 49ers looked impressive in its upset victory against the Cougars. When Long Beach State gets back to winning record it will be back on my top 10 ballot.