Half of the conference is ranked in the top-25
The Ohio State University women’s volleyball program comes in at No. 15 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll on the heels of not one, but two victories over nationally-ranked Florida State (then No. 14, now No. 19). While just two weeks into the 2015 season, it certainly appears the Big Ten Conference is in line for another banner year as the country’s elite women’s volleyball conference. Literally half the league, seven of 14 schools, is ranked in the top-25 with two more earning top-30 rating as teams in the ‘others receiving votes’ section of the coaches poll.
Here is a list of the Big Ten’s ranked teams this week:
#1 Penn State
#15 Ohio State
#28 Minnesota (receiving votes)
#29 Michigan State (receiving votes)
Many critics will point out national rankings are no more than a select group of people’s opinion. Ohio State and the Big Ten’s history in the NCAA Tournament have more than backed up the lofty distinctions, however. The Buckeyes are one of just 13 teams out of 334 schools fielding a Division-I program to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in three of the last five seasons. The rest of the Big Ten is no stranger to NCAA Tournament success either. Since arriving in 2008, head coach Geoff Carlston has molded Ohio State into an NCAA Tournament regular by battling through a torturous B1G schedule annually. Over the last six seasons the Big Ten has averaged over seven teams qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, including five advancements by the Buckeyes.
Simply reaching the NCAA Tournament is far from the end of the road for most B1G teams. In addition to Ohio State’s three Sweet 16s in the last five years, 31 additional Sweet 16 slots have been occupied by Big Ten teams; making up more than 30 percent of all Sweet 16 teams. In 51 NCAA Tournament appearances for Big Ten schools since ’08, 34 have advanced to the Sweet 16 (that’s a ridiculous 67 percent Sweet 16 advancement rate).