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VBM Super 16: Minor top-half shuffling; Purdue, Dayton, Kansas get back in

Pittsburgh celebrated Saturday after beating Louisville/Pitt photo

The top 11 spots were more or less the same in this week’s Super 16 Media Poll, but there was some minor movement.

Two teams dropped out and we welcomed back Purdue, Dayton and Kansas:

Rank, Team, Points (Last week)
1. Nebraska, 192 (1)
2. Stanford, 179 (2)
3. Wisconsin, 163 (3)
4. Pittsburgh, 156 (6)
5. Louisville, 139 (4)
6. Oregon, 133 (5)
7. Texas, 123 (7)
8. Kentucky, 104 (8)
9. Tennessee, 97 (9)
10. Arkansas, 75 (10)
11. Washington State, 57 (12)
12. Purdue, 42 (NR)
13. Creighton, 37 (14)
14. Penn State, 32 (15)
15. Georgia Tech, 29 (11)
T-16. Dayton, 18 (NR)
T-16. Kansas, 18 (NR)

First place votes: Nebraska received all 12
Also receiving votes:
Arizona State, BYU, Florida State, Western Kentucky
Dropped out: Arizona State, BYU

Previous VBM Super 16 Media Poll Results

Week 8: November 13
Week 7:
November 6
Week 6:  
October 30
Week 5: 
October 23
Week 4: 
October 16
Week 3: October 9
Week 2: October 2
Week 1: September 25

The voters

Emily Ehman @emilyehman) — Big Ten Network, ESPN analyst; former Northwestern DS
Ed Strong (@VBMagazine) — super Tweeter
Michella Chester (@michellachester) — THE volleyball voice of
Daniel Gillman (@DanielGillman/@SixRotations) — host of Six Rotations for the AVCA, Cal Poly play-by-play
Lincoln Arneal (@Lincoln_VB) — Nebraska beat writer for Huskers Illustrated and co-host of Volleyball State podcast
Sam Gore (@sambgore) — veteran broadcaster/studio host who does ESPN volleyball play-by-play, host of the Fifth Set during the NCAA Tournament
Mick Haley (@Michaelhaley6) — ESPN analyst, former national-championship coach at Texas and USC and 2000 Olympic coach
Dennis Punzel (@DennisPunzel) — Wisconsin beat writer for the Wisconsin State Journal, author of Point! Wisconsin
Abby Benton (@numberonevolleyball) — played at DII Catawba and DIII William Peace and has 48.6K Instagram followers and more than 90K on TikTok
Anne Marie Anderson (@AnneMAnderson, @annemarieandersontv) — Emmy Award winner, volleyball play-by-play veteran who works NCAA matches for the Pac-12 Network, Big Ten Network and ESPN; played at Hofstra, where she still ranks in the top 10 in blocks
Shelby Coppedge (@shelbycoppedge) — ESPN analyst, former Texas A&M-Corpus Christi DS
Lee Feinswog (@VBMagazine) — editor of

Voter comments

Benton: 3-6 was super hard! I put Oregon in the 3 spot because they won both their matches this week and one of those was a ranked win vs. Arizona State. I put Wisconsin at 4 because although they lost to Purdue, not having Smrek played a large role. I put Pitt above Louisville because I just can’t put a team with relatively zero chance of winning the ACC title above a team who has likely clinched at least a share of the title. Other notes include sliding Georgia Tech down after losing to Miami, and then I had a tough time deciding whether to have Kansas or BYU in the final slot. Part of me also wanted to put Florida State in the mix since they likely have at least a share of the ACC title. Maybe next week 🙂

Arneal: The ACC and SEC races have really muddled the rankings. Pitt gets elevated to the top five after winning one of the best matches of the year in five sets over Louisville. Florida State has been playing well but has some puzzling non-conference losses.  I have the top three SEC teams clustered around the bottom of the top Ten. Kentucky at Arkansas is the best match this week since the stakes of Wisconsin-Nebraska have been lowered.

Wisconsin doesn’t fall past No. 3 despite losing without Anna Smrek. The fourth regional host comes down to Texas vs. Pitt. The Longhorns might be hurt by Ohio State and Minnesota not being their usual selves this year and taking a little shine off those non-conference wins. Pitt’s pair of wins against Kentucky look better each week.

Punzel: Not a lot of changes again this week. Seems like the best teams have identified themselves pretty well. I bumped Stanford up a spot to No. 2 ahead of Wisconsin, which I kept at 3 because all three of its losses have come against high level teams. All the other contenders have more losses with at least one against a non-elite team. I dropped BYU this week and added Purdue at No. 13. Should be a fun week ahead.

Ehman: 1-3 stays (Nebraska, Stanford, Wisconsin). Pitt, Louisville, Texas and Oregon could truly be any order and I think I’d say “yeah that makes sense.” I’ve got Pitt at 4 — better losses than the rest and the Louisville win was important.

Gilman: I think a few teams secured their spot as seeds this weekend (Purdue, Arkansas, Kansas) with a few more looking for big finishes to their season (Georgia Tech, especially with a matchup with Louisville). Of course Badgers-Huskers will be incredible but Wednesday is one of the best days of the year, Georgia Tech-Louisville, Arizona State-Washington State, Kentucky-Arkansas.

Chester: A lot of tough decisions this week. Had a hard time deciding if I should move down Wisconsin for another loss this week to Purdue. But ultimately, I didn’t feel anyone else’s schedule and win/loss resumes justified going ahead of Wisconsin’s. Not to mention the two losses were without Anna Smrek and to two teams that are playing really well right now. After the Badgers — Pitt, Louisville and and Oregon were nearly impossible to order. Could justify multiple different variations and wish they could be a three-way tie. Pitt gets the edge with the most recent win over Louisville and GT. Oregon has been playing really well so gave them a very slight edge over Louisville, though I flopped them multiple times before landing her

Kentucky gets the edge for me over Washington State. Both have seven losses and good wins, but the Wildcats have been dominating lately, whereas most of the cougars losses have come in the past few weeks. Tennessee moves back in with Georgia Tech falling out after another loss via sweep to Miami. 

Strong: If Wisconsin were healthy, I might keep them at No. 3 ahead of Pitt, but the Panthers are better right now, and the resume is better — Pitt is a clear top-4 overall seed if they win out. Very excited for the Arkansas-Kentucky rematch on Wednesday, as the Hogs are one of the few teams who have actually pushed UK during their lengthy winning streak. Purdue was matching big wins with questionable losses all the way through October but looks to have turned a corner and would be a dangerous threat to a top-8 team in a regional semifinal right now. Also considered: Dayton, Penn State, WKU.

Feinswog: The big question for me was Wisconsin. The Badgers only have three losses, all on the road, and the last two without Anna Smrek. And all she did Sunday upon her return was have 10 kills with two errors in 12 swings and five blocks. I still think Nebraska, Wisconsin and Stanford are the best teams, but went with Louisville at No. 3 — I’ll explain — and Wisconsin fourth and Pittsburgh at 5. Pitt got swept at Louisville and Louisville lost in five at Pitt. I put Kentucky, Tennessee and Creighton ahead of Texas and included Florida State at 15 and WKU at 16. And, yes, I’m lousy at this.