Kyle Walton is the head coach at Division III Transylvania in Lexington, Ky., but his Division I roots run deep. Not only is his wife, Lindsey, an assistant coach at Kentucky, but Walton has worked in Division I as an assistant at Kentucky, Louisville, Saint Louis and Southern Illinois.
Walton loves to follow Division I volleyball around the nation and enjoys being our sport’s bracketologist. Earlier this season he offered his list of 64 and now, with selection Sunday looming in less than a week, offers this update:
He submitted this before the new NCAA RPI came out Monday, but he will have another list on Sunday morning before we get the real thing Sunday night:
6. San Diego
9. North Carolina
13. Michigan State
15. Kansas State
Missouri is 23-5, will most likely win a share of the SEC title and beat both Florida and Kentucky (twice) in the SEC. The Tigers also have tournament-team wins over Pitt and Boise State. They will end up 8-2 in their last 10 matches if all goes according to plan this week so that is why I have them as the 14 seed.
Kansas State is 19-9 and most likely will finish with 20 wins this week against Texas Tech at home. The Wildcats have 6.5 victories over tournament teams. (half points are bubble teams) Baylor, TCU, Iowa State, Creighton, Arizona, Hawaii, Georgia Tech (.5). They are looking to be 6-4 in their last 10 but I am willing to overlook that because of the teams that they have beaten so far this season. They also have not lost to a non-tournament team.
Kentucky is 22-6, will most likely also win a share of the SEC title if all goes to plan at Tennessee this week. Kentucky only has four tournament-team wins, Purdue, Creighton, Florida, and Texas A&M. The Wildcats also have not lost to a non-tournament team. I chose them to be the 16 seed for two reasons. Their four tournament-team wins are over teams inside the top 25 of the RPI and, If you are breaking the tournament down by sites, you will notice that the committee needs some sites in the South/close to the East.
Michigan is 21-9 and has two tough matches left that could leave the Wolverines 21-11 and 3-7 in their last 10 matches. They have 5.5 wins over tournament teams, Penn State, Ohio State, Coastal Carolina, Kansas State, Georgia Tech (.5), UNI (1.5), Miami, Ohio (.5). Michigan also has a loss to a non-tournament team in Indiana, although they are on the bubble. I left them out of the seeding because of their last 10 matches and if the bubble teams don’t come through then they would only have four wins against tournament teams and only two against top-25 teams in the RPI.
Oregon is 19-8 and has a tough week at Stanford and at rival Oregon State. Let’s just say the Ducks split and go 20-9. They have six wins over tournament teams, USC, Washington, Washington State (twice), Utah, Arizona. If the weekend plays out how we think, they will be 6-4 in their last 10. The reason that I am not giving Oregon the seeding spot is because they have only two wins against RPI top-25 teams and the committee doesn’t need another team on the West coast to be a host at this point.
Creighton is 24-6 and plays in the Big East tournament this weekend against Seton Hall and then the winner of the Marquette-Xavier match. Should be a sweep of the weekend to put them at 26-6. The Bluejays would have 5.5 tournament team victories, Iowa State, TCU, Marquette (twice and possibly three times) and UNI (.5). I did not select them to host because they have zero victories against top-25 RPI teams and of the tournament-team wins, three will be from beating Marquette.
Western Kentucky is 30-2 and has completed the regular season and tournament. The Lady Toppers have two tournament-team wins, against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. I did not choose them to be a host because of the level of their schedule and the two tournament teams wins are not against top-25 RPI teams.
Last 4 in
Last 4 out
Next 4 up
Non power-5 teams (7)
BYU (West Coast)
Marquette (Big East)
Northern Iowa (Valley)
Colorado State (Mountain West)
Missouri State (Missouri Valley)
Small nitpick: shouldn’t it be “first four out?”