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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | November 22, 2021

College volleyball rankings: Wisconsin rises in our final Power 10 of the 2021 regular season

Wisconsin rises in our final Power 10 of the 2021 regular season

Ladies and gentlemen, we have just one more week left in the regular season. Selections are next Sunday, Nov. 28th. So after a long, and exciting season, I have reached my final Power 10 rankings of the year. Sadly, I will not get the chance to re-rank after the great matchups next week, including the final Louisville vs. Pittsburgh matchup, Nebraska-Wisconsin, Nebraska-Purdue, etc. Instead, we will see the committee's rankings — the only ones that will matter as they reveal the 2021 DI women's volleyball tournament bracket. 

So without making you wait any longer, here are my Power 10 rankings following the second to last week in women's college volleyball:

1. Louisville (1)

The Cards stay on top. The last undefeated team in the nation. Gear up for an incredible re-match with Pittsburgh next week, right before selections. The matchup will have big implications on the tournament bracket, especially for Pittsburgh. If Louisville were to lose, it would still be just their first loss of the season and the committee would then have to compare Texas' one loss and Pitt's one loss. But, even if it were a close loss, the Cards could still likely receive the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament this year. 

2. Texas (2)

The Longhorns notched two more sweeps in the Big 12 over the weekend and will likely get two more before selections. Their resume is likely wrapped for this season and the committee will look at them for one of the top four seeds in the tournament. In my eyes, this team started out as one of the top teams in the nation and will finish that way. These two teams are undoubtedly by two top choices for the rankings. 

3. Wisconsin (4)

I moved the Badgers up ahead of Pitt. Here is the why. They came back ferociously to take down a crazy good Minnesota team in five sets on Sunday. They rallied back from a 17-10 deficit in the fourth set and then still had to fight off multiple Minnesota match points before winning the fourth and forcing a decisive fifth set. The resilience and execution they showed at crunch time, against a team that I consider to be one of the strongest in the NCAA, was impressive. Again, I think this Wisconsin team is incredible when they have all of their pieces working together. Pitt and Wisconsin are neck and neck for me, and both have a big battle left. The Panthers still have Louisville next week, and Wisconsin has Nebraska, so this will of course be re-evaluated in just a few days' time. But, I wanted to reward the Badgers for a win in a well-fought battle this week. 

4. Pitt (3)

Refer to No. 3 for an explanation here. Pitt did absolutely nothing wrong to drop a spot, in fact, they got a huge win over Georgia Tech to avenge their loss to them earlier in the season. Super impressive win. This team could even move up to No. 2 if they were to pull off a win over Louisville next week. This is all temporary movement before they wrap up the season next week and face the eyes of the committee. But overall, I have been nothing but impressed by this Pitt team.

TOURNEY TIME: NCAA DI women's volleyball tournament: Selection show date, time, how to watch 

5. BYU (5)

BYU stays put at No. 5 as they moved to 27-1 on the season. They still do not have the same caliber of wins as most of these teams in these rankings, but it is hard to figure out where to move a team that you know has the potential but doesn't have the same strength of schedule. Their wins over Utah and San Diego is what keeps them here.

6. Baylor (6)

The Bears also stay at No. 6 for the same reasoning as last week. They've got that win over Texas, in case you forgot. Strong RPI, a strong non-conference schedule, and it certainly paid off by this time of the season. 

TRACKING AQs: We're tracking all 32 automatic qualifiers for the DI women's volleyball tournament

7. Purdue (8)

It may seem odd to flip-flop UCLA and Purdue this week, instead of last week. Frankly, it is possible I should have put Purdue here last week following their two big wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota, but I opted to keep UCLA ahead of them due to Purdue's number of losses on the season. Now, I watched Wisconsin and Minnesota play this Sunday, and was again so impressed by the level of their play and how good both teams performed. It made me want to give Purdue more credit for beating both of those teams in the same week. 

8. UCLA (7)

UCLA moves to eight, and for no other reason than the explanation above. The Bruins are 22-4 on the season and just notched two more sweeps over Arizona and Arizona State over the weekend. They have California and Southern Cal to close out the regular season. 

9. Kentucky (9)

The Wildcats also stay at No. 9 this week following two wins over Auburn over the weekend. They do have Florida, a rivalry matchup in the SEC to close out the season. They will be looking to notch two more wins over the Gators, a ranked team, before selections. 

10. Minnesota (10)

Samedy

What a match against Wisconsin on Sunday. The Gophers ALMOST had them in the fourth set, leading by as much as seven before losing in a five-set battle. The biggest question mark this season for me was if Minnesota's tough schedule was going to pay off. I think it does. They were swept earlier in the year by the Badgers, and now they almost took them down in a match that could have gone either way. They battled and showed off their talent, Stephanie Samedy was phenomenal, and even with the loss, I was impressed. 

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