Penn State finishes its season at Nebraska. Nebraska does not visit Penn State. John Cook, you are a sly dog. This is not John Cook. [Editor’s Note: We kid. John Cook is not responsible for the Big Ten Schedule. We think. :)]
Only two more weekends remain in the B1G conference schedule, and the race for the conference championship may well come down to the match between Penn State and Nebraska in Lincoln on November 30th.
Even if the B1G winner will most likely be either Penn State or Nebraska, with eight teams in the latest AVCA Top-25 poll, there are plenty of B1G teams that can make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. Here are the B1G (and overall) standings:
B1G Standings 12-1-2013
|AVCA Poll - 11-25-13|
We know that won-lost records don’t necessarily tell the whole story, so we decided to take a look at selected statistics for the top four B1G teams — Penn State, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Illinois, to see how they stack up. Below are three tables that compare attacking, serving, and blocking statistics for these teams — including statistics for their opponents.
We also know that statistics for an entire season can be misleading. Illinois, for example, had a crazy-tough pre-conference schedule in which they faced (using AVCA poll rankings from 11-18-13) #19 Florida State (W 3-0), #16 Kentucky (W 3-2), #9 San Diego (L 1-3), #24 Iowa State (W 3-0), #3 Washington (L 1-3), #1 Texas (L 2-3), #14 North Carolina (L 0-3) and #13 Duke (L 1-3)). But looking at their last five matches, the Illini are 5-0, in 4th place in the B1G, and are sitting on the #20 AVCA ranking. In their last four matches (all of which were in Huff Hall), they hit .369 vs. Purdue, .281 vs. Indiana, .271 vs. Michigan State, and .274 vs. Michigan. During that stretch, 6-3 RS Jr. MB Anna Dorn hit .433 (compared to .322 for the season overall), 6-2 RS So. OH Jocelynn Birks hit .237 (versus .178 for the season), 6-6 Jr. OH Liz McMahon hit .268 (she is at .207 for the season), 6-1 Jr. OH Morganne Criswell hit .331 (her season attack % is .249), and 6-4 RS Fr. MB Maddie Mayers hit .323 (compared to her overall attack % of .257).
There certainly is a “what have you done for me lately” component that can get lost in overall season stats. Still, limitations notwithstanding, we think these stats are interesting. Take a look (and, as our slacker staff of researchers and statisticians can be somewhat cavalier (lazy, shiftless, and insubordinate are other words that come to mind) in their approach to quality control, we welcome feedback about errors we may have made):
B1G Stat Joust: Attack (11-18-13)
B1G Stat Joust: Serving (11-18-13)
B1G Stat Joust: Blocking (11-18-13)