The Division I women's volleyball regular season is more than halfway done, and the NCAA tournament is less than a month away.
There have been a fair share of upsets early on this season, and a couple of rematches are waiting in the wings before the NCAA selection show on Sunday, Nov. 28.
Last week, the NCAA championship committee revealed its top 10 seeds if the postseason started now. Here are some takeaways off the reveal.
RPI rules the top reveal
It seems that RPI is the heartbeat of the selection committee's body. Nine of the 10 teams in the reveal are among the top 10 in RPI, (more on outlier Nebraska to come) and the NCAA got the top five right.
Louisville has been on a tear this season, and going 21-0 with 3-0 victories against Nebraska, Purdue and Georgia Tech is the reason the Cardinals currently hold the No. 1 overall seed. But still, they can't sleep on NC State or North Carolina, and rematches with Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh still loom. Anything is possible, but Louisville's résumé is still strong enough to maintain the top spot.
Texas, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Kentucky round out the top five seeds. The defending national champion Wildcats are one of a few teams operating without a super senior, and the young squad, led by freshman setter Emma Grome and freshman libero Eleanor Bevin, will be tested when the tournament starts.
No. 2 seed Texas will meet up with potential No. 8 seed Baylor later this week in matches that will greatly shape the Big 12 and their respective seedings in the tournament field. Wisconsin, the No. 3 seed, has convincing wins over Baylor, Kentucky and Ohio State on its résumé.
Committee's questionable calls in the Big Ten
Nebraska (currently 16th in RPI) ranked at No. 6? Ohio State as the 7-seed? The Big Ten is filled with strong teams, but Purdue and Minnesota arguably have better cases to be in the top 10 than Nebraska.
UCLA, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Baylor and even Tennessee all rank higher than Nebraska in RPI, and the Huskers have just two wins against opponents who rank in the top 20 in RPI. Despite the absence of middle blocker Lauren Stivrins for most of this season, a consistent passing game seems to have gone missing. A big month of November in which the Huskers also face Penn State (Nov. 19) and Wisconsin (Nov. 26) will say a lot heading into the tournament.
All of Ohio State's four losses were against opponents with top-20 RPIs, two of which came against Wisconsin and Minnesota. Considering what's left on Ohio State's schedule, this weekend's matches against Minnesota and Nebraska are crucial to their chances to remain a top-10 seed.
A reveal well done
Baylor stands as the No. 8 seed despite a loss against Texas Tech on Oct. 1, but the Bears have regrouped to win six straight. They still rank fifth in RPI, and wins against Texas this weekend could bolster their seeding chances.
Georgia Tech being the No. 9 seed is something the selection committee got right. Coach Michelle Collier and the Yellow Jackets, who rank seventh in RPI and beat Pitt at home on Oct. 10, scheduled a tough nonconference slate that included Penn State and UCLA, two years after being snubbed from the 64-team field entirely. The Yellow Jackets' remaining eight games won't be easy -- the ACC boasts eight teams ranked in the top 50 in RPI -- but they seem equipped to handle it.
The committee evaluates many things when it comes to determining seeding, from nonconference matchups to head-to-head competition to location to RPI. With a 17-3 record and an RPI in the top 10, UCLA rightfully earned the No. 10 seed. Mac May, who leads the team with 359 kills and ranks second with 18 service aces, has contributed to the Bruins having several top-50 RPI wins. And the Bruins, who stand atop the Pac-12, certainly pass the committee's eye test.
There are still more than three weeks until the complete bracket is revealed, and one thing is for certain: There is plenty of time for chaos to ensue.