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UCF Volleyball Awaits Whether They Will Host NCAA Tournament

Knights’ RPI is strong enough, but it’s up to the committee

UCF Knights Volleyball Derek Warden

The #21 UCF Knights Volleyball team finished its regular season on Wednesday with a resounding victory over South Florida in the War on I-4, completing the 2018 campaign with its 24th straight victory, extending the program NCAA Division I Era record.

It has been an historic season for head coach Todd Dagenais’ team. Their resume looks like this:

  • 27-3 overall record
  • 24-match win streak
  • 18-0 record in The American (and the conference championship)
  • 15-0 record at home
  • First-ever AVCA Coaches’ Poll ranking in program history

But the question remains: Will the NCAA Volleyball Tournament Selection Committee deem the Knights worthy of hosting the first weekend?

The tyranny of the RPI

It has been established that the committee uses the RPI rankings as its guide for whom to put where come Tournament time, often to the detriment of their own credibility.

The Knights are 10th in the official RPI as of November 18th, and are expected to stay put following their defeat of South Florida.

The committee typically wants at least one pod in Florida, and they usually send everyone to Gainesville or Tallahassee (or sometimes both). But it has been a weird year for college volleyball in the Sunshine State.

Last year’s NCAA runners-up, The Florida Gators, are 24-6, ranked 20th in the RPI, and third in the SEC. Florida State finished 19-9, second in the ACC, and 26th in the RPI.

Yet it remains an open question whether the committee will put a tournament pod outside of Gainesville. Florida has hosted the opening weekend every year since 2011, and has hosted at least one weekend every year since 2004.

It shouldn’t, but it may come down to resume.

Comparing Florida to UCF, the resumes don’t compare. UCF has the edge:

2018 Comparison: UCF vs. Florida

Category UCF Florida
Category UCF Florida
Record 27-3 24-6
Conference 18-0 15-3
RPI 10 20
vs. Top 25 3-1 2-3
vs. Top 50 4-2 6-5
vs. Top 100 12-3 13-5
vs. Non Top-100 15-0 11-1
Opp. W% .608 .572
Sets Record 82-30 79-34

The only nick on UCF would be that Florida beat the Knights head-to-head back on September 2nd in a match that was not without some controversy, particularly at the end of the first set.

That was UCF’s last loss.

We find out soon enough

We find out where and when UCF will open the tournament on Sunday, when the selection show airs on ESPNU. The Knights will gather at BurgerU on campus at 8 p.m. to watch the show, which begins at 8:30 p.m.

The Knights expect to have a very good chance to host. However, should UCF not host the tournament, it will not be because of their resume.