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Missouri volleyball moves up in rankings

Monday, November 18, 2013 | 10:11 p.m. CST; updated 12:48 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that Lisa Henning had received five SEC weekly honors. She has received two SEC honor but five weekly honors overall. Also, an earlier version of the story incorrectly stated SEC championship implications.

COLUMBIA — Missouri volleyball is now ranked the highest it has ever been: No. 4 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The Tigers are also No. 5 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), and No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference.

But how do all the numbers work?

AVCA rankings

The No. 4 ranking is the result of a weekly poll by the AVCA and can be found on AVCA's websiteand on the NCAA's website. .

David Portney, manager of media relations and E-Commerce at the AVCA, explained how the process works:

Sixty Division I coaches are members of the poll, and every conference is represented by at least one coach. All of those coaches are encouraged to vote every week. The coaches are sent three documents by the AVCA.

One contains weekly results for all Division I teams. These results include team records and conferences and the outcome of each game that week (including the number of sets, who the match was against and whether it was home or away). Another document is a head-to-head matrix that shows the number of times each team has won or lost to any other given team. Both of these documents are available at online. A third document includes the Pablo Rankings, which are done through an algorithmic process.

Some coaches are recommended for the poll by coaches who are leaving. Some are selected by the AVCA. Some serve for one year, some longer, especially from conferences that may only have one coach able or willing to vote. The goal is to piece together a group of coaches who are reliable and do their homework, Portney said.

The coaches vote based on the three documents sent to them by the AVCA and by the research that they do into each team. There is no requirement that a coach have seen a team play in order to vote on that team.

In the results, the number in parentheses next to the school name denotes the number of first-place votes that team received. The number of points is based on how each voter ranked the team on his or her ballot. A first-place vote receives 25 points, a second-place vote receives 24 points, and so on. So if a team received 25 first-place votes, it would get 1,500 points. In the latest poll, Missouri got 1,277 points, while No. 1 Texas got 1,473.

RPI

Missouri is currently No. 5 in the RPI rankings. According to NCAA.org, the RPI "is one of many factors used by NCAA sports committees when evaluating Division I teams for postseason selection, seeding and bracketing."

RPI is used exclusively by Division I teams only, and every season starts with every team equal. RPI rankings start once every team has played at least one game. Three weighted factors go into the RPI ranking of a team, as follows:

Opponent strength of schedule — 50 percent

Opponents' opponent strength of schedule — 25 percent

Division I winning percentage — 25 percent

SEC championship

The SEC championship is determined based on a team's conference record. The SEC leaders, Missouri (15-0 in SEC) and Florida (13-2 in SEC), both have three conference games left in the season.

So if Missouri wins any of its final three games — against Mississippi State and Arkansas at home, or against Kentucky on the road — It would be champion of the SEC. The best Florida could do would be to tie it.

MISSOURI PLAYER GETS SEC AWARD

For the second time this season, Missouri volleyball's Lisa Henning has been named SEC Player of the Week.

The senior outside hitter led the Tigers to a road win over No. 5 Florida. Henning had 17 kills and hit .500 in that contest. Missouri beat Florida 25-22, 25-23, 25-23. It was the first time Florida had lost in three sets at home in 22 years.

She also came up big in Missouri's win over South Carolina, another road contest — she tallied seven kills on .333 hitting against the Gamecocks. Missouri won 25-13, 25-12, 25-16 in Columbia, S.C.

The wins moved Missouri to 31-0 on the season.

This is the fifth time Henning has received a *weekly honor over the course of her career.

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.


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