Who Will End Up In The Top 10?
The two teams that have broken into the top 10 that we think will stay there are Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Why Oklahoma State?
Oklahoma State has been on an upward trend under Jay Udwadia's coaching after finishing the 2016 season ranked No. 13. A year ago, the Cowboys took out six teams in top 25 on their way to the round of 16 at the NCAA Tournament before they fell to the eventual champions, UVA, 4-2.
This season, Oklahoma State had all six of its starters from 2016 return. The Cowboys have a lot of weapons, including upperclassman leadership, depth in their lineup, fast starts with doubles, and a new addition, Artur Dubinski. They have been able to lean on those strengths to force their way into the top 10 -- and we think they'll stay there.
Baylor started out with a seven-game winning streak this season. The Bears' only three losses have come from other top 10 teams: Cal, USC, and UCLA. Baylor will again be tested by a tough three-game stretch in April against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas. If the Bears can win one to two of those matches, then they can hang in the top 10. Baylor has a really young team that contributes to its volatile ranking, but the Bears are doing incredibly well for only having one senior in their starting lineup. That senior, Max Tchoutakian, plays line two and has only dropped one match this season. Meanwhile, sophomore Johannes Schretter holds down the fort at line three with a 10-1 record. While this is a risky team to put in the top 10 with its upcoming slate, the Bears have the talent to keep their place in the rankings.