The official update of the NACDA Director's Cup standings confirmed what was already widely known around these parts: Michigan is now in first place! The question now becomes how long can the Wolverines hold off the expected onslaught from Stanford's strong lineup of spring teams.
The next points to be awarded will come on May 4th when the men's NCAA Volleyball champion is crowned. The good news is that sixth-ranked Stanford was eliminated in the first round of their conference tournament this week and will not be scoring any NACDA points. Other Director's Cup contenders with ranked men's volleyball teams are UCLA, Penn State, and Ohio State. The Buckeyes also lost in the first round of their conference tournament and are done. #4 UCLA and #14 Penn State have conference semi-final games tonight. UCLA is the four seed in a very strong conference (MPS) and Penn State is the #1 seed in a relatively weak conference (EIVA). Three conference tournament champions and one wild card advance to a four team NCAA championship which awards 100 NACDA points for 1st, 70 for second and 25 for 3rd/4th. In the highly unlikely event that Penn State went all the way (or finished second), they would leap-frog both Stanford and Michigan into first place in the Director's Cup standings.
This means Michigan will most likely hold onto first place until at least May 12th, when the women's water polo title is decided. Odds are that the #1 Stanford water polo-ettes will help reclaim the cup lead, but an early upset of the Cardinal and a surprising run by #19 Michigan could be the next step in the master plan to wrest the cup from Stanford's clammy grip. Go Blue!