Originally Posted by tie_breaker
Not trying to rain on anyone's parade but isn't the rankings meaningless, especially this early in the season???
That's a poor perspective to have. Maybe for ranked teams that don't have a realistic shot at an NCAA at-large, rankings matter less because their conference tourney is everything and their only ticket into the NCAA tournament. But for most of the ranked teams that have something to play for whether trying to get into the top 16 to host, top 32 to be a 2 seed or top 42 to receive an NCAA at-large the rankings are very meaningful. It's better to be in position already & hold on as opposed to being on the outside and having to fight your way into the top 16, 32 or 42.
In UCI's case every match is meaningful. UCI is trying to win the Big West Conference outright and get the #1 seed for the conference tournament. To do so we can't slip up or we'll give a share of the regular season title to Long Beach St. UCI is also fighting to remain in the top 30 to get a 2 seed and fighting for an outside chance at hosting a regional. Again to keep our slim hosting hopes alive UCI needs to win out and can't afford any slip ups.
The individual rankings are very meaningful also. Someone like UCI's #101 Kristina Smith needs to be ranked at season's end to earn the Big West NCAA singles automatic bid. Kristina can't really afford to lose to an unranked player if she wants to stay ranked. At the same time Kristina is in the race for Big West Player of the Year and can't slip up in conference if she wants to beat out Hawaii's #1 Poljakova.