Sunday, December 1, 2013

NCAA | Volleyball Tournament early impressions

#3 Washington got a good seed, good regional

[12.02.13 | 8AM | CORRECTIONS: New Hampshire did receive a bid, against USC; Michigan's biggest win was against Wisconsin]

Some early thoughts about the 2013 NCAA D1 Women’s Volleyball Tournament bracket:

  • Washington got a great seed at #3. Its RPI last week was #5, and #4 Missouri was undefeated.
  • Washington’s first opponent, Alabama State, has the lowest RPI (278) of any of the 64 teams in the tournament.
  • The other two teams in the Seattle regional have struggled this season. Michigan reached last year’s Final Four, but ended up 8-12 in the Big Ten and 18-13 overall. Its biggest win came against Nebraska Wisconsin. LSU was 8-10 in the SEC and 18-12 overall. It’s biggest win may have come just last Saturday against Alabama.
  • If the Huskies advance to the Regionals, Los Angeles is a good destination. Kansas (23-7) is seeded #14; the Jayhawks’ only wins of note were against Wisconsin and Iowa State. If UW advances to the Elite 8, it could meet either #6 USC or #11 Hawai’i. The Huskies have already beaten USC twice this season, including once at Galen Center. And UW has twice beaten Hawai’i in the past three tournaments.
  • The Pac-12 sent nine teams to the tournament, more than any other conference. #3 Washington, #6 USC and Arizona State are in the Los Angeles Region; #7 Stanford, Utah and Colorado are in the Lexington Region; California is in the Champaign Region; while Arizona and Oregon are in the Lincoln Region.
  • This only the second time since the first NCAA women’s volleyball tournament in 1981 that UCLA is not a participant. The Bruins were national champions just two seasons ago.
  • California’s first opponent is North Carolina; the Tar Heels eliminated the Bears from the tournament in both 2011 and 2012.
  • Oregon faces Miami in the first round—the Hurricanes are coached by former Washington assistant Keno Gandara, who knows the Ducks well. If Oregon should win, and if Nebraska gets past Fairfield, the Ducks and Huskers will get a repeat of last season’s Elite 8 match in Omaha, won by Oregon.
  • New Hampshire, winner of the American East Conference, but was not given a bid has the second-lowest RPI [205] of any tournament team and will face USC. Tulsa (RPI: 39) and Butler (41) appear to be the teams with the highest recent RPI to not be selected. The next RPI won’t be released until Monday morning.
  • Marquette might have the biggest complaint: it won the Big East and had an RPI of 10, but wasn’t seeded.
  • The four regions, ranked in order of apparent difficulty:
LEXINGTON: (2) Penn St; (7) Stanford; (10) Minnesota; (15) Kentucky
LINCOLN: (1) Texas; (8) Nebraska; (9) San Diego; (16) Duke
LOS ANGELES: (3) Washington; (6) USC; (11) Hawai’i; (14) Kansas
CHAMPAIGN: (4) Missouri; (5) Florida; (12) Wisconsin; (13) Illinois


  1. "New Hampshire won the American East Conference, but was not given a bid."

    I assume you mean other than the bid to face USC in the first round... ?

    1. Thanks, Scott, for catching this. Correction made and noted ...

  2. Many posters on Volleytalk are lamenting U-Dub's ending up at the Galen Center, though the more fervent posters take a similar line to your blog about USC and Hawai'i as Huskies opponents. Penn State drew a much stronger regional than they usually get... the common complaint is that their regional usually looks like the one Missouri got, complete with regional host Illinois being seeded #13 with a 16-14 (!!) overall record. Time for a rule change there?

  3. Michigan didn't beat Nebraska this year. They were 6th in the Big Ten last year (when they went to the final four and almost knocked out Texas), and are 8th in the conference this year.

    Should be an interesting tournament...

    1. Thanks for catching this. The win was against Wisconsin, not Nebraska. Correction made and noted.

    2. UW plays the highest seeded regional host (USC) and has to deal with beating a talented team 3 times in one season. How often does that happen? Whatever confidence UW may have about playing at Galen could easily be offset by USC's urge for revenge - an emotion that those who have played sports know is not to be ignored.

  4. Will be nice to see USC get knocked off by Hawaii and us cruise into the final four at the Key.. knock on wood!

    1. Even nicer with the news today about Sark.

    2. Washington cruise? like they cruised past Hawai'i last year? lol.

  5. I believe that Stanford should have been the 5th seed, Florida the 6th seed & USC the 7th seed. Also Kentucky should have bee the 14th seed & Kansas the 15th seed. This way UW would not have to possibly play USC in LA but possibly Florida in Lexington. Bad selections by the committee as usual.


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