Thursday, November 20, 2014

College | Three questions for Washington’s four remaining matches

Four matches in eight days will offer answers [CORRECTED VERSION]
  • #13 Arizona @ #5 Washington | Fri, Nov 21 | 8PM
  • #22 Arizona State @ #5 Washington | Sun, Nov 23 | 11AM

Washington's Tia Scambray and Melanie Wade look to Coach Jim McLaughlin during home win against Oregon State
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

Four matches in eight days. For Washington volleyball, the next week-and-a-day will help answer several important questions.

Losses at Colorado and Utah mean that one of those two teams will have to beat Stanford in Palo Alto this weekend. If that happens—and if the Huskies can get past Arizona and Arizona State—then next Wednesday’s Seattle showdown with Stanford will give the Huskies a shot at a title tie. Next Friday, Stanford plays Cal and Washington travels to WSU. Cal and WSU are tied for last place, with just one win apiece.

The top 16 teams get to host. Only an utter collapse could drop UW out of that group.

The four sites for the 2014 Sweet 16/Elite 8, selected two years ago by the NCAA, are Washington, Minnesota, Iowa State and Louisville. Hard to imagine any scenario where the NCAA would not place Washington in its own regional. If the Huskies win their final four conference matches (Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and @Washington State), they will undoubtedly be the top seed in the Washington Regional. If they lose one or more of those four, they would almost certainly stay in that regional, but might not be the top seed. That opens the door for a powerhouse team—Penn State?—being sent to Seattle for the third and fourth rounds.

If the season were to end today (a fun but meaningless exercise), here’s one stab at how the regions should be seeded using teams in this week’s RPI:
  • WASHINGTON REGIONAL: 1. Washington, 2. Penn State, 3. Oregon, 4. Kansas
  • MINNESOTA REGIONAL: 1. Wisconsin, 2. Florida, 3. Illinois, 4. Arizona
  • IOWA STATE REGIONAL: 1. Stanford, 2. Florida State, 3. Nebraska, 4. Iowa State
  • LOUISVILLE REGIONAL: 1. Texas, 2. North Carolina, 3. Colorado State, 4. Kentucky

Remaining matches for select teams:
  • WASHINGTON: Arizona, Arizona St, Stanford, @Washington St
  • STANFORD: Utah, Colorado, @Washington, @California
  • WISCONSIN: @Ohio St, @Rutgers, Purdue
  • TEXAS: Kansas, @TCU, Florida
  • PENN STATE: @Maryland, @Northwestern, Nebraska
  • FLORIDA STATE: Boston College, Syracuse, Clemson, Miami
  • NORTH CAROLINA: @Notre Dame, @Louisville, Duke, Wake Forest
  • FLORIDA: @Ole Miss, @Arkansas, South Carolina, @Texas
  • NEBRASKA: Michigan, @Illinois, @Penn St

Interesting to note that Washington (25-2, RPI of 4) has by far the highest rating of any of the four Regional hosts. Minnesota (17-11) has an RPI of 51, Louisville (15-12) has an RPI of 93 and Iowa (13-15) has an RPI of 78. 64 teams are selected for the tournament. 32 conference champions are automatic qualifiers. Many of those qualifiers will have RPIs lower than 64, so several teams with RPIs in the 50s and 60s will not be selected. At large teams with a losing overall record are not eligible. [CORRECTION 11/21/14, 6:15pm | The NCAA Regional in the state of Iowa will be hosted by Iowa State, not the University of Iowa. Iowa State (15-10) has an RPI of 15.)


  1. Assuming the Dawgs will win out may be premature, given their performances over the last weekend. Those two losses exposed (in this writer's opinion) some significant deficiencies in their offense, defence and serve receive. Let's hope they figured out how eliminate them before this weekends games against good teams (especially UofA) so that, going into next Wednesday's game, they will be at full force and ready to handle the Cardinal. Go Huskies!

    1. If Washington doesn't play better than they did against Utah, they would be lucky to split with the Arizona schools... more likely they'd be 0-2 for the second straight week.

  2. I called the ticket office last week to order an extra reserve ticket for the Stanford game. The ticket agent informed me that not only were there no reserved seat left, but only 200-300 general admission tickets remained, as well. Looks like Hec Ed will be rockin' the day before Thanksgiving.

  3. Please don't confuse the Iowa Hawkeyes (13-15 overall and an anemic 5-12 in the Big Ten) and the Iowa State Cyclones (15-10 and 7-7 in the Big 12). It is Iowa State that is hosting the regional in Ames.

    1. As an ISU grad, I will let you know that confusing ISU and Iowa is about as low as you can go. People have been killed for less. ;)

      I think it is because the two program are in different conferences, but a Cyclone would never root for the Hawkeyes and vv. I was actually confused when I moved here and notice that a lot of Dawgs will root for the Cougars and vv. Totally foreign concept to me, especially since I moved to Ames from Auburn, AL and an Auburn Tiger would never, ever root for the Crimson Tide so I had 18 years of intense hatred for your rival.

      Also, regional hosts are guaranteed of being in their own region.

  4. I like your hypothetical bracket for Regionals but I wonder if they will put Nebraska in the Washington bracket. It has happened almost every time we have hosted Regionals and has made for some pretty amazing matches. But a rematch with Penn State would be pretty epic as well. Can't wait!


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