NCAA volleyball bracket: Nebraska, Stanford, Wisconsin, Pitt earn No. 1 seeds

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Nebraska, Stanford, Wisconsin and Pitt earned the top seeds Sunday in the 64-team NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.

First- and second-round matches are set for Thursday through Sunday, followed by regionals Dec. 7 and 9, all at campus sites. The national semifinals will be played Dec. 14 in Tampa, with the final on Dec. 17.

The Bracket 🏐🏆

➡️ https://t.co/usEjAgQ6F7
#NCAAWVB pic.twitter.com/RgR2c39Ff3

— NCAA Women's Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) November 26, 2023

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Nebraska completed the regular season at 28-1 as Big Ten champions, suffering its only defeat Friday at Wisconsin in a three-set sweep. The Huskers beat the Badgers in five sets in October and beat Stanford in four sets in September, among 12 wins for Nebraska against the tourney field.Texas defeated Louisville in the final last year for the
  • Longhorns’ third championship. Stanford has won nine titles; Penn State has won seven, and Nebraska has won five.
  • The 16 seeded teams are in line to host the opening two rounds. After the top four, No. 2 seeds went to Louisville, Texas, Oregon and Kentucky.

Who is the favorite to win?

Nebraska enters the tournament as the only team from a major conference with fewer than three losses. Coach John Cook’s team has played for the championship four times in the past eight years, tied with Texas over that time for the most appearances in the title match.

Stanford has won 20 of its past 21 matches and earned the final Pac-12 championship.

Wisconsin rebounded from late-season losses at Penn State and Purdue to sweep its final three matches, including the rematch against Nebraska. The Badgers won their first championship with a win against the Huskers in 2021 and perhaps possess the highest ceiling when at full strength.

What’s at stake in the tournament?

This year has marked major progress for women’s volleyball. From the record crowd of 92,003 at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium in August to soaring attendance figures and new levels of TV viewership, the sport has gained momentum ahead of an Olympic year in 2024.

The Minnesota-Wisconsin match on Oct. 29, televised on Fox, attracted 1.66 million viewers, a record for the sport. ABC will broadcast the championship match on a Sunday afternoon.

The Pro Volleyball Federation will launch an inaugural women’s volleyball season in the United States early next year. First, though, the collegiate players get a chance to build on the good vibes.

Required reading

  • ‘We’re scientists right now’: Wisconsin volleyball’s unconventional path to success
  • Big Ten champs once again, Nebraska volleyball leans on captains for control
  • Nebraska volleyball breaks global women’s sports attendance record with crowd of 92K
  • ‘Volleyball doesn’t know your age’: Nebraska freshmen ignite big to retake Big Ten dominance

(Photo: Dylan Widger / USA Today)

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