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NCAA Volleyball: Madison Regional preview

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Wisconsin volleyball is gonna make this a December to Remember. Eat it, Lexus.

Tom Lynn

The Bare Essentials

Fourth-seeded Wisconsin defended their home court and will host another weekend of NCAA tournament volleyball. Friday, December 13th at 1 p.m. CT the Badgers take on No. 13 Texas A&M, followed by No. 5 Nebraska and No. 12 Hawaii at 3:30 p.m. CT. The winners will play at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday.

chi chi chi chi

ha ha ha ha

Pod Overview

Team Attacking Stats

Team AssistsPerSet KillsPerSet Hitting% AcesPerSet
Team AssistsPerSet KillsPerSet Hitting% AcesPerSet
Wisconsin 13.8 14.5 0.297 1.6
Nebraska 12.8 13.8 0.272 1.1
Hawaii 12.48 13.55 0.25 1.37
Texas A&M 12.7 13.8 0.247 1.5

Team Defensive Stats

Team BlocksPerSet DigsPerSet OpposingHitting%
Team BlocksPerSet DigsPerSet OpposingHitting%
Wisconsin 2.48 14.92 0.2
Nebraska 2.4 15.1 0.15
Hawaii 2.65 14.76 0.164
Texas A&M 2.4 13.5 0.187

Records

Team Overall 3sets 4sets 5sets
Team Overall 3sets 4sets 5sets
Wisconsin 24-6 19-1 4-3 1-2
Nebraska 27-4 15-2 7-1 5-1
Hawaii 26-3 10-2 10-0 6-1
Texas A&M 23-7 10-1 10-1 3-5

Tournament History

Team 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Team 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Wisconsin Elite 8 Sweet 16 Elite 8 Sweet 16 2nd Place
Nebraska 2nd Place National Champion Final 4 National Champion Elite 8
Hawaii Particpated Particpated Round of 32 Elite 8 Round of 32
Texas A&M DNP DNP Particpated Round of 32 Particpated

Friday December 13th: Texas A&M Aggies

Tournament Results - Beat St. John’s 3-0, Beat Rice 3-1.

I’ve been told the Bucky’s Fifth Quarter style guidebook bars the use of donnybrook in article titles. This is unfair.

Texas A&M’s season is exactly what’d you expect from a low-seeded team from a major conference: a great record against teams that didn’t make the tournament, .500 against unseeded tournament teams, and one win against a host team (Kentucky) in four tries, losing two five-set matches to Florida and a closer-than-appears sweep at the hands of Texas.

The Texas A&M offense is simple: have all-SEC setter Camille Conner toss to all-SEC Hollann Hans. She has double the kills and attacks of the next-highest Aggie in those stats, an error-prone Lauren Davis.

Next to the court is the SEC’s Coach of the Year Laura Kuhn. Coach of the Year, for those who don’t know, is the award given to a team that wasn’t supposed to be good but outperformed. Texas A&M, finished 13-5, tied for third with Missouri and three games behind Florida and Kentucky after being projected to finish sixth. Take that as you will.

Possibly Saturday, December 14th: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Tournament Results: Beat Northern Colorado 3-1, Beat San Diego 3-0

The top of the Big West conference, Hawaii scheduled well in the non-conference, beating three tournament teams to open the season - San Diego, St. Johns, and No. 8 seed Washington. Toss in wins against Missouri and UCLA, and they’ve earned their home pod. They did get swept in Waco (but who didn’t) and dropped a pair of matches in conference to Cal Poly and UC Irvine.

This is a well-balanced offense - a total of six Warriors with at least 1.91 kills a set. They have two players setting up the attack: Bailey Choy is the second banana to the Big West Player of the Year, Norene Iosia. Hawaii’s Hanna Helvig took Freshman of the Year. Helvig, who is originally from Stockholm, made the smart decision to spend four years in Honolulu. Being a freshman, she might still be able to deal with Wisconsin in December. I know the games are played indoors, but Madison’s weather is dipping to single digits Wednesday.

Wait, she’s Swedish. It’ll be single digits to Helvig all week.

Possibly Saturday, December 14th: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Tournament Results: Beat Ball St. 3-0, Beat Missouri 3-1

Previously on B5Q: away preview, away recap, home preview, home recap.

It’s weird to look at possible paths to the Final Four, see a team that has been there the last four years and not be worried. Sweeping that team twice does wonders for the psyche, but the games were much closer than that 6-0 mark indicates. Nebraska got to 22 three times, 21 twice and 19 once, and hit .287 combined, including .336 in the home match. In Lincoln, 10 services errors doomed the Huskers, while in Madison it was the inability to get anyone other than Lexi Sun going offensively.

Then you remember that this is a team that’s won a lot of NCAA tournament games. In 2017, they knocked off host Kentucky in Lexington to advance. The difference there is, they hadn’t played those particular Wildcats before. This time, they have the memories of stepping on that same Field House court a month ago and getting drubbed.

How To Watch

ESPNU will carry the Wisconsin - Texas A&M game on Friday as well as the regional final on Saturday. Nebraska-Hawaii is streaming on ESPN3. All-session tickets go on sale at the Wisconsin athletic office Monday at 8:30 a.m. CT.

FYI, when I peeked Saturday on StubHub for what the get-in price against UCLA was, I noticed a lot of paired reserved seats for $10 after fees where Notre Dame and Illinois State had sat. Might be an option if you can’t skip out of work Friday.

What About The Other Regionals?

In an all-chalk region, No. 1 Baylor hosts No. 16 Purdue after the Boilermakers dispatched of Marquette in four sets. They’ll play the winner of No. 8 Washington and No. 9 Kentucky, who swept Michigan to advance.

No. 2 Texas takes on Louisville after they upset No. 15 Western Kentucky. That winner takes on the survivor of No. 10 Florida and No. 7 Minnesota, who needed five sets to get past Creighton. (Creighton had two shots at match point in the fourth too!)

No. 3 Stanford takes on Utah after they emerged from the Holy War against No. 14 BYU. There should have been another interstate rivalry in the other game. No. 11 Penn State did their part to advance, but No. 6 Pittsburgh dropped a 5-set match against Cincinnati. It turns out they would not have hosted a regional anyway.