Our version of March Madness begins Tuesday when two conference tournaments get underway with automatic NCAA Tournament bids on the line.
In the SoCon, UNC Greensboro plays East Tennessee State, and in the Patriot League, Navy plays Bucknell and Loyola Maryland plays American.
So it’s time to break it down, conference by conference.
If the regular season is any indication, the world of NCAA Division I women’s volleyball is in for a wild five weeks, culminating with the NCAA Championship December 14-17 in Tampa.
On Wednesday, we’ll look at the Power 5, the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.
Here, starting with the Patriot and SoCon and then the rest in alphabetical order, are all the rest (RPI rankings are from the NCAA posting of November 12):
Colgate (20-7, 13-3, 80 RPI) won the conference by two games over Army West Point (14-11, 11-5, RPI 114). The tournament opens Tuesday with third-seeded American playing sixth-seeded Loyola Maryland and fourth-seeded Bucknell taking on fifth-seeded Navy. Colgate and Army await for the semifinals Friday with the title match Sunday.
Only the tourney winner gets a bid. Click here for the Patriot League Championship website.
For the longest time we were enthralled with The Citadel, the last unbeaten besides Nebraska. The Bulldogs, having the best season in program history by far, won their first 23 matches, lost twice, and have won three since and stand at 26-2, 14-2 (RPI 92). They finished two games ahead of Mercer (16-11, 12-4, RPI 146).
The tournament begins Tuesday when eighth-seeded East Tennessee State plays ninth-seeded UNC Greensboro. Seven other teams — Samford, Furman, The Citadel, Mercer, Chattanooga, Wofford and Western Carolina — are waiting in Friday’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are Saturday and the final Sunday. Only the winner gets an NCAA bid.
Click here for the SoCon Championship website.
SMU (210-6, 15-1 RPI 25) leads the overall standings by two games over Wichita State (19-7, 13-3. RPI 55). The Mustangs, who have won 11 in a row, will get the league’s automatic bid, barring a complete 0-4 collapse — and are playing for seeding. They have four matches left, two at home this weekend against North Texas, a rare, late-season non-conference match against West Coast-champion Pepperdine (RPI 36) and then finish the AAC…