Wednesday, 21 February 2024

International Volleyball

Showtime! Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh, Wisconsin vs. Texas

Showtime! Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh, Wisconsin vs. Texas

Asjia O’Neal leads Texas into its match with Wisconsin/Matt Smith photo

TAMPA — Showtime!

The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship national semifinals are Thursday.

Here’s what you need to know:

The matchups, time and TV

Pittsburgh vs. Nebraska, 7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN

Texas vs. Wisconsin, 30 minutes after the first match, ESPN

From ESPN: All three matches will be called by play-by-play commentator Courtney Lyle, alongside analysts Holly McPeak and Katie George. This is the second straight year the trio will be on the call for the final rounds of the tournament. Eric Frede and Missy Whittemore will handle on-site studio coverage between semifinal matches.
ESPN has the action in Tampa covered from every angle, including exclusive and behind-the-scenes coverage. In addition to the traditional main telecast and the ESPN+ stream, an alternate “High End Zone” viewing option will be available on ESPN+ for the semifinals and the Championship, giving fans the option to watch the match from the end zone angle.

How they got here

Top-seeded Nebraska (32-1) finished 19-1 in the Big Ten and won the conference by two games over Wisconsin. The Huskers swept their first three NCAA Tournament matches over Long Island, Missouri and Georgia Tech before beating Arkansas in four sets.

Fourth-seeded Pittsburgh (29-4) tied with Florida State atop the ACC at 16-2. The Panthers swept Coppin State in the first of the NCAA tourney, beat USC in four, swept Washington State, and then pulled off a reverse sweep to beat fifth-seeded Louisville in five.

No. 7 Texas (26-4) went 17-1 and won the Big 12 by three games. The Longhorns beat Texas A&M in four, swept SMU, beat Tennessee in five and then beat second-seeded Stanford on its home floor in four sets.

Third-seeded Wisconsin (30-3) finished second to Nebraska in the Big Ten and swept Jackson State and Miami to open the NCAA Tournament, beat Penn State in four and then beat Oregon in four.

Stats of note

Since Texas won it all in 2012, just five teams have won the title, and that includes Texas last year. Nebraska won in 2015 and 2017 and Wisconsin won in 2021. The others were Penn State in 2013 and 2014 and Stanford in 2016, ’18 and ’19.

Two of the top three offensive powers are here. While Stanford led the nation in hitting percentage (.316), Wisconsin was second (.313) and Pitt third (.308). Texas is 14th (.283) and Nebraska No. 18 (.279).

Conversely, the leaders in…

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