This time of year, some teams are playing to earn a position in the NCAA tournament. They are trying to prove that they are a good choice for great competition, which ultimately what the selection committee is trying to do; put together great games.
Now, we know that Nebraska is in the NCAA tournament. There isn’t much that can change even the seed they will have at this point. They will almost certainly be the 7 or 8 seed. Remember, unlike basketball, the volleyball bracket rank orders it’s seeds 1-16, then below that there is no seed number ascribed to each team.
At any rate, for teams like the Huskers who are a lock for a berth in the tournament, this weekend is less about winning and more about the game inside the game. Nebraska continues tune up their machine to full function. They will have specific goals for the matches against Maryland and Ohio State.
Those goals will go beyond just getting a win. They will work on being more efficient in rotation 1, balancing the attack to give each hitter a certain percentage of the attacks, serving to specific spots, and serve receiving with passes in front of the ten foot line 90% of the time.
For other squads, like Ohio State, this weekend is about building the resume by beating another high ranked team to get into the tournament. Ohio State is on the bubble. Their RPI ranking is 64 and the definition of a bubble team.
They beat Wisconsin a couple weeks ago which is a mammoth win, but they probably need to show that wasn’t just a fluke. Look for a furious effort from them. A win at Nebraska would probably put them over the top and into the tournament.
The Buckeyes have also had some mammoth losses. Check out their full schedule here. Most of those bad losses came at the start of the season so OSU’s case for being in the tournament is that they are a hot team late, when it counts.
Remember what the selection committee is after. Could a red-hot Ohio State team make a run to the Sweet 16? Their case would be a lot stronger with two wins this weekend. Playing with nothing to lose is a tough opponent for Nebraska. Don’t be surprised to see the Huskers challenged on Saturday night.
Nebraska hosts Maryland on Friday at 7 p.m. and Ohio State on Saturday at 7 p.m. to conclude Big Ten play. Friday’s match will not be televised but will be streamed on BTNPlus.com and the BTN+ app. Saturday’s match will be televised on NET and streamed on BTNPlus.com and the BTN+ app. Both matches can be heard on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha on Friday and AM 590 in Omaha on Saturday. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com.
You can watch the volleyball NCAA tournament selection show on Sunday at 8:30 pm on ESPNU and then pick your teams in the bracket here. I’ll cover the whole tournament here on cornnation.com. I’ll talk about match ups, conferences, match results and of course the upsets!
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