It is the final week of the volleyball regular season. After this weekend we will know who is in the NCAA field of 64 teams. We already know some of the teams. Sunday, November 27th at 7:30 pm ET, after all the conference matches are played, the complete bracket is reveled on ESPNU.
We know the Big Ten standings going into this weekend:
1. Wisconsin 17-1
2. Nebraska 16-2
3. Ohio State 15-3
4. Minnesota 13-5
5. Penn State 11-7
T6. Purdue 10-8
T6. Illinois 10-8
8. Indiana 8-10
9. Michigan 7-11
T10. Northwestern 6-12
T10. Maryland 6-12
12.Michigan State 3-15
13. Iowa 2-16
14. Rutgers 2-16
Important notes about the Big Ten Standings as of now:
Wisconsin (17-1) lost to Minnesota on Sep 25. The last time Wisconsin lost was September!! What, nobody could beat them since September?? Purdue? No, they lost in four sets. Minnesota again? No, they lost in four sets in the second meeting. Penn State? No, they lost twice, once in three sets and more recently in five sets.
Wisconsin is better than we thought they would be this season after losing phenomenal players from the 2021 championship team. We expected them to be a top ten team, but to be a contender for the national championship again is very surprising.
Nebraska, (16-2) lost to Wisconsin and Ohio State. Both losses were surprising. While these are quality teams, Nebraska has every talent and ability to beat them. Nebraska also beat Ohio State and now plays Wisconsin in the final weekend of the regular season for the first time this season.
Ohio State (15-3) lost to Nebraska, Maryland and Indiana. The two most recent losses happened this last weekend. Ohio State was playing without starting libero Kylie Murr. They lost for many reasons to these unranked Maryland and Indiana teams but most important was poor passing and that shows how important Murr is.
So the key matchups for this backloaded weekend will decide the B1G Championship. Nebraska v Wisconsin on Friday and Wisconsin v Ohio State on Saturday. While there is just a slim chance Ohio State could take the title, it is still a possibility. If Ohio State wins out and Nebraska beats Wisconsin and loses to Minnesota (the Saturday night tilt in Lincoln) then the Buckeyes take the crown.
More likely is that the champion will be the winner of the Wisconsin v Nebraska game. However, if Nebraska wins both their remaining games and the Badgers go on to beat Ohio State then the title will be split. There are no tie breakers and they will be co-champions.
If Wisconsin beats the Huskers on Friday night, then they are champions for the second year in a row.
These matches have implications for the NCAA seeding as well. There will be only one Big Ten team as a #1 seed this year. There are many good teams and conferences in volleyball. The talent is spread. While, the Big Ten is the best conference in the country, there will still only be one #1 seed from this conference. The other #1 seeds will likely be Texas, Louisville and Stanford.
High drama to close out the season, just like we hoped there’d be. GBR!