NCAA volleyball match 2022 – bracket breakdown and preview

Texas is searching for its first school volleyball championship since 2012, and if the Longhorns are to win all of it, they are going to achieve this because the No. 1 general seed within the NCAA match.

Two different 1-seeds, Stanford and defending champion Wisconsin, have mixed for 4 of the final six NCAA titles.

The fourth No. 1 seed, Louisville, reached the nationwide semifinals for the primary time in program historical past final yr and will make historical past as the primary ACC staff to win all of it, however the Cardinals may need to undergo second-seeded Nebraska, which might be no small job.

With this yr’s remaining 4 (Dec. 15-17) returning to CHI Well being Middle in Omaha, the Huskers are aiming for his or her sixth nationwide title and their first of their dwelling state since 2015.

In the meantime, San Diego is 27-1 and hasn’t misplaced since falling to Louisville in early September, but when the Toreros, a No. 2 seed, wish to preserve stunning the world, they might must face 2020 champion Kentucky in a regional semifinal and nine-time champion Stanford within the regional finals.

Earlier than the regionals start Thursday, we requested our analysts to interrupt down the bracket — which groups have the hardest highway to Omaha and what are their predictions for the primary weekend of the match?

Which staff’s seed shocked you essentially the most?

Holly McPeak: Going into the choice present, I believed both Stanford or San Diego can be No. 4, so it is not shocking that they must play one another to get to the nationwide semifinals. I believed Nebraska being seeded forward of a streaking Minnesota staff, which simply swept the Huskers and has a greater RPI, was a shock, however the committee instructed me that whereas they agreed the Gophers had been the recent staff of late, Nebraska had an important physique of labor the remainder of the season with no unhealthy losses to unranked groups.

Courtney Lyle: My greatest shock wasn’t a seed; it was the truth that the SEC had essentially the most groups within the match. Seven groups are dancing, essentially the most because the SEC had eight in 2013. We have seen conferences just like the Pac-12 and the Large Ten reign supreme within the volleyball world for a very long time. I believe this can be a nice signal the game is rising everywhere in the nation.

Jennifer Hoffman: I agree with Courtney right here. Not that rankings are a sign of convention energy, however solely two of the seven SEC groups are ranked within the high 25, and losses down the stretch for a number of groups ought to have left a few of their at-large bids among the many first 4 out checklist.

M.A. Voepel: The NCAA match bubble might be murky in all sports activities, nevertheless it usually appears to be actually murky in volleyball. As Courtney and Jennifer stated, seven for the SEC meant the inclusion of groups comparable to Tennessee and Auburn. The league may need anticipated to get one in (Auburn), however not each. That stated, general there actually weren’t many strange-looking selections, particularly in comparison with some previous years.

Sam Gore: That is truly the primary NCAA match bracket that did not depart me with an enormous query. The Committee did an intensive job, and any preliminary skepticism about one thing was met head on and defined by committee chair Pauline Theros. If I needed to nitpick, I used to be minorly shocked Georgia Tech was not a 4-seed.

Paul Sunderland: I used to be under no circumstances shocked general by the seeding. The committee for years has been broadly criticized … however not this yr. Nevertheless, San Diego earned and deserved a No. 1 seed. The Toreros nonetheless must cope with Stanford, however they earned the No. 4 general seed and the benefit of internet hosting.

Which of the highest 4 seeds has the hardest highway to Omaha?

McPeak: As a result of Minnesota is the most popular staff proper now, I really feel like Texas’ highway can be difficult. Texas is likely one of the most bodily groups within the nation and Minnesota can match the Longhorns in sure areas. Texas has a particular staff chemistry this yr with all its new gamers, and led by Logan Eggleston, the Longhorns are on a mission to win all of it.

Lyle: Texas has the hardest highway to Omaha. The Longhorns might face Ohio State or Minnesota within the tremendous regionals. The Golden Gophers are one of many hottest groups getting into the match, having received 11 of their final 13 matches. Taylor Landfair averages greater than 4.0 kills per set and she or he’s used to battling a giant block within the Large Ten.

Hoffman: I do not see any high 4 seeds having a straightforward highway to Omaha. I really feel the match subject had some followers questioning the committee, however general, the best way the sector is unfold out, whichever groups make it to Omaha most definitely could have earned it.

Voepel: The Longhorns could find yourself with the toughest Elite Eight match, however won’t have an excessive amount of hassle earlier than that. So for the whole highway to Omaha, there could also be a number of extra potential potholes for Louisvillle, which can must get previous Purdue, Baylor and Nebraska to advance to the ultimate 4. General, each regional remaining could really feel like a nationwide championship match by way of the standard of play.

Gore: Although I believe Texas is one of the best general staff within the subject, its highway to the nationwide semis is stuffed with potential obstacles. Georgia Tech might be actually good when it positive factors momentum, and Julia Bergmann can take over a match. Ohio State and USC are each loaded with expertise as properly. That stated, Minnesota presents the largest problem earlier than the Texas quarterfinal begins. The Gophers completed robust within the Large Ten, and I all the time really feel the caliber of competitors Large Ten groups play is a constructive intangible in NCAA match play. With this additionally being Hugh McCutcheon’s remaining season, there’s an emotional part in play as properly. Make little question, Texas can get by means of its quarter, however it is going to be a well-earned, hard-fought effort.

Sunderland: Texas. Julia Bergmann and Georgia Tech await down the highway, and Minnesota is wholesome, scorching (7-1 within the final eight) and has Taylor Landfair rolling.

Which low-seeded or unseeded staff has one of the best likelihood to make a deep run within the match?

McPeak: It is a powerful query. USC has the potential to upset anyone as a result of the Trojans compete properly, however they’ve been battling some severe accidents. Washington is a senior-heavy staff that has tons of NCAA expertise and will make a long term if it catches fireplace.

Lyle: I am excited to see what Auburn can do. The Tigers went into the season seeking to achieve expertise and develop the completely different weapons they’ve. Now Auburn is within the NCAA match for simply the second time, dancing with nothing to lose. That makes for a harmful staff.

Hoffman: Auburn is younger and performs fearlessly. The Tigers had excessive highs and low lows all through the season, however that by no means appeared to have an effect on them. Akasha Anderson and Kendal Kemp are forces to be reckoned with, and Auburn is positioned to take this match without warning.

Voepel: No. 7 seed BYU had just one “bad” loss — 3-2 at Pacific in October — and will have a rematch with No. 2 Pitt within the second spherical. The Cougars misplaced to Pitt 3-1 in Provo, Utah, on Sept. 3, and will relish one other shot on the Panthers.

Gore: I will go together with Kansas or UNLV. Each groups are underrated and have the items to drag off some upsets.

Sunderland: BYU and USC are each able to a run. The Cougars are wholesome now with the return of setter Whitney Bower. For the Trojans, Texas switch Skylar Fields and high setter Mia Tuaniga can carry them. Setters make the distinction, particularly this time of yr.

Who’s the match’s must-watch participant?

McPeak: I believe there are such a lot of particular gamers that it’s laborious to choose one. Madi Skinner has developed into top-of-the-line six rotation left-side attackers within the nation, and her counterpart Logan Eggleston is a four-time All-American on a mission. Taylor Landfair of Minnesota is a dynamic attacker who can take over a match as properly.

Lyle: Logan Eggleston of Texas has completed just about every little thing besides win a nationwide championship. Her teammates wish to win it for her — that tells you what sort of particular person she is. Eggleston is must-watch TV for her highly effective swings, her nasty serve and simply her pure drive.

Hoffman: I do not hear sufficient about Brooke Nuneville from Oregon. She’s thrilling to look at but in addition does it on the defensive finish and could be a spark for the Geese.

Voepel: If you happen to love the massive hitters, you may get pleasure from watching 6-foot-5 reverse Kendall Kipp of Stanford. She was a freshman on the Cardinal’s 2019 nationwide championship staff, when Kathryn Plummer was Stanford’s star. Kipp is averaging 4.31 kills per set and was simply named the Pac-12 participant of the yr. She is the thirteenth Cardinal participant to win the convention’s high honor, and the primary since Plummer received it back-to-back in 2017-2018.

Gore: There are two must-watch gamers that give followers prompt highlights each match: Texas’ Logan Eggleston and Georgia Tech’s Julia Bergmann.

Sunderland: There are such a lot of must-watch gamers, however let’s begin with Wisconsin’s Devyn Robinson. She is explosive and might be unstoppable — simply ask Nebraska and Ohio State. Subsequent is Claire Chaussee of Louisville. She’s this yr’s Jordan Larson award winner as one of the best all-around participant within the nation. (OK, so what if I made that up?) Lastly, Rice setter Carly Graham is exclusive and led the Owls to a sweep over San Diego in final yr’s match.

Which groups will make it to the ultimate 4?

Hoffman: Minnesota, San Diego, Wisconsin and Louisville. December is one of the best time of the yr. Let the video games start.

Voepel: Texas, San Diego, Wisconsin, Louisville. But when Nebraska, Creighton or each make it, the vitality within the constructing can be by means of the roof.

Gore: The 4 that win all their matches! Sorry, I could not resist! I am delighted to say this yr’s NCAA match is stuffed with potential upsets, so let’s get pleasure from the way it all performs out.

Sunderland: Let’s get right down to it. Wisconsin is enjoying at an unimaginable degree and Louisville is getting more healthy by the day with Anna Debeer returning. I will decide Stanford by a whisker over San Diego (which is the true deal). Lastly, to not be boring, however Minnesota over Stanford. It is a lengthy shot, however Minnesota is Texas’ kryptonite based mostly on type.