The first two rounds of the tournament saw five upsets — leaving three Big 10 teams in the dust. Nebraska, the No. 2 overall seed with one of the largest volleyball fan bases in the country, fell to Kansas State in five sets. Ohio State defeated No. 14 seed Tennessee and will now face No. 3 seed Illinois in the Sweet 16.
Michigan upset No. 11 seed Stanford and will now take on Florida, who upset No. 6 seed Northern Iowa.
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said there are no guarantees in this tournament anymore.
“Being able to have [the team] watch Nebraska lose to Kansas State sends a message that there’s no gimmes, and we’ve been telling them that all week long and all year long,” Elliott said.
Honolulu Regional causes tough, early matchups
The regional has six of the top 18 ranked teams, according to the most recent coaches’ poll. Because of this regional, No. 1 ranked USC will be taking on No. 3 Hawaii on Friday.
If Nebraska, the Big 10 champion, had made it past the second round, it would have been in this regional. USC won the Pac-12 and Hawaii won the Western Atlantic Conference Championship. But because they are seeded seventh and 10th, they face each other in the Sweet 16 with the Rainbow Wahine looking to take advantage of playing on their home court.
Penn State not invincible this year
The Nittany Lions have won three consecutive NCAA Championships — but this is a very different year for the team. They lost seniors Blair Brown, Arielle Wilson and Alyssa D’Errico. The team went 25-7 this year and are the No. 8 seed in the tournament.
They swept both Liberty University and the University of Delaware in the first two rounds of the tournament and face off against No. 9 UCLA on Friday while Texas is playing the University of Kentucky. The Nittany Lions and the Longhorns will face each other again if they make it out of their regional semifinals. They have defeated Texas in the Final Four the last two years. The Longhorns beat Penn State earlier this season in five sets.
Printed on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 as: Huskers fall to former Big 12 foe