LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Apr. 4)–The Nebraska volleyball team was selected as the No. 5 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon and will be one of 48 teams to compete in the NCAA Tournament at the CHI Health Center Omaha from April 14-24.
The Huskers, making their 39th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, will open the tournament on Thursday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of the Texas State-Utah Valley first-round match that takes place on Wednesday, April 14. The top 16 seeds received a first-round bye. Nebraska’s region includes No. 4 seed Texas, No. 12 seed Baylor and No. 13 seed Penn State. The Huskers are on the left half of the bracket that also includes No. 1 national seed Wisconsin, No. 8 Florida and No. 9 Ohio State. The top two national seeds on the other side of the bracket are No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 Minnesota.
Nebraska, which has been to four NCAA Semifinals in the last five years and won National Championships in 2015 and 2017, finished the regular season 14-2 and in third place in the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers played 16 of their 22 scheduled regular-season matches, as six were canceled due to COVID-19 issues for opposing teams.
The first-round bye will be the Huskers’ first automatic advancement to the second round since 1997 when the tournament featured 56 teams. In 1998 the field was expanded to 68 teams. The Big Red will await the winner of Texas State-Utah Valley, who will play on Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m. Texas State played 38 matches – more than any team in the country – spread out over both the fall and spring and posted a 30-8 record. The Bobcats won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in November for the third year in a row. Texas State is coming off a 3-1 win at No. 9 Baylor on April 1. Utah Valley is making its first tournament appearance after winning the WAC Conference Tournament on Saturday with a 3-0 sweep over New Mexico State. Utah Valley posted a 14-5 overall record this spring. The Wolverines went 12-4 in the WAC.
2020-21 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL FORMAT
The 48-team NCAA Tournament begins with teams seeded 17-48 taking part in the first round on Wednesday, April 14 in the convention center of CHI Health Center Omaha. Four courts will be set up in the convention center with four different time slots for matches (all Central): 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Four matches will be played at a time, and all 16 first-round matches will be streamed online at WatchESPN.com.
The 16 winners from the first round will move on to play the top 16 seeds in the second round on Thursday, April 15 in the convention center. The four time slots for matches will again be 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Four matches will be played at a time, all streamed online on WatchESPN.com.
After taking off days on Friday and Saturday, the 16 remaining teams will compete in the regional semifinals on Sunday, April 18 in the convention center. Two courts will be used for the eight matches with staggered start times of Noon, 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. All matches again will be streamed on WatchESPN.com and four of the eight matches will be televised on ESPNU.
The first three rounds in the convention center will permit only guests of coaches and student-athletes to attend.
The rest of the tournament will move to the main arena of the CHI Health Center, where crowds of 25 percent capacity will be able to attend. The regional finals will be played Monday, April 19 at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., and all will be televised on ESPNU. After two days off, the NCAA Semifinals will be contested Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m. and 30 minutes following the conclusion of the 7 p.m. match, both on ESPN2. The NCAA Final is set for Saturday, April 24 at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.