Pac-12 record nine volleyball teams earn NCAA bids

• NCAA Tournament Bracket: PDF | Interactive

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - A league-record nine Pac-12 teams earned bids into the 2013 Division I NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship, the NCAA Volleyball Selection Committee announced on Sunday. It is the most of any conference in the nation. Of the nine selections, three league squads were tabbed a top-16 seed, including No. 4 WASHINGTON, No. 6 USC and No. 7 STANFORD. The NCAA Tournament begins Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 5-7, with the top-seeded teams playing host to the first and seconds rounds.

In addition to the three seeded Pac-12 teams, ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, OREGON and UTAH will also be competing for the 2013 national championship, which will be held at KeyArena in Seattle on Dec. 19 and 21. It is the 14th-consecutive year the Conference has had at least six teams earn NCAA Tournament bids.

ARIZONA was tied for fifth in the Conference, posting a 20-12 record and 10-10 in league play. It is the Wildcats’ fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years and 24th all-time. UA was the first Pac-12 team to hand USC its first league loss of the season on Oct. 20 and just wrapped up the regular season with a hard-fought, 3-1 win over rival ARIZONA STATE. Placed in the Lincoln Regional, Arizona will face New Mexico State (22-10) in the first round in San Diego. The winner of that match will face the winner of ninth-seeded San Diego-UC Santa Barbara first-round match.

ARIZONA STATE is one of three teams in the Los Angeles Regional and gets into the tournament after posting a 19-13 overall record and 8-12 in the Pac-12. ASU is one of only two teams this season to defeat Texas, the top-seeded team in the country and the defending NCAA Champion. The Sun Devils are making their second-straight tournament appearance and 17th overall. Last season’ NCAA bid was the team’s first since 2006. ASU faces BYU (22-6) in the first round, with 11th-seeded Hawai’i also hosting Idaho State.

CALIFORNIA (17-12, 10-10) was placed in the Champaign Regional and faces North Carolina (27-4) in the first round in Madison, Wis. The Golden Bears will be looking to avenge their NCAA Tournament loss to the Tar Heels last year. The winner of that first-round matchup will face the winner of the Milwaukee-#12 Wisconsin tilt. Tied for fifth in the Pac-12, Cal is making its 12th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 17th overall.

COLORADO is heading back to the tournament for the first time since 2006. The Buffs finished the regular-season record with a 17-13 mark and 9-11 in Conference play. The nine league wins are more than double what CU had won last season, while its 17 overall wins are the most since 2006. The Buffs posted three wins over ranked opponents, including an upset over then-No. 1 Washington on Oct. 4. Colorado will face former Big 12-rival Iowa State (18-9) in Minneapolis, with the winner moving on to face the winner of the 10th-seeded Minnesota-Radford match.

OREGON (19-11, 12-8) was placed in the Lincoln Regional, as well, and facing Miami (Fla.) (19-11) after finishing fourth in the Pac-12. The Ducks head to the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year and seventh time in eight years, and on a five-match win streak. The Ducks, who advanced to their first-ever NCAA title match in 2012, head to Lincoln, Neb., where Fairfield and eighth-seeded Nebraska battle in the other first-round match.

Seventh-seeded STANFORD is won of only two teams appearing in all 21 championships. The Cardinal was just one match shy of capturing the Pac-12 regular-season crown, posting a league record of 17-3 and 24-5 overall. Stanford was placed in the Lexington Regional and face Hampton (19-10) in the first round, while also hosting Alabama and Oklahoma. Should the Cardinal advance, it could face second-seeded Penn State in the regional final, the only other team to appear in every NCAA Championship.

The sixth seed, USC (26-5, 16-4) was third in the Pac-12 this season. The Trojans will make their 31st NCAA Tournament appearance, only missing out on postseason play in 1986 and 1990, while advancing to the national semifinals as recently as 2010 and 2011. USC faces New Hampshire (20-12) in the first round, and hosts Colorado State and CS-Northrdige. Should the Trojans get past the first and second rounds, they would remain at home as host of the Los Angeles Regional.

UTAH makes a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008 after posting a 20-12 mark overall and 9-11 in Conference play to tie for seventh in the standings. The 20-win campaign is the team’s first since 2008. Utah is making their 11th appearance all-time. Utah faces Yale (20-4) in the first round of the Lexington Regional, and could face the winner of the Penn State-Radford match should the Utes move on.

WASHINGTON (26-2, 18-2) is the highest-seeded Pac-12 team in the tournament, earning the No. 3 seed overall and in the Los Angeles Regional. The Huskies won the Pac-12 title this season for the first time since 2008, the same season they won the NCAA title. UW has even more to play for this season with the national semifinals and title matches taking placed just minutes from campus at KeyArena. The Huskies will first have to go through Alabama State (25-15) in the first round on their home court, and hosts LSU-Michigan. The Huskies may also have to get past Conference-foe USC in Los Angeles in order to get back to Seattle.

The national semifinals and championship matches are being held at KeyArena in Seattle on Dec. 19 and 21. All matches from KeyArena will be televised on ESPN2.

2013 Division NCAA Volleyball Championship
Friday & Saturday, December 6 & 7 - First & Second Rounds

ARIZONA vs. New Mexico State, 5 p.m. PT
#9 San Diego vs. UC Santa Barbara, 7:30 p.m. PT
Lincoln Regional, at San Diego

OREGON vs. Miami (Fla.), 3:30 p.m. CT
#8 Nebraska vs. Fairfield, 5 p.m. CT
Lincoln Regional, at Lincoln, Neb.

CALIFORNIA vs. North Carolina, 4 p.m. CT
#12 Wisconsin vs. Milwaukee, 6:30 p.m. CT
Champaign Regional, at Madison, Wis.

LSU vs. Michigan, 5 p.m. PT
Alabama State at #3 WASHINGTON, 7:30 p.m. PT
Los Angeles Regional, Seattle

ARIZONA STATE vs. BYU, 4 p.m. HT
#11 Hawai’i vs. Idaho State, 6:30 p.m. HT
Los Angeles Regional, Honolulu

Colorado vs. Iowa State, 3:30 p.m. CT
#10 Minnesota vs. Radord, 6 p.m. CT
Lexington Regional, Minneapolis

Utah vs. Yale, 5 p.m. ET
#2 Penn State vs. LIU-Brooklyn, 7:30 ET
Lexington Regional, University Park, Pa.

Thursday & Friday, December 5 & 6 - First & Second Rounds
Colorado State vs. CS-Northridge, 5 p.m. PT
New Hampshire at #6 USC, 7:30 p.m. PT
Los Angeles Regional, Los Angeles

Alabama vs. Oklahoma, 4:30 p.m. PT
Hampton at #7 STANFORD, 7 p.m. PT
Lexington Regional, Stanford, Calif.

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