Dec. 9, 2010
Complete Release in PDF Format
Six Big Ten volleyball teams will compete in the round of 16 this weekend in NCAA Championship action at all of four regional sites. Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue make up the six conference representatives remaining in the field, giving the Big Ten the most teams remaining in this year’s draw. All four of the conference’s top-16 seeded teams are still in the tournament, while Indiana and Ohio State both knocked off seeded foes to reach the regional semifinal round. Round of 16 matches are scheduled for Friday, while regional finals are set for Saturday.
The six conference teams to advance to the regional semifinals this year marks the most in Big Ten history. When Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue each solidified berths in the round of 16, it broke the previous record of five teams to advance to the regional semifinal round, which occurred in 2006. Among the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC, the Pac-10 in 1982 is the only other conference to have sent six teams to the regional semifinal round.
The six remaining Big Ten teams are spread among each of the four regionals. Penn State will host the University Park Regional, while Minnesota will represent the Big Ten in the Seattle Regional. Illinois and Purdue appear in the Austin Regional, and Indiana and Ohio State make up half of the Dayton Regional.
Eight Teams Reach 20 Wins
This season, a record eight Big Ten teams reached or eclipsed the 20-win mark. Only once before had the Big Ten had seven teams reach the 20-win mark, and Northwestern’s first-round victory over Arizona in the NCAA Championship gave the conference eight this year. Other conference teams also reaching the landmark this season were Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue.
This season, each conference squad has recorded at least one victory over a team ranked in the AVCA coaches poll. Nine Big Ten teams have at least two wins over top-25 teama, while all eight NCAA Championship-qualifying teams won three or more matches against ranked opponents. Of the six teams remaining in this year’s bracket, each has won at least three matches against a ranked opponent, five have four or more triumphs, and four defeated five or more ranked opponents this season.
Up in the RPI
When the NCAA released its final RPI report prior to the NCAA Championship, all eight NCAA Championship-qualifying teams from the Big Ten finished in the top 39 of the standings. Penn State, Illinois and Minnesota were ranked Nos. 5, 6 and 7, respectively, while Purdue was 15th and Northwestern was 23rd. Indiana appeared at No. 34 in the index, while Ohio State and Michigan checked in at Nos. 38 and 39, respectively.
Thank You Big Ten Fans
Big Ten fans continued to be some of the most dedicated in the nation with six conference squads ranking among the nation’s top 17 teams in average home attendance this season. Additionally, nine of the top 35 schools in home attendance hail from the Big Ten, and five conference schools average 2,000 or more fans per contest. Wisconsin ranks third nationally with 3,737 fans per contest, followed immediately by Penn State (3,333), while Minnesota (2,991) is sixth, Michigan State is 11th (2,279), Illinois is No. 13 (2,171) and Purdue is No. 17 (1,988).
Thirteen Big Ten standouts were named to the 14-member AVCA All-Mideast Region team, the association announced. The 14-member squad includes one four-time selection in Michigan's Lexi Zimmerman, a pair of three-time honorees in Penn State's Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson and two-time members Ashley Benson of Indiana and Sabel Moffett of Northwestern. Penn State's Deja McClendon was named Mideast Region Freshman of the Year, while Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose was named Mideast Region Coach of the Year. Other All-Mideast Region team members include Illinois' Michelle Bartsch, Hillary Haen and Colleen Ward, Michigan's Alex Hunt, Minnesota's Jessica Granquist, Northwestern's Naomi Johnson, Penn State's McClendon and Purdue's Jaclyn Hart.