The NCAA volleyball season heads into the third weekend with even more intriguing non-conference matchups.
There are a whopping 230 Division I matches on Friday alone as many of the 330 or so teams play twice.
With the list of unbeatens sure to dwindle (see our story about GCU playing UTEP), Friday’s schedule has a little bit of everything.
Thursday things started off with a bang. Mississippi State improved to 6-1 with a five-set morning win in Houston over Indiana (5-2). The scoreline alone — 23-25, 33-31, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10 — lets you know it was a wild one as Gabby Wadden and Lauren Myrick had 19 kills each. But in this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately volleyball world, State was set to play Georgia Tech later Thursday.
For that matter, there were 26 matches on the Thursday schedule, including North Florida putting its 6-0 record up against Houston Baptist and later TCU in matches starting only four hours apart, 4-0 Auburn playing North Alabama, 6-0 Syracuse facing 0-4 Iowa, 5-0 Utah vs. Weber State, and the showcase match of the day, AVCA No. 16 UCLA (4-0) at No. 25 San Diego (3-2). UCLA has won 12 of the previous 13 meetings between the programs.
Here’s a brief look at what’s ahead on Friday, and, as always, links to watch any match can be found in our TV & Streamings Listings.
In the Big Ten, there are still five teams unbeaten, Maryland and Nebraska at 6-0, Ohio State at 5-0, and Purdue and Wisconsin are 4-0. Speaking of Nebraska, it’s hard to imagine the third-ranked Huskers could have looked any better in their 25-14, 25-22, 25-16 beatdown Wednesday of previously unbeaten No. 19 Creighton. Nebraska hit just .177, but held Creighton to .053.
Friday marks the start of a tremendous foursome in Eugene, Oregon, when No. 13 Minnesota plays No. 14 Stanford and No. 18 Penn State plays No. 11 Oregon.
Second-ranked Wisconsin is home for No. 8 Kentucky, the defending NCAA champion, in a match that will show on the Big Ten Network.
Among the other matches involving B1G teams, in one that has postseason seeding implications all over it, No. 6 Purdue plays No. 10 Louisville.
In the Pac-12, four teams remain unbeaten. Oregon and Utah are 5-0 and Colorado and UCLA are 4-0. Also on Friday’s slate, surprising Arizona, off to a 5-1 start, plays at No. 1 Texas, 5-0 and rocking right along.
And speaking of Texas, the Big 12 team then plays host to the ACC’s Notre Dame on Sunday. The Irish are off to a 2-4 start and play Arizona at Texas on Saturday.
Also in the Big 12, West Virginia is also 5-0. Every other team has at last two losses except for 6-2 Texas Tech. West Virginia is in Buffalo where it plays American on Friday morning and Canisius in the afternoon. Texas Tech is at Colorado.
No less than seven ACC teams entered Thursday unbeaten. Boston College is 7-0, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, and Syracuse are all 6-0, and Miami and Pitt are 5-0. Virginia Tech is 5-1 and Florida State and Georgia Tech are 4-1.
Pitt is in a showcase match when the No. 4 Panthers play host to No. 12 BYU, another match with huge postseason implications for both. Earlier in the day Pitt plays High Point and BYU plays the MAC’s Bowling Green, an NCAA team last spring that is off to a 3-3 start.
Also on the ACC Friday slate, NC State vs. Rutgers, Duke vs. Michigan, Indiana vs. Georgia Tech, and Florida State vs. the American Athletic’s UCF, which is 2-4 with losses to Georgia Tech, Penn State, and twice to South Carolina.
There are only two unbeatens left in the SEC, Ole Miss at 5-0, and Auburn at 4-0. Of course, Florida is 4-1, with that lone loss coming at Stanford. This past Sunday, the No. 7 Gators beat No. 10 Minnesota and Friday and Saturday play back-to-back home matches against No. 17 Baylor. Ole Miss plays UT Martin on Friday morning, but No. 15 Western Kentucky at night.
In case you missed it, we did a story Wednesday about Louisiana teams displaced because of Hurricane Ida, including Tulane, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, and University of New Orleans.