There was a little bit of drama to the proceedings on Sunday night as Marquette volleyball had to wait out most of the bracket’s announcement before hearing their name called.
But the important thing was that it was called, and the Golden Eagles are headed to the NCAA tournament for the seventh consecutive season.
With a record of 22-9 after falling in five sets in the Big East championship match, Marquette is headed to Ames, Iowa, for the first round of this year’s national championship tournament. There, on the campus of Iowa State University, the Golden Eagles will square off with in-state rival Wisconsin in a match scheduled for 4pm Central time on Friday, December 1st.
Marquette was the first team to take a set from the Badgers earlier this season when they won the first set against them before falling 3-1 in Madison. Wisconsin holds a record of 20-9 after going 11-9 in Big Ten play, but don’t mistake that league record for a mediocre team. The Big Ten is one of the best volleyball conferences in the country, and that’s why, even with the losses, Wisconsin is still ranked #11 in the country right now.
The winner of the Marquette/Wisconsin match will advance to a Saturday match against the winner of Iowa State vs Princeton. The 21-6 Cyclones will be favored to win on their home court, as they are the #14 national seed in the tournament.
Marquette is the only Big East team to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Creighton is the only league member to also make the tournament, but they made their way in thanks to the Big East’s automatic bid. The Bluejays are the #9 national seed in the tournament and will host the first two rounds of the tournament at D.J. Sokol Arena, where they will play Coastal Carolina in the first round on Friday.
Marquette played 10 matches against teams in the NCAA tournament this season, compiling a record of just 3-7. The Golden Eagles had an incredibly competitive match at the Al McGuire Center with #4 seed Kentucky, and lost in five sets to #16 seed Wichita State in a match that they led 2-0. Marquette has shown the ability to knock off the top teams in the country when they’re playing at their best. They’ll need to do that if they want to advance past the Badgers.