The NCAA announced the field for the 2019 volleyball national championship tournament on Sunday night, thus officially determining Marquette’s postseason fate.
Perhaps because of the Big East championship loss to St. John’s, Marquette was denied an opportunity to host the first two rounds as one of the 16 national seeds. Instead, the Golden Eagles will be headed to West Lafayette, Indiana, for their first match of the 64 team tournament. They’ll take on Dayton on Friday, December 6th, in whatever facility it is that Purdue hosts their volleyball matches.
The winner of Marquette/Dayton will get the winner of Purdue/Wright State. Purdue is the host for the pod, and the Boilermakers earned the 16th and final national seed. With MU getting sent to West Lafayette for the first round, you can easily make the argument that the Golden Eagles landed in the #17 spot when it came to determining the top 16 seeds. If they weren’t going to host themselves, they had to go somewhere, and the selection committee sent them to the weakest of the national seeds. However, that may just be by default to some small degree. The NCAA likes to keep these things as regional as possible to cut down on travel costs, and sending Marquette to a possible second round match with #4 Wisconsin or #7 Minnesota would have been wildly out of place given how close Marquette was to hosting based on their RPI numbers heading into the Big East tournament.
Dayton went 22-8 this season, with a 13-1 record in the Atlantic 10. That still wasn’t good enough for the top seed in their conference tournament, but they did upset #1 VCU in the title game to earn the A-10’s automatic bid.
Elsewhere in the Big East, Creighton was also denied an opportunity to host in the first round. The Jays had an RPI ranking of #17 heading into the Big East tournament, so their fate may have already been decided by the time they lost to St. John’s in the semifinals. Creighton will head up north to the pod hosted by #7 Minnesota for the first round where they will face Iowa State Cyclones on Friday, December 6th. If they win, they’ll get the winner of the Minnesota/Fairfield first round match. Even with the Big East automatic bid in their back pocket, St. John’s was not able to avoid a first round match against a national seed. They’ll be headed to College Station to face #13 Texas A&M in the first round on Thursday, December 5th. If they pull a third straight upset, the Red Storm will get the winner of Oklahoma/Rice.
While the dates are set, the times and potential television airings are not. Keep your eyes and ears tuned to GoMarquette.com and MU’s various social media outlets for more information on that as it becomes available.