Hey, remember Marquette women’s volleyball? I hope so! They’ve been the best team on campus for the past few years, and yes, their timeshifted fall 2020/spring 2021 season is still going on. They haven’t played since visiting Butler on March 5th and 6th due to a combination of “that’s what the schedule was originally” and “matches against Xavier had to be canceled due to a COVID issue at Marquette.”
But yes, the season is still going on. In fact, the regular season is over. The rest of the Big East wrapped up everything this past weekend, and so, the conference tournament bracket is set. Two teams from both the East Division and the Midwest Division advanced to the conference semifinals, and yes, as you figured out from the headline, Marquette is one of the two teams from the Midwest Division.
Quite honestly, Marquette was gifted the #2 seed on the Midwest Division side with their record of 4-2 in Big East play. Had the schedule played out the way it was originally planned to play out, it was going to be Creighton as the #1 seed and Xavier as the #2 seed based on winning percentage before this past weekend. However, the Big East office elected to reschedule two previously postponed Creighton/Xavier matches, thus putting both of those teams at risk to drop behind the Golden Eagles in the standings. That’s exactly what happened as the Bluejays beat Xavier twice, although Creighton had to rally from down 2-1 in the first match to make that happen. Thus, it’s Creighton winning the Midwest Division with a record of 7-1, Marquette in second at 4-2, and Xavier in third with their season over at 3-3.
Quite honestly, it wouldn’t have come to that if Marquette hadn’t lost to Butler on March 5th. That was Butler’s only win of league play, and one of just four wins this season for the Bulldogs. That loss not only put MU’s spot in the conference tournament in jeopardy, but it also cost the Golden Eagles their AVCA top 25 ranking and it definitely makes this coming weekend’s Big East tournament slightly more important for MU.
I don’t know exactly how the NCAA tournament selection committee feels about Marquette, but I know that 1) it’s a 48 team tournament instead of the usual 64 team tournament, and 2) as of matches played on March 21st as I write this on Monday morning, Marquette has an RPI of 30. That doesn’t feel like it’s good enough for an at-large berth. However, Marquette might get one, maybe two opportunities to improve that RPI as well as a crack at making an at-large bid not matter at all this coming weekend in Omaha.
MU will get their Big East tournament action started this coming Friday, April 2nd, when they play East Division #1 seed St. John’s in the Big East semifinals at D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha. First serve on that is set for 1:30pm Central, and it will follow along after Creighton plays East Division #2 seed Providence in the first semifinal. Both matches will be streamed on the Big East Digital Network..... although the press release from the league doesn’t explicitly say what service that’s through. I presume it’s on the league’s YouTube channel?
The winners of Friday’s semifinals will advance to Saturday’s championship match. That is scheduled for 11:30am Central on Saturday, April 3rd. FS1 will broadcast the championship match.