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Showing posts from December, 2017

2017 NCAA Women's Regional Finals Wrap

The NCAA women's Final Four, beginning tonight, will feature No. 1-seeded Penn State vs. No. 5 Nebraska, and No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Stanford. The bracket has thus stuck pretty closely to the chalk, although we easily could have had No. 10-seed USC instead of Florida, the Trojans having held a match-point over the Gators in Game 4 of the teams' five-game contest. Florida's match-winning score was 25-23, 20-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-11.

One of the key turnaround factors for Florida was the improved hitting of Carli Snyder as the match progressed. As shown in the box score, Snyder had only two kills in the first three games combined (both in Game 2), seven in Game 4, and two in Game 5. In the post-game quotes, USC coach Mick Haley explained the situation in terms of a shift in USC's lineup apparently geared at increasing the Trojans' offensive firepower at the cost of losing their most effective blocking match-up on Snyder:

“What happened is they got [Carli Snyder] away f…

2017 NCAA Women's Tourney: First Weekend Wrap

The first two rounds of this year's NCAA women's tourney were completed this weekend and there were several casualties among seeded teams. We lost No. 8 Washington (to Illinois), No. 9 Creighton (to Michigan State), No. 12 Baylor (to Colorado), No. 14 Iowa State (to Wisconsin), and No. 16 Wichita State (to Mizzou). In addition, No. 4 Kentucky and No. 10 USC were taken to five games before prevailing, vs. Western Kentucky  and San Diego, respectively.

One might be tempted to say there's increasing parity among top teams. However, three of the upsets were engineered by unseeded Big Ten (B1G) teams, so it's hardly the case that teams from mid-major conferences are displacing ones from the power leagues. In fact, the B1G has six teams remaining    (No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Nebraska, and No. 7 Minnesota, in addition to the unseeded teams listed above). The Pac 12 is close behind, with five remaining teams (No. 3 Stanford, No. 10 USC, No. 11 Utah, No. 15 UCLA, and unseeded Co…