INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball committee announced on Sunday the 64-team field that will compete in the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. Thirty-two conferences were awarded an automatic qualification, while the remaining 32 positions were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket.
The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and placed within four regions. The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the defending national champion, earned the top seed followed by No. 2 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, No. 3 University of Wisconsin-Madison and No. 4 University of Texas at Austin.
Per the established bracketing principles the top 16 seeds were provided the opportunity to host. Additionally, team pairings were determined by geographic proximity, with the exception that teams from the same conference were not paired during the first- and second-rounds.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 led all leagues with eight teams selected from their conferences to compete in the championship tournament. The Big 12 Conference was third with six programs advancing to the tournament. Pennsylvania State University and Stanford University are the only two teams that have earned berths to all 36 championship tournaments. Three programs are making their first appearances in the tournament: University of North Dakota, Boise State University and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
During the previous 35 years of the championship 10 schools have won a national title, eight of which earned a place in this year’s bracket.
Previous winners competing in the field are: UCLA (1984, 1990, 91, 2011), University of Hawaii, Manoa (1982, 83, 87), Nebraska (1995, 2000, 06, 15), University of Southern California (1981, 2002, 03), Stanford (1992, 94, 96, 97, 2001, 04), Penn State (1999, 2007, 08, 09, 10, 13, 14), Texas (1988, 2012) and University of Washington (2005).
First- and second-round matches will be played December 1-3 at 16 campus sites. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 9 and 10. Regionals for the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship will be held at four non-predetermined campus sites, which will be announced after play concludes, on December 3. At each site, four teams will compete in single-elimination regional semifinal competition. All regional semifinal matches will be shown on ESPN3. Regional final matches will air on ESPNU.
The regional winners will advance to the national semifinals and championship final co-hosted by the Ohio State University and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on December 15 and 17. Both national semifinal matches as well as the championship match will be broadcast by ESPN2.