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Michella Chester | NCAA.com | November 22, 2022

The top matchups to watch in the final week of the college volleyball season

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The final week of the 2022 college volleyball regular season is here — and somehow, someway, we have some of the best matchups for last. The Big Ten, rightfully so, is coming down to the wire, and we will get to see multiple big-time matchups this weekend. There were too many matchups to pick from, especially with a lot of conference championships this weekend. The Big East could potentially see the third matchup between Creighton and Marquette, which would break the tie between the two teams and have big implications on seeding. UCF and Houston will rematch as well — another one that will have a serious impact on seeding. Either one could be in consideration for a top-16 seed to host a regional. 

San Diego will face off against BYU for the second time this season as well. BYU could put themselves into consideration for hosting as well, or San Diego could further its claim for a spot in the top four. Then don't even get me started on the Big Ten. Wisconsin will take on Nebraska and Ohio State, Minnesota will take on OSU as well and Nebraska. In short, it is a big week in college volleyball and all just days or hours before selections. 

We will have all of our bracket answers at 7:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, but until then, here are my top three matchups to watch this weekend: 

No. 13 Georgia Tech at No. 7 Pitt | 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, Nov. 23 on ACCN Extra

Pittsburgh Volleyball

First up, I had to go with this battle in the ACC. The ACC title is still up for grabs, and this match will certainly play a big part in that. Pitt took down Louisville earlier this season in five sets, but the Cards avenged that loss last week with a dominating sweep over the Panthers. Now, the two teams have split the series heading into selections. But the Panthers still have another huge test in Georgia Tech this week. I might not have picked this match had I not seen the Yellow Jackets play in person. I attended the Georgia Tech-Louisville matchup and saw Julia Bergmann and the Jackets firsthand. They came out and were able to completely dominate the Cards in the first two sets. I was so impressed by their play and think this is a really strong team that could make a big splash in the tournament. The Jackets are fighting as well to be in consideration for a top-16 seed, but they desperately need a top-10 win. The Panthers will likely host a regional either way, but a loss would give Louisville the AQ for their conference. 

You will see two big hitters across the net in this matchup with Bergmann and Courtney Buzzerio. Buzzerio posted 18 kills, five blocks and two aces in the four-set win over Georgia Tech prior this season. The rematch should be a sight to see. 

No. 3 Wisconsin at No. 5 Nebraska | 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 on BTN

Nebraska Volleyball

Now here is my favorite matchup of the week. We have a top-5 battle with the Big Ten title on the line and a chance to be a top-4 seed in the tournament. What more could you ask for? Wisconsin and Nebraska are facing off in a rematch of this season, and another rematch of the 2021 national title. The Badgers have won the past NINE matches against Nebraska, including a 3-0 dominating sweep earlier this year and the program's first ever national title last season. The sweep put Wisconsin straight into the top five and they have been there ever since. Now that OSU lost two matchups last week, Wisconsin and Nebraska are left to fight for the Big Ten title and the AQ out of the conference. The Huskers are coming off of a four-set loss to OSU a few weeks ago and now will be looking for some serious redemption against the Badgers. They are hot off of a sweep over Purdue last week where their stellar defense held the Boilermakers to a season-low .016 hitting percentage. The Badgers are strong defensively as well, and the last matchup came down to just an outstanding offensive performance from Wisconsin's Sarah Franklin and success at the service line for Wisconsin. They served six aces, with three coming from Izzy Ashburn. Now that the two have faced once already I am really eager to see how John Cook and the Huskers respond for round two, especially when a win is really crucial for both teams. 

No. 3 Wisconsin at No. 8 Ohio State | 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 on BTN

Ohio State volleyball

I had to include another Wisconsin matchup with the Badgers and Buckeyes facing off for the first time this season in the final week of the season. Some might say this matchup lost some of its allure after Ohio State lost two unexpected matchups last week to Indiana and Maryland. But I beg to differ. Those losses were pretty bad, yes, I don't want to understate that. But Ohio State is still an incredible team with more ranked wins than virtually every one else. They are capable of competing on the biggest stage this season, and those two losses just might motivate them more. With four matchups remaining, I'd bet that 99 percent of people would have guessed they would win the first two over Maryland and Indiana. It was the two next ones against Wisconsin and Minnesota that were a toss up. How odd would it be if they were to win the tougher two of the four matchups. The Badgers have the toughest two matchups remaining and the chance to be a top-four seed in the tournament. 

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