The first day of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, with one more night of action for the first round before things are chopped down to 32 teams.
NCAA Tournament First Round (Day Two – Friday):
VM Prediction Record: 6-2 (picked exact number of sets in 1)
4 p.m. ET – (VM#21) Michigan def. Navy 3-0
- Navy played a few Big Ten schools and got swept by Penn State while losing in four to Rutgers. The Wolverines should be able to dominate this match and move onto the second round.
4:30 p.m. ET – (VM#19) Washington def. Saint Mary’s 3-1
- This will be quite the early game for two west coast schools. The Huskies thrive off of defense and their serve/receive game, but they likely won’t completely overpower a Saint Mary’s bunch that upended Utah, swept Cal and won 19 matches.
5 p.m. ET – (VM#15) Purdue def. ETSU 3-1
- East Tennessee State is really good. They have wins over Tennessee, Washington State and Duke and were taken to five by Cincinnati. They should keep this close, but Purdue should be able to squeeze by the opposition.
5 p.m. ET – Syracuse def. Yale 3-0
- Yale didn’t play the most trying schedule, while Syracuse did. They should be able to overmatch the team from the Ivy League and win in three or four.
5:30 p.m. ET – (VM RV) Cincinnati def. Illinois State 3-2
- Cincinnati mastered five-setters, playing in 12 of them and going 8-4. So it wouldn’t be shocking for a match with two teams near each other in level of play to do so. Illinois State is good enough to win, but Cinci having Jordan Thompson on the right pin as an X-factor is the difference.
5:30 p.m. ET – Louisville def. Dayton 3-2
- Dayton came close to pulling off a few upsets during their non-conference portion over strong teams, and they are hot after winning six straight including against VCU – who gave them their last loss. Louisville though has an experienced bunch ready to make up for last year’s first round exit.
5:30 p.m. ET – (VM#23) Arizona def. (VM RV) Missouri 3-2
- Arizona made the Sweet 16 two years ago while Missouri has made it in back-to-back seasons. The Tigers have a little more experience, but Arizona played better to end the year knowing they needed a final push to get in.
5:30 p.m. ET – (VM RV) Colorado def. South Carolina 3-1
- South Carolina is actually the higher seed in this, but it’s because of how tough the Pac-12 is on teams and Colorado taking some lumps. Now out of that, this team that made the Sweet 16 in 2017 earns the win.
6 p.m. ET – (VM#25) Utah def. Denver 3-2
- The Pioneers had a phenomenal season with just two losses – one in five to Baylor and the other in the Summit League title to South Dakota in five. They even won at Utah 3-2 back in August. This time though, the Utes are improved and get revenge.
7 p.m. ET – (VM#9) #9 Creighton def. South Dakota 3-0
- The Bluejays are rolling right now with 20 consecutive victories and are two shy of winning 30. Their monster attackers on the outside should be enough to keep the good times coming.
7 p.m. ET – (VM#11) #12 Pittsburgh def. Iona 3-0
- The Panthers have dominated lesser competition all season long and should continue to do so as they look to make the second round for the third straight season.
7 p.m. ET – (VM#16) Tennessee def. Colorado State 3-2
- The Vols didn’t have the RPI to be seeded, but are a really good team who went 25-5 in the SEC and just beat Florida to nab a second place finish. The Rams won an NCAA Tournament game last season and play a tough non-con, so they’ll be ready, but overall Tennessee is the better team.
7:30 p.m. ET – Loyola Marymount def. Duke 3-2
- The Blue Devils last three matches have come in five, so why not continue that trend. They recently had a five-match winning streak, that included a victory over Pitt, but they lost three of four to finish. LMU is fresh off of their BYU win with confidence, and has a chip on their shoulder for being one of the last in.
7:30 p.m. ET – (VM#10) #10 Kentucky def. Murray State 3-0
- The Wildcats are hot after early season struggles. Their offensive firepower should be more than enough to win this one going away.
7:30 p.m. ET – (VM#7) #8 Penn State def. Howard 3-0
- These two met in the non-conference portion of the season and the Nittany Lions won 3-0 on the road. Howard did push one to extra points and got 21 on another, so should be competitive, but too much Penn State.
8 p.m. ET – (VM#3) #3 Illinois def. Eastern Michigan 3-0
- The blocking and setting of Illinois makes it really tough for smaller school teams to pull an upset, and the Fighting Illini should roll to another second round appearance.
8 p.m. ET – (VM#22) #14 Marquette def. High Point 3-0
- High Point faced five NCAA Tournament teams – and three hosts – in the non-con. They lost all five, although did take a set from Wisconsin and Pitt. It wouldn’t be a shock for them to do it again, but overall Marquette is the stronger side.
8 p.m. ET – (VM#2) #2 Minnesota def. Bryant 3-0
- The Gophers are the class of the Big Ten and should be able to impose their will on Bryant. This should be quick work for Minnesota.
8 p.m. ET – (VM#6) #7 Nebraska def. Hofstra 3-0
- The Huskers’ youth could show in this one and it wouldn’t be surprising if they dropped a set. They played in a solid CAA too, but didn’t take on anyone to Nebraska’s caliber, and with the talent mismatch Big Red should roll.
9 p.m. ET – (VM#4) #4 BYU def. Stony Brook 3-0
- Stony Brook is on a nice run after dominating their league and going unbeaten, but against other competition in the non-conference they struggled. BYU, even without Miller, should be able to dominate.
9 p.m. ET – (VM#18) Cal Poly def. San Diego 3-1
- Cal Poly isn’t hosting because their two wins over UCLA got completely diminished over the final stretch of the season, but they’re still really good. San Diego on the other hand has some nice victories and have kept matches with top teams close, but hasn’t put it all together enough at just 16-12.
10 p.m. ET – (VM#1) #1 Stanford def. Alabama State 3-0
- Stanford’s run to a National Title starts here against a team making its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Last year they lost to Florida, who eventually played for the championship.
10 p.m. ET – (VM#14) #16 Washington State def. Northern Arizona 3-1
- NAU was inconsistent in the non-conference, but did score a five-set upset of Florida. They are good enough to keep this close, but Washington State should be able to come away with the victory at the end of the day.
11 p.m. ET – (VM#13) #11 USC def. Samford 3-0
- Samford is just 19-14, and while USC has had some let-down moments this season, we expect a new energy with the beginning of the NCAA Tournament.