What a day of regional semifinals we had – and once again I’m so happy the NCAA spread out the match times instead of stacking. That leaves us with eight left competing for that National Championship, including the four schools that have combined for the last six National Championships.
NCAA TOURNAMENT REGIONAL FINAL/ELITE 8 (SATURDAY):
VM PREDICTION RECORD: 46-10 (PICKED EXACT NUMBER OF SETS IN 25)
- First Round: 27-5 (picked exact number of sets in 17)
- Second Round: 13-3 (picked exact number of sets in 6)
- Sweet 16: 6-2 (picked exact number of sets in 2)
4 p.m. ET – (VM#3) #3 Illinois def. (VM#5) #6 Wisconsin 3-2
- Illinois went 14-2 at home this season, but one of those two home losses was to Wisconsin. They did get revenge in the most recent meeting though in Madison. The Illinois block didn’t affect the first one as much as the second while Rettke was great in both. This time, we think Illinois gets by in a tight match that should feature two final four worthy teams.
6 p.m. ET – (VM#6) #7 Nebraska def. (VM#10) #15 Oregon 3-1
- Oregon prevented an All-Big Ten side of the bracket, but Nebraska can still guarantee a Big Ten squad will make the National Title with a win. The Ducks matched up well with Minnesota this year, getting their second win over the Gophers to make this point – Minnesota had just one loss in conference play. They’ve got a real chance to pull off another upset, but the steady play of Kenzie Maloney and the pin attackers for the Huskers might be too much.
8 p.m. ET – #4 BYU def. (VM#8) #5 Texas 3-2
- The Cougars edged out the Longhorns to host in this exact moment – and maybe that’s the difference. The biggest question will be how much does not having McKenna Miller effect BYU at this national stage. Back in the 2016 Sweet 16 the Cougars almost upended the Longhorns, and this time with Roni Jones-Perry as a National Player of the Year candidate we think they have just enough to squeak by a loaded Texas team.
10 p.m. ET – (VM#1) #1 Stanford def. (VM#7) #8 Penn State 3-1
- The Cardinal swept the Nittany Lions earlier this year at home, but Penn State kept every game close. With an improving unit, the Nittany Lions should make this one even tighter, but the experience and balance of Stanford may be too much once again.