North Texas Enters CUSA Tournament as Top Seed (BRACKET BREAKDOWN)

  0 Braden Keith | November 13th, 2017 | News

2017 Conference USA Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament

  • November 17th-19th, 2017
  • Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Live Video – CUSA.TV (ESPN3 – Final)
  • Tournament Site
  • Bracket

The top 8 teams in the regular season standings have all qualified for the 2017 Conference USA Women’s Volleyball Tournament – the winner of which will receive an automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA National Championship tournament. Conference USA is a likely 1-bid conference to NCAAs, although if Western Kentucky doesn’t win, they might still sneak in on the strength of a 27-3 season that includes wins over Pitt, Ohio State, Miami (OH), and Dayton outside of conference play.

The Wildcats were en route to another undefeated regular season before a season-ending loss to North Texas, which also meant that the two teams would share the conference title. North Texas received the top seed in the tournament by virtue of winning the teams’ lone head-to-head competition this season.

The 26-2 Mean Green have floated under the radar this season, in spite of improving from 13-19 last year to 26-2 this year. Their only losses are to Texas Tech out of the Big 12 and Southern Miss in September; they also have a lot of wins against power 5 teams, including Oregon State, Oklahoma, Boston College, and Mississippi State. The Mean Green are hitting .306 this season – including a whopping .600 in their last game of the regular season against Middle Tennessee State – the second-best single-match hitting percentage of any team in the country so far in 2017. They’ve had 7-or-fewer errors in 3 games this season – an astonishing efficiency.

The challenge will be to strike twice against Western Kentucky – a more experienced team than them. UNT hit just .256 in their win over the Hilltoppers, which was their lowest hitting percentage in a month. It was just a segmented match, with wild swings from set-to-set.

Conversely, WKU hit .340 in that match – and lost. In the 1st and 4th sets they looked overwhelmingly-dominant. They got very cold on the road in one too many. With home court advantage, though, the Hilltoppers have to be considered favorites – in spite of the loss.

The big advantage for North Texas by being the #1 seed is that they escape the possibility of having to face Rice in a semi-final. Last year, they got on a hot-streak in the tournament that they took all the way to the championship game – and a 5th set against WKU. They graduated their 2 highest scorers from last year’s team, but still had a better conference record (11-3) than last year. They’ve already lost to both North Texas and WKU this year, but they’re worth eyeballing as a sleeper. The Rice vs. Southern Miss game in the opening round should be one of the best matches of the tournament.


We like Western Kentucky to beat Rice in one semi-final, and North Texas to beat Florida Atlantic in the other, both by 3-1 scores. Then, in the championship game, we think the Hilltoppers will get their revenge and take the title 3-1 to advance to their 4th-straight NCAA tournament. That would make this the first Hilltopper senior class to advance to the NCAA tournament 4 times.


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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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