Wisconsin Volleyball Will Play 16 Tournament Opponents in 2017

  0 Braden Keith | April 25th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News

The Wisconsin Badgers will play 16 games against teams that played in the 2016 NCAA tournament next season, including 7 that advanced to the Elite 8.

Wisconsin released their fall 2017 schedule on Tuesday after finishing up a perfect spring exhibition schedule over the weekend. The Badgers will open their season at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in late August – which is about two weeks earlier than it normally is this season. They will play in a pod that has matchups against Louisville and North Carolina on Friday and Saturday, respectively. North Carolina are the defending ACC Champions, while Louisville finished just 10th in the 15-team league. The Cardinals were the 2015 champions, though, and are on the rebuild under new head coach Dani Busboom-Kelly. They’ll trade slots with Minnesota in that pod.

Next up the Badgers head to the Kansas State Invitational, where they’ll see Arkansas, Syracuse, and the hosts from Kansas State. Two more invites (the Hotel Red Invitational, featuring Texas A&M; and the Badger Invitational, featuring Marquette) will wrap up out-of-conference play before the Badgers jump into the Big Ten.

Wisconsin’s toughest stretch of the season is their opening stretch. Whereas last year ended in a crescendo with late-season games against Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota with a Big Ten title on the line, this year will be the opposite. Of Wisconsin’s first 7 Big Ten opponents, 6 finished the season in the AVCA top 25 in 2016. That includes two early games against Nebraska and an October 4th showdown with arch-rivals Minnesota.

Wisconsin plays Minnesota again on October 21st, and from there on, the schedule lightens up. Their last 7 games of the season are the opposite of their first: they have just one top-25 opponent, Penn State, to close the schedule.

There are some intriguing late matchups, though, including Illinois, who had a great start to the 2016 season, but faded late before losing their coach to Stanford.

Wisconsin has 29 regular-season contests scheduled this year, as compared to just 27 last season. The Badgers placed 3rd in the Big Ten in 2016, and lost to eventual national champions Stanford in the Elite 8 (quarterfinals) of the NCAA tournament. The coaches voted them as the 5th-best team in the country in their final poll.

Wisconsin’s most talked about loss next season will be the graduation of four-time All-American setter Lauren Carlini, but they also graduate Haleigh Nelson, the school’s career leader in hitting percentage (.375) and 3rd-ranked Badger ever with 537 block assists.

Wisconsin’s Full 2017 Schedule

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of VolleyMob.com. 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 SwimSwam.com as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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