I wanted to wait a bit on my NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship post as to let the first two rounds shake out and to put some mental space between the end of my season and the tournament action.
Part of being in the business awhile, is that I know so many coaches and I wanted to avoid having any of my personal opinions seep into my writing. Now that some rotations have gone by (trying to figure out a more of a volleyball term than water under the bridge), I give forth my NCAA Championship predictions:
Florida over Purdue - I think Purdue will make a match of it because they are in a tougher conference.
Texas over Illinois - This will be a great match up with #8 and #9 going at it, Big 12 versus Big 10, cowboys versus indians (or close enough), but Texas' home court will prove to be a benefit. If the match were at Illinois then I would have switched my pick.
Missouri over Duke - This is my upset pick. Missouri is on a roll and should have plenty of confidence and while Duke is higher ranked, Missouri is the big state school coming through the battles of the Big 12.
Penn State over Oklahoma - Penn State at home with championship memories is just too strong.
Stanford over Ohio State - Playing at Dayton will assist Ohio State and they are in the grind conference of the Big 10, but Stanford just has too many weapons.
Southern California over Indiana - If it goes 5 games (or sets to be correct today), then the Hoosiers will be comfortable, but USC should not let it get that far.
Minnesota over California - This should be a great contest as it matches two very good, but not national champion programs, at a neutral site. I only pick the Golden Gophers because they have had some recent success moving deep into the tournament.
Nebraska over Washington - If I had to pay to watch one match, this would be the one. Nebraska is highly ranked but Washington is at home. What makes me want to watch this match is the fact that these programs don't like each other at all and have a bunch of history for motivation.
Texas over Florida - The home court advantage and Texas' experience last year in the Final Four will get them over.
Penn State over Missouri - Penn State at home with a chance to return to the Final Four, again.
Southern California over Stanford - Tough call on this match and two Pac 10 teams playing in Dayton, Ohio will make it about focus. Both teams will be motivated, but maybe Southern Cal has a bit more juice to get up to the next level of reputation.
Nebraska over Minnesota - Once Nebraska slays the dragon of Washington they will either crush Minnesota or get crushed because of the emotional let down.
Penn State over Texas - Gotta love rematches; the love the hate the history the drama. Texas fresh off the upset of Florida feels good, but there is this little itch in their confidence after last year. Penn State because once you get used to winning it becomes a good habit.
Southern California over Nebraska - Tough call, but Nebraska seems to have issues finishing (not like the Trojans are current National Champions) out the big tournament runs.
Southern California over Penn State - Great run by Penn State surprising everyone by going this deep without the tremendous Seniors they had last year, but in the end Southern California's outside hitters will just be better.
So, there you have it - the NCAA Tournament layed out as to give you the excuse to take care of chores or go on a extended vacation instead of checking score updates!!!
But, just in case you don't believe me, you can track everything here.