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NCAA Women - 2011 Road to the Final Four

UCLA Brings Title Home For First Time in 20 Years

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The bracket was the story for the 2011 women's tournament as the clear frontrunner for the No. 1 seed was USC. Somehow they ended up the 7th seed and were placed in the toughest region. They paid the price with five set matches and by the time they reached the Final Four they were a shadow of themselves. That left the door open for their cross-town rivals UCLA to win the championship. After a rocky end of the season, Mike Sealy's Bruins put everything together at the right time and came home victorious.

1. UCLA Overcomes Tough Season End to Win National Title

No one has run the numbers, but the probability of the UCLA Bruins winning the national championship after losing three out of their last five regular season matches must have been extremely low. Nevertheless, the Bruins won the school’s fourth title and the first in exactly 20 years over the weekend in San Antonio. In order to pull it off, they had to embrace change.

2. Big 10 Outlasts, Outplays Pac 12

If you were wondering which conference can claim superiority in women's volleyball, it seems the answer is upon us even after just two rounds of NCAA tournament play. The Big 10 had the most selections to the tournament with eight teams. Both the Pac 12 and the Big 12 followed closely with seven squads in the tournament.

3. Tournament Bracket Craziness and My Final Four Picks

The 2011 Women's NCAA tournament bracket was released over the weekend and once again raises questions about the process for seeding teams. It seems the dependence on RPI (Rating Percentage Index) instead of national rankings has foiled some top teams as it seems to every year. USC got the worst of it.

4. USC's Bad Seeding Not a Moot Point

I just read an article that stated that USC's loss to Illinois in the national semi-final made the argument about the tournament's terrible seeding a moot point. I could not disagree more. USC's demise was quite possibly a direct result of their arduous road to the Final Four. Had USC been seeded No. 1, as they were in the final AVCA Coaches Poll, they would never have been sent to the Hawaii Regional. They faced Hawaii on their raucous home court, which is by far the toughest place to play in the country. It was clear that they'd left it all on the court against the Rainbow Wahine because when they took to the court the next night against Pepperdine, they looked visibly tired. They just barely took that match in five sets.

5. Top Teams West Region - 2011

The West Regional will be played at the University of Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 9-10, 2011. Winners of each Regional will advance to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome. Check out the team profiles for USC, Pepperdine, Hawaii and Kansas State.

6. Top Team East Region

The East Regional will be played at the University of Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky on December 9-10, 2011. Winners of each Regional will advance to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome. Check out the team profiles for Texas, UCLA, Penn State and Kentucky.

7. Top Teams Midwest Region

The Midwest Regional will be played at Minnesota's Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis on December 9-10, 2011. Winners of each Regional will advance to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome. Check out the team profiles for Purdue, Florida State, Minnesota and Iowa State.

8. Top Teams South Region

The South Regional will be played at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida on December 9-10, 2011. Winners of each Regional will advance to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome. Check out the team profiles for Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan and Florida.

9. All-Time Women's Volleyball National Champions

Find out who won the national title each year since the match has been played along with title counts and tournament appearances by school.
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