NCAA Volleyball Tournament practice - Nebraska, 12/7/17

The Nebraska volleyball team practices ahead of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday.

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star

Kentucky

Record: 28-3 (17-1 SEC, 1st place)

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 6/4/3.

Coach: Craig Skinner (13th season, 301-112).

Location: Lexington, Ky.

Last 10 matches: 9-1.

Notable wins: vs. No. 18 USC (3-1), at No. 1 Florida (3-1), Western Kentucky (3-2).

Road to regional: beat East Tennessee State (3-0), beat Western Kentucky (3-2).

Who to watch: Madison Lilley is just a freshman, but she doesn't play like one. Lilley, a Kansas native, is fourth nationally in assists at 12.12 per set, and her superb passing (she has a good pass percentage of 65.2) has Kentucky ranking in the top five nationally in multiple offensive categories. … Over the past eight matches, senior middle blocker Kaz Brown has not hit below .300, and has hit .500 or better in four of those matches. Brown is now hitting .418 this season.

More on the Wildcats: Kentucky had to rally from a 2-0 deficit against Western Kentucky in the Round of 32 to advance to this point. The Wildcats are riding the waves of one of their most successful seasons. The SEC championship was their first since 1988.

Hitting pct.: .321.

Opp. hitting pct.: .207.

Nebraska

Record: 28-4 (19-1 Big Ten, 1st place)

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 5/5/6.

Coach: John Cook (18th season, 527-69)

Location: Lincoln.

Last 10 matches: 10-0.

Notable wins: at No. 2 Penn State (3-0), No. 3 Minnesota (3-0), No. 7 Wisconsin (3-2), at No. 10 Michigan State (3-1).

Road to regional: beat Stony Brook (3-0), beat Washington State (3-0).

Who to watch: Senior setter Kelly Hunter needs 40 more assists to become just the second player in Husker history to reach 4,000 career assists (Fiona Nepo is the other). She's averaging 10.79 assists per set and has a team-best 13 double-doubles. … Junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke has always stepped up big in postseason play. She's averaging 3.46 kills per set.

More on the Huskers: From a points standpoint, no team had a better weekend defensively than Nebraska. The Huskers allowed a total of 80 combined points in two opening-round matches, which was the fewest points allowed by any team in the NCAA Tournament.

Hitting pct.: .285.

Opp. hitting pct.: .149.

Colorado

Record: 24-9 (12-8 Pac-12, 5th place)

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: NR/NR/24.

Coach: Jesse Mahoney (2nd season, 38-25)

Location: Boulder, Colorado.

Last 10 matches: 7-3.

Notable wins: No. 12 Oregon (3-1), No. 19 USC (3-0), No. 11 Washington (3-0), at No. 18 Baylor (3-0).

Road to regional: beat James Madison (3-0), beat No. 18 Baylor (3-0).

Who to watch: Junior outside hitter Alexa Smith earned All-Pac-12 honors after recording 475 kills. The Purdue transfer has recorded 20 or more kills in eight matches this season, and is the go-to attacker for the Buffaloes at 1,286 swings this year. … Like Kentucky, a freshman setter directs the Buffalo offense. Brynna DeLuzio ranks third in the Pac-12 in assists with 11.1 per set.

More on the Buffaloes: Colorado had one of the biggest turnarounds in Division I. The Buffaloes went 14-16 in Mahoney's first season in Boulder. The Buffaloes, who are making their first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1997, hit .312 last weekend and had just 22 errors on 205 swings.

Hitting pct.: .252.

Opp. hitting pct.: .194.

BYU

Record: 30-2 (17-1 WCC, 1st place)

AVCA ranking/tournament seed/RPI: 7/13/15.

Coach: Heather Olmstead (3rd season, 87-10)

Location: Provo, Utah.

Last 10 matches: 9-1.

Notable wins: No. 21 Ohio State (3-1), at No. 16 Utah (3-2), No. 17 San Diego (3-1), No. 24 Oregon (3-0).

Road to regional: beat American (3-0), beat No. 24 Oregon (3-0).

Who to watch: Junior outside hitter Veronica Jones-Perry was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team after leading the league in kills (545). She's also a threat in the serving game, with a team-high 41 ace serves. … Sophomore libero Mary Lake was named the WCC defensive player of the year, averaging 4.55 digs per set. She's the driving force behind the Cougars' stout defensive play.

More on the Cougars: BYU is one of the top blocking teams in the country, ranking 11th nationally in that category (2.92 per set). Cosy Burnett (1.33 blocks per set) and Kennedy Redding (1.27) lead the way at the net. The Cougars are making their sixth straight Sweet 16 appearance.

Hitting pct.: .274.

Opp. hitting pct.: .164.

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