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Huskers earn No. 10 seed for NCAA Tournament, will host Campbell on Friday
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HUSKER VOLLEYBALL

Huskers earn No. 10 seed for NCAA Tournament, will host Campbell on Friday

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Maryland vs. Nebraska, 11.12

Nebraska players celebrate during the Huskers' three-set win against Maryland on Nov. 12 at the Devaney Sports Center.

The Nebraska volleyball team earned the No. 10 overall seed for the 64-team NCAA Tournament.

That means Nebraska will host the first and second rounds at the Devaney Sports Center later this week.

Nebraska will play Campbell in the first round Friday at 7 p.m. Campbell (21-9) qualified by winning the Big South tournament last week.

With a win, Nebraska will play the winner of Florida State-Kansas State in the second round Saturday at 7 p.m.

TV information will be announced later in the week.

The Huskers’ (22-7) resume included a second-place finish in the Big Ten and a 6-7 record against ranked teams.

The top four overall seeds are No. 1 Louisville, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Pittsburgh and No. 4 Wisconsin.

Louisville has had its best season ever led by Dani Busboom-Kelly, the former Nebraska player and assistant coach from Cortland.

If Texas wins in the first and second rounds, Nebraska would head to Austin, Texas, for the Sweet 16 if the Huskers advance. It was Texas that ended Nebraska’s season last spring in the NCAA Elite Eight. The other seeded teams in the region include SEC champion Kentucky and Pac-12 champion Washington.

Nebraska coach John Cook said the Huskers, and several other teams, got placed in a very tough regional.

“If everything goes through you’ve got Kentucky who won the SEC, Washington who won the Pac-12, we finished second in the Big Ten and then you got Texas won the Big 12 all in one bracket,” Cook said. “That should be some interesting discussion right there.”

But Nebraska avoided the regional with Wisconsin. The Badgers have won seven straight matches against Nebraska.

Nebraska earned a top-10 seed for the 21st time in the last 22 years.

Five Big Ten teams earned top-16 seeds: No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 6 Purdue, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 12 Minnesota. Penn State, Illinois and Michigan also made the field. The eight Big Ten teams is the most of any conference.

Cook will be following closely to see how many Big Ten teams advance from each round.

“I’m really curious how this is going to play out, and how the Big Ten teams are going to do, because based on what I saw today the Big Ten is not getting much respect,” Cook said.

“I thought Big Ten would have had some higher seeds than we have,” Cook added. “But maybe there is a penalty when you beat up each other, which, I don’t know if that fair. Let’s get some of these other teams playing in this conference. But we’ll see. Maybe I’m wrong.”

Creighton is seeded 14th. In the first round, Creighton will play Ole Miss, which is led by second-year coach Kayla Banwarth, the former Nebraska player and assistant coach. Ole Miss made the tournament for the first time since 2010. Ole Miss went from a 1-19 record last season to 21-8 this season.

Kansas State was one of the last four in the tournament, along with Iowa State, West Virginia and South Carolina.

The first four left out were Arkansas, Cincinnati, Houston and Syracuse.

Cook feels good about how the Huskers enter the tournament. It was a great sign when Nebraska beat No. 6 Purdue on Saturday, after a disappointing loss against Wisconsin one night earlier that mostly ended the Huskers’ Big Ten title hopes.

“That shows you where they’re at right now,” Cook said. “They’re fired up, they’re hungry, and they’re looking forward to this.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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Husker volleyball/women's basketball reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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