Big 12 Volleyball news and notes

From the Big 12 Conference

• The Big 12's nine volleyball squads combine for 28 matches to start the 2011 season, including 11 on Friday and 16 on Saturday.

• Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas open the 2011 campaign ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Preseason Top 25. The Longhorns lead the way with a No. 4 ranking, while the Sooners check in at No. 16 and Iowa State sits at No. 18.

• UT was selected as the preseason favorite to win the conference title, marking the third year the Longhorns have been predicted to finish first (2008, '09). Texas, who advanced to its third-straight NCAA Semifinals appearance in 2010, garnered seven of the nine first-place votes. Iowa State and Oklahoma tied for second with the Cyclones collecting the two additional first-place votes.

• Rachael Adams (Texas), Hannah Wilms (Iowa State) and Khat Bell (Texas) earned Preseason All-Big 12 individual honors. Adams, who led the nation in hitting percentage in 2010, was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year, while Wilms and Bell picked up Newcomer and Freshman of the Year distinctions, respectively. The Sooners led the Preseason All-Big 12 Team with three selections.

• For the second-straight year, five conference squads qualified for the NCAA Championship as Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas all made the 2010 field. MU, NU, OU and UT advanced to regional semifinal play.

• Four current Big 12 teams ended 2010 ranked in the top 50 in the final NCAA RPI report. Texas finished the season at No. 10, while Oklahoma (19), Iowa State (33) and Missouri (40) fill the final three spots in the top 50 for the league.

• The Big 12 had a team ranked in the top 10 in four of the seven team NCAA statistical categories in 2010, including digs/set (Baylor, No. 3), hitting percentage (Texas, No. 4), assists/set (Iowa State, No. 6) and kills/set (Iowa State, No. 7).

• Six current Big 12 teams finished 2010 ranked in the top 50 for national attendance (by average). Texas (8), Missouri (16), Kansas State (18), Iowa State (19) and Texas A&M (23) all averaged more than 1,000 fans last season to rank in the top 25. Both UT and MU averaged above 2,000, while Kansas joined the group at No. 42.