From the Sun Belt Conference
Following the culmination of the regular season, the Sun Belt Conference released the seeds and schedule for the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship.
Western Kentucky (28-3, 15-1 SBC) earned the No. 1 seed after capturing the ninth Sun Belt East Division title in program history and the first since 2006 with a 3-2 win over Middle Tennessee on Friday.
The win over the Blue Raiders was the first for WKU in the last eight meetings between the two teams and the first over MT in Murfreesboro since 2006. The Lady Toppers won their last 11 conference matches and finished the regular season 7-0 on the road in league play.
Defending SBC Tournament Champion Middle Tennessee (18-10, 14-2) is the No. 2 seed. Before falling to WKU, the Blue Raiders won a school-record 16 consecutive matches after starting the season 2-9. MT will be looking for a third consecutive conference tournament championship.
Arkansas State (21-9, 12-4 SBC) was crowned the West Division champion for the third consecutive season to earn the No. 3 seed. The Red Wolves have won at least a share of the division title for the last three years under the direction of head coach Justin Ingram, and this year is the first divisional title they have won outright during that time.
With several teams finishing with identical records in Sun Belt matches, the following tie-breakers were used to determine championship seeding:
No. 4 seed FIU (19-9, 10-6 SBC) and No. 5 seed Denver (13-15, 10-6 SBC) both finished 10-6 in conference play, but FIU defeated Denver 3-1 during the season; therefore FIU earned the higher seed. The Pioneers and Panthers will face each other again in the first round of the SBC Tournament for the second consecutive season with Denver looking to avenge their 3-0 loss to FIU in the 2010 championship.
North Texas (16-16, 7-9 SBC) earned the No. 6 seed, followed by a four-way tie for the final two spots in the tournament.
UALR (11-19, 6-10 SBC), Louisiana-Lafayette (14-18, 6-10 SBC), South Alabama (11-17, 6-10 SBC) and Troy (16-14, 6-10 SBC) all finished 6-10 in SBC play. UALR won the most sets between the four teams' head to head matches, therefore UALR earns the No. 7 seed:
To determine the final tournament participant, one must break the three-way tie of the remaining teams. Of the matches played between the three teams, USA and Troy each have seven set wins compared to ULL's two.
To break the tie between USA and Troy, first look at head to head matches (Troy defeated USA 3-1, and USA defeated Troy 3-1), then sets won (both four). The tie-breaker then goes down to points scored/against ratio in those matches. Troy scored 193 points against USA, and USA scored 185 against Troy. Therefore, Troy holds the higher point ratio, and they earn the No. 8 and final seed.
The 2011 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship takes place Nov. 17-19 at U.S. Century Bank Arena on the campus of Florida International University in Miami, Fla.
All matches will be available for webstream on SBC Extra and fans can purchase a tournament pass for only $9.95 to tune-in. The championship match at 1 p.m. ET/ 12 p.m. CT will also be broadcast by the Sun Belt Network (times subject to change due to television demands).
2011 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship Seeding:
1. WKU (15-1)
2. MTSU (14-2)
3. ASU (12-4)
4. FIU (10-6)
5. Denver (10-6)
6. North Texas (7-9)
7. UALR (6-10)
8. Troy (6-10)
2011 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship Schedule
Quarterfinals – Thursday, November 17
Match 1 – 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT
No. 2 seed Middle Tennessee vs. No. 7 seed UALR
Match 2 – 2:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. CT
No. 3 seed Arkansas State vs. No. 6 seed North Texas
Match 3 – 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT
No. 1 seed Western Kentucky vs. No. 8 seed Troy
*Match 4 – 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT
No. 4 seed FIU vs. No. 5 seed Denver
As the host institution, FIU reserved the right to choose the time for their first match.
Semifinals – Friday, November 18
Match 5 – 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT
Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner
Match 6 – 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT
Match 3 Winner vs. Match 4 Winner
Championship – Saturday, November 19
Match 7 – 1 p.m. ET/12 p.m. CT
Match 5 Winner vs. Match 6 Winner