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NCAA Volleyball Regionals Odds: Eight teams battle Saturday to reach Final Four in Tampa

It’s been a chalky NCAA Championship so far. Will all four No. 1 seeds and hosts head to the Final Four next Thursday?

Wisconsin opposite Devyn Robinson and middle blocker Caroline Crawford attempt to block the shot from Penn State outside hitter Jess Mruzik during the second set of the NCAA Regional Volleyball semifinal match on Thursday December 7, 2023 at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis. Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship is the next step for the fastest growing collegiate sport in America.

At the D1 level, college volleyball only trails men’s and women’s basketball in the number of schools participating. Teams are comfortably selling out their gyms on weekdays, which isn’t a surprise after Nebraska packed 92,000 in a football stadium earlier this season. But it’s where they’re coming from that makes such a difference.

The last time the Final Four was in Tampa in 2009, the championship was considered likely the best college match ever contested. The dynasty of Penn State escaped for their 102nd consecutive win over the athletic brilliance of Texas’s Destinee Hooker in a five-set classic.

And both those 2009 finalist teams would get absolutely washed by any of the remaining No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Because the evolution of volleyball continues at a lightning pace, with elite teams now bringing more dynamic athletes, sophisticated offenses, tougher serving, and “OMG how did she pass that” defense to the women’s game.

Having the product on television product doesn’t hurt either, with the entire tournament available on ESPN and their platforms. The women you see today playing for a spot in what will be packed Amalie Arena next week stand on the shoulders of those that played 14 years ago. Many of them saw those matches and said “that’s what I want to do,” and the sport has grown by leaps and bounds since.

No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 1 Pitt, 4 p.m. ET

Louisville had Pitt down 0-2 on November 18 in PA on November 18, but the Panthers came roaring back for the five-set win. This is a rematch of the 2022 national semifinal, which Louisville won before falling in the championship. 6’5 freshman Olivia Babcock looks to get Pitt to the Final Four for the third-straight season, while Michigan State grad transfer and Louisville native Emma Monks will lead the Panthers in the middle.

No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 1 Nebraska, 6 p.m. ET

The loudest crowd in the sport will once again pack the Devaney Center, and you can bet they’re tailgating in Lincoln already. The Huskers do have plenty of balance, though having Florida transfer Merritt Beason is a cheat code. Keep an eye on 6’1 freshman setter Bergen Reilly, who could be Team USA’s future at the position.

No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 1 Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET

The 2021 champs are back for more, and they might be the favorite to win it all. Their sweep of what was the consensus No. 1 in Nebraska on November 24 was a stunner, and they do it with defense. They have outblocked opponents in a loaded Big Ten 3.1-1.5 per set on the season, and have four attackers averaging over two kills per set, led by another Michigan State transfer in Sarah Franklin at 4.16.

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 1 Stanford, 10 p.m. ET

The reigning champs have to go on the road to earn a spot back in the Final Four, as Texas looks to defend their title without Logan Eggleston, now at Galatasaray in the Turkish League. 6’4 Madisen Skinner was the second option last year, but the Longhorns will only go as far as she takes them. Stanford might be the most balanced elite team in the country, with their top three attackers all seniors or more.

Here are the latest odds for the 2023 NCAA Division I Volleyball Regionals from DraftKings Sportsbook:

No. 1 Pitt -230, No. 2 Louisville +190

No. 1 Nebraska -360, No. 3 Arkansas +285

No. 1 Wisconsin -270, No. 2 Oregon +220

No. 1 Stanford -258, No. 2 Texas +210