McRoberts Announces 2012 TU Volleyball Schedule
May 23, 2012
TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa volleyball will face nine opponents that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, including two teams that reached the round of 16 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center, Head Coach Steven McRoberts announced Wednesday.
The Golden Hurricane finished the 2011 season with a 28-7 record and an 18-2 mark in Conference USA, winning its second straight C-USA Championship and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
The Hurricane will play host to three NCAA Tournament participants in the Tulsa Classic, Sept. 13-15. The four-team field, featuring 2011 Sweet 16 participants Minnesota and Kansas State, as well as Dayton, will be the strongest and most prestigious home tournament TU has ever held.
TU will play a total of nine schools that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2011. In addition to its home tournament, the Golden Hurricane will face Ball State, Missouri State, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Oklahoma and Western Michigan. All nine teams were ranked among the top-50 in the RPI last season, and 21 TU opponents on the schedule were ranked among the top-100 in the RPI in 2011. Three of the four pre-conference tournaments in which TU will play features at least two schools that reached the NCAA postseason a year ago.
"Even though we played three of the four Final Four teams last year, I believe from top to bottom this will be the most competitive schedule this program has ever played," McRoberts said. "Our fourth weekend will bring three nationally recognized programs to the Reynolds center. There will be some great volleyball matches that weekend. Minnesota and Kansas State advanced to the round of 16 last season and Dayton had Kentucky on the ropes in the first round before losing in five sets. Our fans will get to see some of the best volleyball of the season that weekend. We have a lot of returning players from last year's C-USA championship team, so I expect us to be competitive not only in our conference but in all of our non-conference matches as well."
Tulsa opens the 2012 season with the Nike Invitational in Norman, Okla., Aug. 24-25, where it will face Western Michigan, Missouri State and the host Oklahoma. The Golden Hurricane then travels to Lawrence, Kan., for the Kansas Volleyball Invitational, where it will face Arkansas State, Nebraska-Omaha, and the host Kansas. TU plays at Arkansas and Oral Roberts in midweek matches on Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, respectively.
On the third weekend, the Hurricane plays in a tournament in Greeley, Colo., which features Creighton, Ball State, and the host Northern Colorado.
Tulsa opens its Conference USA schedule Sept. 19 against SMU in the Reynolds Center. C-USA returns to the 16-match scheduling format in 2012 with the conference tournament to be played at the Donald W. Reynolds Center in Tulsa.
"I believe C-USA will be a two or three bid league this year," McRoberts said. "A lot of teams will be fighting for the top 3 or 4 spots. Bringing the conference tournament back this year will add some more excitement and pressure. Hopefully because of our scheduling there will be a little less pressure on us."
Of its 16 league matches, TU plays home-and-home matches against Houston, Rice, SMU, Tulane and UTEP. The Hurricane plays East Carolina, Marshall and UAB at home, and Memphis, Southern Miss and UCF on the road.
Following the C-USA Championship, Nov. 16-18, TU will play host to Northwestern State and North Dakota State in a round robin on Nov. 23.
The conference season will culminate with the Conference USA Championship, Nov. 16-18 at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa. The NCAA Tournament selections will be announced on Nov. 25, and the postseason begins Nov. 30 with four-team regionals at school sites. The regional semifinals and regional finals will be held Dec. 7-8, and the Final Four will be held Dec. 13-15 in Louisville, Ky.
"We are also hosting a pair of Thanksgiving weekend matches. NDSU is a perennial NCAA tournament team and we are hoping this match and the one with Northwestern State will help us be more prepared going into the NCAA tournament," said McRoberts.
For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Volleyball on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TulsaVolleyball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/TulsaVolleyball).
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