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KU Volleyball: Weekend Preview and Open Thread

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Use this as your open thread if you happen to catch the KU volleyball games this weekend.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Pictured above is KU's Sweet 16 opponent, the Lions of Loyola Marymount., whom the Jayhawks will take on at 7:30 Jayhawk time on Friday, Dec 11, on the campus of the University of San Diego.

Who's Playing

The Lions were invited to the Tournament as an at-large after finishing third in the West Coast Conference.  They are 24-8 (13-5), unranked in the AVCA Poll but were receiving votes, and finished the regular season at #27 in the RPI.  In terms of ranking and RPI, they have a profile similar to Missouruh and Iowa State, two teams that KU handled relatively easily this season.

However, the Lions have something that ISU and MU didn't have, and that's four wins over top-15 teams.  They can play, and if they're on, KU will need to bring the A-game to advance.  They knocked off Colorado State and 8-seed Stanford to advance to the Sweet 16 - two teams who finished the season ranked in the top 15 in AVCA poll.

Should the Jayhawks advance, they will face the winner of the 1/16 matchup, Southern Cal vs Creighton.  This matchup is scheduled to be played on Saturday, Dec 12, at 10 PM Jayhawk time.

The 16-seed Bluejays (27-8, 17-1) qualified for the Tournament by winning the Big East automatic bid.  They finished just outside of the top 25 in the AVCA as the leading vote-getter (so, #26 I guess) with an RPI of 15.  Creighton played a difficult schedule, only going 1-4 against the five top-15 teams they played, including being swept by their upcoming Sweet 16 opponent, USC, early in the season.  They knocked off Coastal Carolina and North Carolina to advance to the Sweet 16.

Southern California (32-2, 18-2) finished tied for first in the Pac-12.  The Trojans began the season at #22 in the AVCA poll but finished #2.  They earned the #1 overall Tournament seed due to the tough schedule they played, reflected in their RPI of 3.  USC went 8-2 against top-25 teams during the season.  They defeated Cleveland State and San Diego for their Sweet 16 berth.

Should seeds hold, the Jayhawks will have a tough time with USC.  Hopefully the 'Hawks will be playing some good volleyball and will give themselves a chance to get that Final Four bid and a trip to lovely Omaha, Nebraska, the following weekend.

When do they play

Friday, Dec 11, Kansas vs Loyola Marymount, 7:30 PM CT (5:30 PM PT)

Friday, Dec 11, USC vs Creighton, 10 PM CT (8 PM PT)

Saturday, Dec 12, Winner vs Winner, 10:30 PM CT (8:30 PM PT), ESPNU

How to Watch

The Elite 8 matchup will be broadcast on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m. Lawrence time.

All of the matches are available live streaming online.  NCAA.com is streaming the entire tournament.  You can get to any matchup you want to see by finding it on the interactive bracket.  Matches should also be available on ESPN3 through the WatchESPN app or website.  No blackouts should apply.

Alternatively, you can always listen to radio play-by-play at KUAthletics.com/radio.  Fans can also monitor the action by following @KUVolleyball on Twitter and Instagram.