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Previewing Texas In The NCAA Volleyball Tourney
November 26, 2012
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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Mechele Voepel of ESPN.com analyzed the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball tournament bracket and here's what she had to say about Big 12 Conference champion Texas - a team Voepel projects to reach the final four in Lousville, Ky.:

The Longhorns were the No. 1 seed last year, but fell in the regional final to eventual champion UCLA. This is a more experienced Texas squad, led by thunderous hitter Haley Eckerman, that finished with a perfect record in the Big 12 for the first time since it joined that conference in 1996.

Texas also has the advantage of not having to leave its own Gregory Gymnasium until the Final Four. Along with the regional, the Longhorns also host the early rounds, where they may face former longtime rival school Texas A&M (now in the SEC).

Texas, which has one NCAA title (1988) in six trips to the Final Four, may have to meet SEC champion Florida, the No. 14 seed, in the regional semifinals. But likely the biggest obstacle for the Longhorns would be No. 6 seed USC, a three-time NCAA champ that has made it to the Final Four six of the past nine years. The Trojans are the only Pac-12 team to beat Stanford this year.

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