PROVO -- BYU hosts the 2001 Mountain West Conference Volleyball Championship Thursday through Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse. The league announced the tournament brackets and seeding Sunday.
Colorado State is the top seed of this week's tournament as the regular season champion with a 13-1 record. Ranked eighth nationally with a 23-1 overall record, the Rams lone loss came against Utah, ranked 14th in the nation and the tournament's second seed with an 11-3 conference mark. No. 16 BYU is the third seed at 10-4, while San Diego State completes the upper half of the bracket with a 9-5 league record.
The Rams will play No. 8-seed Air Force (2-20, 0-14 MWC) Thursday at 11 a.m. to open the tournament. San Diego State (15-10) faces No. 5 UNLV (9-13, 6-8) Thursday at 1:30 p.m. The Utes (19-5) and No. 7 New Mexico (5-19, 3-11) are slated for 4 p.m. Thursday followed by host BYU (18-6) against No. 6 Wyoming (9-14, 4-10) in the late match at 7 p.m.
The semifinal matches on Friday will feature the Colorado State /Air Force winner vs. the victor of San Diego State/UNLV at 4 p.m. and the Utah/New Mexico winner against the better of BYU/Wyoming at 7 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. All matches of the 2001 MWC Volleyball Championship will be televised by SportsWest Productions.
The third annual tournament will be played in Provo for the second time. Colorado State won the inaugural championship by upsetting top-seeded BYU at the Smith Fieldhouse in 1999. BYU returned the favor last year, ending Colorado State's nation-best 44-match home victory streak to win the 2000 title in Fort Collins.
BYU has a 5-1 record in MWC tournaments and has advanced to the title match in the first two championships. BYU is 2-0 vs. Wyoming, 1-0 vs. Utah, 1-0 vs. New Mexico and 1-1 vs. Colorado State in MWC tournament play,
The Cougars open the MWC tournament against Wyoming for the third straight year. If the seeding is any indicator, this year's match should be the most competitive yet. In 1999, BYU was the No. 1 seed and swept Wyoming as the No. 8 seed. Last year BYU was the second seed and defeated the Cowgirls as the seventh seed, 3-1. BYU is 24-1 at home all-time vs. Wyoming and holds a 49-3 advantage in the series overall. BYU swept both matches this year and has won 24 straight matches in the series.
The winner of the 2001 MWC Volleyball Championship will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Tickets for the championship can be obtained by calling the BYU Ticket Office at 378-BYU1 or 800-322-BYU1.
SEEDING FOR 2001 MWC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Nov. 15, 2001 (Thursday)
#1 Colorado State vs. #8 Air Force, 11 a.m. (SportsWest)
#4 San Diego State vs. #5 UNLV, 1:30 p.m. (SportsWest)
#2 Utah vs. #7 New Mexico, 4 p.m. (SportsWest)
#3 BYU vs. #6 Wyoming, 7 p.m. (SportsWest)
Nov. 16, 2001 (Friday)
#1 vs. #8 winner vs. #4 vs. #5 winner, 4 p.m. (SportsWest)
#2 vs. #7 winner vs. #3 vs. #6 winner, 7 p.m. (SportsWest)
Nov. 17, 2001 (Saturday)
Championship, 2 p.m. (SportsWest)