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Jacob Myers | November 7, 2018

NCAA volleyball: Teams from these conferences are most likely to bust your bracket

Shane Bevel | NCAA Photos best volleyball upsets, NCAA Division I women's volleyball BYU made it all the way to the national title match as an unranked team in 2014.

The Michigan State Spartans were the only unseeded team to make the regional finals of the 2017 NCAA volleyball tournament, but they were far from the only team to upset a national seed along their way to being the biggest surprise of the tournament.

Since the championship field expanded to 64 teams in 1998, there have been 101 games where an unranked team beat a team with a national seed or a double-digit national seed beat a single-digit national seed. We looked at every one of those games to determine which conference has the teams most likely to rattle off upsets and wreck your bracket.

Unsurprisingly, the Big Ten had the most upsets, with 33, from 1998 through 2017, while the Pac-12 was second with 18. The Big 12 and the West Coast Conference were the only other two conferences with double-digit upsets with 11 and 10, respectively.

It’s worth noting that in 1998 and ‘99, there were four national seeds per region. In 2000, the tournament moved to the current system of ranking teams Nos. 1-16.

RELATED: How low a team can be in RPI and still make the tournament as an at-large

These are some other trends that stuck out when looking at the upsets:

  • 56 of the 103 upsets of national seeds in the tournament since 1998 occurred in the second round, with only five happening in the first round.
  • 18 of those 56 second-round upsets were unranked teams defeating single-digit national seeds. Minnesota upset No. 4 Southern California in the Central Regional and Arizona upset No. 4 Texas in the Pacific Regional in 1999, as well.
  • BYU had the most upsets as an unranked team with six. Michigan and Michigan State were close behind with five.
  • Michigan tied with BYU for the most upsets of any team since the field expanded to 64 teams with six.

Below is the full list of upsets of national seeds from 1998 through 2017 sorted by conference. In a couple cases — like BYU being in the Mountain West and then the WCC — the conference the team was in at the time of the upset is reflected in the chart. For teams like Stanford or Oregon that were in the Pac-10 before it was renamed to Pac-12, we listed the conference as Pac-12 since those teams didn’t change conferences.

Year Upset Conference Round
2002 Temple over No. 12 Penn State A-10 Second
2004 Georgia Tech over No. 13 UC Santa Barbara ACC Second
2011 No. 12 Florida State over No. 5 Purdue ACC Regional Semis
2011 No. 12 Florida State over No. 4 Iowa State ACC Regional Finals
2013 Florida State over No. 5 Florida ACC Second
2016 Florida State over No. 11 Florida ACC Second
2002 Miami (FL) over No. 14 Wisconsin Big East Second
2016 Creighton over No. 5 Kansas Big East Second
2016 Creighton over No. 12 Michigan Big East Regional Semis
1999 Minnesota over No. 4 Southern California Big Ten Second
1999 Indiana over No. 4 Clemson Big Ten First
2000 No. 11 Penn State over No. 6 Colorado State Big Ten Regional Semis
2002 Michigan State over No. 16 Notre Dame Big Ten Second
2003 No. 13 Minnesota over No. 4 Pepperdine Big Ten Regional Semis
2003 No. 11 Penn State over No. 6 Kansas State Big Ten Regional Semis
2004 No. 14 Wisconsin over No. 3 Hawaii Big Ten Regional Semis
2005 No. 11 Wisconsin over No. 6 Notre Dame Big Ten Regional Semis
2007 Michigan over No. 14 Colorado State Big Ten Second
2007 Michigan State over No. 15 Dayton Big Ten Second
2008 Michigan over No. 13 Saint Louis Big Ten Second
2009 No. 13 Michigan over No. 4 Stanford Big Ten Regional Semis
2009 No. 11 Minnesota over No. 3 Florida State Big Ten Regional Finals
2010 No. 16 Purdue over No. 1 Florida Big Ten Regional Semis
2010 Ohio State over No. 14 Dayton Big Ten Second
2010 Indiana over No. 11 Tennessee Big Ten Second
2011 Ohio State over No. 14 Tennessee Big Ten Second
2011 Michigan over No. 11 Stanford Big Ten Second
2012 Purdue over No. 9 Florida State Big Ten Second
2012 Michigan State over No. 7 UCLA Big Ten Second
2012 Michigan over No. 10 Louisville Big Ten Second
2012 Michigan over No. 2 Stanford Big Ten Regional Finals
2013 Purdue over No. 4 Missouri Big Ten Second
2013 Purdue over No. 13 Illinois Big Ten Regional Semis
2013 Michigan State over No. 15 Kentucky Big Ten Second
2013 No. 12 Wisconsin over No. 1 Texas Big Ten National Semis
2014 Ohio State over No. 13 Kentucky Big Ten Second
2014 No. 14 Nebraska over No. 3 Washington Big Ten Regional Semis
2015 Illinois over No. 15 Louisville Big Ten Second
2016 Ohio State over No. 14 Kansas State Big Ten Second
2017 Michigan State over No. 9 Creighton Big Ten Second
2017 Illinois over No. 8 Washington Big Ten Second
2017 Wisconsin over No. 14 Iowa State Big Ten Second
2000 Long Beach State over No. 12 Santa Clara Big West Second
2000 No. 13 UC Santa Barbara over No. 4 Minnesota Big West Regional Semis
2015 Hawaii over No. 10 Texas A&M Big West Second
2015 Hawaii over No. 7 Penn State Big West Regional Semis
2000 Kansas State over No. 10 Pepperdine Big-12 Second
2001 No. 11 Texas A&M over No. 6 Wisconsin Big-12 Regional Semis
2005 No. 10 Missouri over No. 7 Hawaii Big-12 Regional Semis
2007 Iowa State over No. 7 Wisconsin Big-12 Second
2008 Iowa State over No. 6 Minnesota Big-12 Second
2008 Iowa State over No. 11 Oregon Big-12 Regional Semis
2008 Baylor over No. 8 UCLA Big-12 Second
2009 Texas A&M over No. 15 LSU Big-12 Second
2009 No. 10 Nebraska over No. 7 Iowa State Big-12 Regional Semis
2010 Missouri over No. 5 Northern Iowa Big-12 First
2011 Kansas State over No. 2 Nebraska Big-12 Second
2004 Louisville over No. 16 Missouri C-USA Second
2010 Tulsa over No. 13 LSU C-USA First
2005 Ohio over No. 13 Ohio State MAC Second
2008 Western Michigan over No. 16 Tulane MAC Second
2007 BYU over No. 6 Washington Mountain West Second
2009 Colorado State over No. 6 Washington Mountain West Second
2012 Wichita State over No. 11 Kansas MVC Second
1999 Arizona over No. 4 Texas Pac-12 Second
2000 No. 15 UCLA over No. 2 Pacific Pac-12 Regional Semis
2002 No. 13 Washington State over No. 4 Northern Iowa Pac-12 Regional Semis
2002 No. 10 Arizona over No. 7 Minnesota Pac-12 Regional Semis
2003 No. 12 Washington over No. 5 Stanford Pac-12 Regional Semis
2004 No. 11 Stanford over No. 6 Texas Pac-12 Regional Semis
2004 No. 15 UCLA over No. 2 Penn State Pac-12 Regional Semis
2004 No. 11 Stanford over No. 7 Washington Pac-12 National Semis
2004 No. 11 Stanford over No. 4 Minnesota Pac-12 National Final
2006 California over No. 15 Cal Poly Pac-12 Second
2007 Oregon over No. 9 Kansas State Pac-12 Second
2007 No. 10 California over No. 2 Nebraska Pac-12 Regional Finals
2010 Washington over No. 15 Hawaii Pac-12 Second
2010 Washington over No. 2 Nebraska Pac-12 Regional Semis
2016 Arizona over No. 9 Michigan State Pac-12 Second
2016 No. 10 UCLA over No. 7 North Carolina Pac-12 Regional Semis
2017 Colorado over No. 12 Baylor Pac-12 Second
2017 No. 10 Southern California over No. 7 Minnesota Pac-12 Regional Semis
2013 American over No. 16 Duke Patriot Second
2001 No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Pepperdine SEC Regional Semis
2005 No. 15 Tennessee over No. 2 Penn State SEC Regional Semis
2011 Kentucky over No. 16 Texas A&M SEC Second
2011 Florida over No. 6 Northern Iowa SEC Second
2015 No. 11 Florida over No. 6 Wisconsin SEC Regional Semis
2017 Missouri over No. 16 Wichita State SEC Second
2007 Middle Tennessee State over No. 11 Hawaii Sun Belt Second
2014 Arkansas Little-Rock over No. 16 Kansas Sun Belt First
2006 No. 12 Hawaii over No. 5 Southern California WAC Regional Semis
2009 No. 12 Hawaii over No. 5 Illinois WAC Regional Semis
1998 Pepperdine over No. 4 Michigan State WCC First
2005 Santa Clara over No. 5 Stanford WCC Second
2005 Pepperdine over No. 12 Southern California WCC Second
2005 Santa Clara over No. 4 Arizona WCC Regional Final
2013 BYU over No. 11 Hawaii WCC Second
2014 BYU over No. 11 Arizona WCC Second
2014 BYU over No. 6 Florida State WCC Regional Semis
2014 BYU over No. 14 Nebraska WCC Regional Finals
2014 BYU over No. 2 Texas WCC National Semis
2015 Loyola Marymount over No. 8 Stanford WCC Second

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