MINNEAPOLIS -- The Gophers volleyball team won't have to leave Minneapolis for the duration of the NCAA tournament.
That's what the No. 2 overall seed earned Minnesota on Sunday, Nov. 25.
The Gophers open the 64-team, single-elimination tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, by hosting the opening two rounds at Maturi Pavilion. With two victories, the Gophers will host the four-team regional tournament on Dec. 7-8, also at Maturi Pavilion. Two more wins in the regional puts Minnesota in the Final Four on Dec. 13-15 at Target Center.
In their first-round match, the Big Ten champion Gophers (25-3) will face Bryant (22-12) at 7 p.m. Friday. Bryant, of Smithfield, R.I., is making its first NCAA tournament appearance after winning the Northeast Conference championship.
The Minnesota-Bryant winner will play the winner of a 4:30 p.m. Friday first-round match between South Carolina (19-9) or Colorado (18-13) in Saturday's second round at Maturi Pavilion. That match would be at 7 p.m.
A third-round foe will come out of opening-round matches in Eugene, Ore., where Hawaii plays Baylor, and No. 15-seed Oregon takes on New Mexico State in the round of 64.
The Gophers advanced to the Final Four in 2015 and 2016, both times as No. 2 seeds, under coach Hugh McCutcheon before being bounced out of the NCAAs in the third round last year.
The Gophers had their 18-game undefeated run through Big Ten play upended in a five-set loss to Penn State on Friday. Minnesota rebounded to post a three-set sweep of Rutgers on Saturday to finish with a 19-1 record in league play.
The Big Ten has seven teams in the tournament and five of the top eight seeds. Illinois (28-3) is seeded third, Wisconsin (22-6) sixth, Nebraska (24-6) seventh and Penn State (23-7) eighth. Purdue (23-8) and Michigan (22-9) also qualified.