BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The NCAA announced the 64-team bracket for the 2012 NCAA Volleyball Championships Sunday afternoon and the Southeastern Conference qualified five teams for the tournament. The SEC Champion Florida Gators garnered a No. 14 national seed while Kentucky, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Arkansas also earned a spot in the tournament.
Florida (25-4, 19-1 SEC) will host Tulsa (26-9), College of Charleston (26-7) and Miami (FL) (25-5) for first and second rounds on Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators will battle the Golden Hurricanes on Friday, Nov. 30. Second round action is slated for Saturday, Dec. 1.
Kentucky (20-10, 14-6 SEC), the No. 16 overall seed, squares off with East Tennessee State (23-12) in the opening round on Friday, Nov. 30 in Lexington, Kentucky. Should Kentucky advance, they will face the winner of Ohio State (22-10) and Notre Dame (20-9) in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Texas A&M (24-5, 16-4 SEC) has a nine-match win streak intact and will open tournament play against NC State (22-9) on Thursday, Nov. 29 in Austin, Texas. The winner will face either Colgate (17-13) or host Texas (23-4) in the second round.
The Tennessee Lady Vols (22-7, 15-5 SEC) will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to take on Michigan (23-11) on Friday, Nov. 30. The other two teams at the site include the host, No. 10 Louisville (29-3) and Belmont (18-16). The two winners will play on Saturday for a berth to the Sweet 16.
Arkansas (22-9, 13-7 SEC), making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2006, will face Wichita State (22-9) in first round action on Friday, Nov. 30 in Lawrence, Kansas. The Arkansas-Wichita State match is part of the sub-region which also includes No. 11 seed Kansas (25-6) and Cleveland State (23-6).
In appearances, this marks the 22nd consecutive season and 23rd overall for the Gators to advance to the NCAA Tournament. It is the eighth consecutive season for Kentucky to earn a bid to the tournament, the school’s 14th appearance overall. Tennessee makes their 14th overall appearance to the tournament, the eighth time in nine years for the Lady Vols. Texas A&M reached the tournament for the 18th time while Arkansas makes its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance. The SEC’s highest finish in the NCAA Tournament was in 2003 when Florida advanced to the Championship Final.
Pre-determined regional sites include West Lafayette, Indiana, Omaha, Nebraska, Austin, Texas and Berkeley, California on Dec. 7-8. The semifinals and finals will be held Dec. 13 and 15 in Louisville, Kentucky.