Initial look at the NCAA Tournament first-round matches

Photo courtesy of The Ohio State University athletics.

One more day of waiting until the NCAA Tournament first round matches. Check out what to know about all four teams competing in the opening round and the historical stats to keep in mind.

Ohio State vs. UC Irvine

Records: Ohio State (24-5, 11-3 MIVA); UC Irvine (21-9, 9-4 Big West)
5 p.m. in Los Angeles
How they reached here: Ohio State won the MIVA Tournament to earn the conference’s automatic bid and then swept King in the NCAA Tournament play-in match. UC Irvine earned one of the two at-large bids.
All-time series: UC Irvine leads 7-4
Last meeting: UC Irvine swept Ohio State in March 2017
Last NCAA Tournament meeting: UC Irvine swept Ohio State in the 2009 NCAA Tournament semifinals.
NCAA championships: Ohio State (3); UC Irvine (4)
Last NCAA title: Ohio State (2017); UC Irvine (2013)
NCAA Tournament all-time record: Ohio State (14-22); UC Irvine (8-2)
Next up on the bracket: Winner of this match plays the No. 1 seed Long Beach State in the VolleyFour on Thursday.
Quick stats: Ohio State outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen has a combined 85 kills on a .371 attack percentage in six career NCAA Tournament matches and had double-digit kills in all of those matches. While all three of the Buckeyes’ national championships have been won at a non-West Coast venues, UCLA was the host site when Ohio State reached its program’s first NCAA Tournament finals in 1977. The last time UC Irvine played Ohio State they ended the Buckeyes’ program-record 42-match winning streak. Senior outside attacker Reid Dominguez, who primarily has been a serving specialist this season, is the only Anteater still on the roster who played in UC Irvine’s last NCAA Tournament match in 2015.

UCLA vs. Harvard

Records: UCLA (24-7, 9-3 MPSF); Harvard (13-13, 10-4 EIVA)
Match vitals: 7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles
How they reached here: Harvard won the EIVA Tournament for the first time in program history. UCLA earned one of the two at-large bids.
All-time series: UCLA leads 1-0
Last meeting: UCLA swept Harvard in March 2017.
Last NCAA Tournament meeting: First NCAA Tournament meeting
NCAA championships: UCLA (19); Harvard (0)
Last NCAA title: UCLA (2006); Harvard (never)
NCAA Tournament all-time record: UCLA (52-8); Harvard (0-0)
Next up on the bracket: Winner of this match plays the No. 2 seed BYU in the VolleyFour on Thursday.
Quick stats: UCLA has won the national title nine of the 14 previous times the VolleyFour took place at Pauley Pavilion. Of the four teams this decade that have reached the NCAA Tournament while playing host to the event, three have won the national championship. However, the last time UCLA competed in a NCAA Tournament at Pauley Pavilion it lost to Pepperdine in the 2005 NCAA Tournament finals. Harvard is attempting to become the first EIVA school besides Penn State to win a NCAA Tournament match since George Mason in 1985. Teams in their NCAA Tournament debut match are a combined 0-5 during the rally scoring era.

Absurd stat to know

This will be the second consecutive season that a Ohio State versus UC Irvine match will be played on the same day as a UCLA versus Harvard match. On March 11, 2017, UC Irvine on road swept Ohio State in a non-conference match, while across the country UCLA swept Harvard in non-conference play.