Quick-hit guide to NCAA Tournament semifinals

The NCAA Tournament continues on Thursday with both semifinal matches. Check out the quick-hit guide about what to know for these NCAA Tournament matches.

Hawai’i (27-2, 8-2 Big West) vs. Lewis (25-5, 13-1 MIVA)
Match vitals:
5 p.m. Thursday in Long Beach, California
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
How they got here: Hawai’i defeated Long Beach State in five games in the Big West Tournament finals to earn the conference’s automatic bid and earned a by to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Lewis, the MIVA champions, rallied from a one-game deficit to beat USC in four games in the NCAA Tournament opening round on Tuesday.
Season series: First meeting this season
Series history: Hawai’i leads 7-1 (swept Lewis during the last meeting in 2018)
NCAA Tournament titles: Hawai’i (2002 vacated); Lewis (2003 vacated)
Previous NCAA Tournament appearances: Hawai’i (1995-96, 2000, 2002, 2015, 2017) Lewis (1996-98, 2003-04, 2012, 2014-15)
NCAA Tournament record: Hawai’i 2-5; Lewis (2-6)
Stats to know: Despite Hawai’i and Lewis combining for more than 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, this will be the first meeting between the two programs in the NCAA Tournament. The Rainbow Warriors are the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. The No. 1 seed has won its semifinal match and advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals every year since USC lost to UC Santa Barbara in 2011. Lewis is also attempting to become the first non-top-three seed to reach the NCAA Tournament finals since that UC Santa Barbara team. In the eight previous meetings between Hawai’i and Lewis, all but one match has been either a sweep or went to a decisive fifth game. Hawai’i outside attacker Stijn van Tilburg has a combined 33 kills in two NCAA Tournament career matches, including a team-high 20 kills in a five-game victory against Penn State in 2017. If the Flyers win, they will become third MIVA team reach multiple NCAA Tournament finals this decade.

Pepperdine (23-6, 9-3 MPSF) vs. Long Beach State (26-2, 10-0 Big West)
Match vitals:
7:30 p.m. Thursday in Long Beach, California
Follow live: Live stats, Live video
How they got here: Pepperdine, the MPSF champions, defeated Princeton in five games in the NCAA Tournament opening round on Tuesday. The defending NCAA champions Long Beach State were ranked No. 1 for the majority of the regular season. After losing in its conference tournament finals, Long Beach State earned an at-large bid along with a bye to the semifinals.
Season series: First meeting this season
Series history: Pepperdine leads 43-42 (Long Beach State swept Pepperdine during their last meeting in 2017)
NCAA Tournament titles: Pepperdine (1978, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2005); Long Beach State (1991, 2018)
Previous NCAA Tournament appearances: Pepperdine (1976-78, 1983-86, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002-3, 2005, 2007-08); Long Beach State (1970, 1973, 1990-91, 1999, 20004, 2008, 2016-18)
NCAA Tournament record: Pepperdine (17-9); Long Beach State (15-9)
Stats to know: Long Beach State is attempting to become the first No. 2 overall seed to win a match in the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded in 2014. Outside attacker TJ DeFalco has a combined 83 kills in five career NCAA Tournament matches, including 18 kills in the finals last season. The AVCA National Player of the Year also has more than a .350 attack percentage in three of those five NCAA Tournament matches. Long Beach State is the sixth team this decade to reach the NCAA Tournament as the host venue for the event. A host school has not lost in the NCAA Tournament semifinals since Penn State in 2011. Pepperdine, though, beat the host school UCLA in the 2005 NCAA Tournament finals to win the program’s most recent national title. Pepperdine coach David Hunt also has a chance to become the first head coach since UC Irvine coach David Kniffin in 2013 to win their first two NCAA Tournament matches.

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