PROVO — For the second year in a row, the BYU men's volleyball team will enter the NCAA tournament as one of the favorites to win it all.

Officials announced Sunday that BYU will be the No. 2 seed in the six-team NCAA championships that begin Tuesday in Chicago at Gentile Arena. The Cougars (22-8) will receive a bye for the first round and square off against the winner of No. 3 seed Stanford (22-8) and No. 6 seed Erskine (21-6) Thursday at 9 p.m. MDT.

The Cougars have faced the Cardinal three times this season, winning all three matches, including Saturday's straight-set win in the MPSF conference championship game. BYU has not played Erskine (Due West, South Carolina), which received an automatic bid by winning the Conference Carolinas championship.

Loyola University Chicago (27-1) secured the No. 1 seed and will host the tournament. The Cougars opened their season against the Ramblers and lost in straight sets back on Jan. 3. Loyola will play the winner of No. 4 seed Lewis (23-7) and No. 5 seed Penn State (24-6.)

The semifinal matches will be streamed on, with ESPNU broadcasting the final match Saturday at 6 p.m. MDT.


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney