MADISON, Wis. -

The Wisconsin volleyball team earned the highest seed in program history as it is seeded third in the 2016 NCAA Championship.

The Badgers (25-4) were selected as the No. 3 overall seed when the 64-team bracket was announced on Sunday night. UW will host first-round and second-round matches on Thursday and Friday in the UW Field House.

“We certainly excited to have one of the top-four seeds,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “The Field House is a great place to play and it’s great to play in front of our fans. That was one of quite a few goals that we had. One was to get a top-four seed and we’re planning on trying to play as well as we can possibly play.”

Wisconsin will take on Howard (26-5), the 2016 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, in the first- round on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the UW Field House. In-state rival Marquette (23-8) faces Washington State (21-11) in the other first-round match on Thursday at 5 p.m.

“It’s a team from a smaller conference,” Sheffield said of Howard. “They played a couple of Big Ten teams in Penn State and Purdue … and they’ve won a lot. You get a lot of confidence from winning. I’m sure they’re going to come in, feeling like ‘Hey, we’ve won a lot of matches. We can go in there and take these guys and give them a match. We’ve played other Big Ten teams’ so there’s not going to be much of a fear factor.”

Winners will advanced to the second-round match on Friday at 7 p.m.

All-session ticket packages for the first and second-rounds will go on sale at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Only all-session tickets (three matches) are available in advance with single-session tickets on sale on Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

The Badgers are 39-19 (.673) in 19 NCAA tournament appearances. Wisconsin has hosted first and second-round matches 16 times, including in 2015 when it defeated Oregon in the first round and Iowa State in the second round. UW advanced to the NCAA Austin Regional final last season, losing to Florida, 3-2, in the Sweet 16. 

Eight Big Ten Conference teams made it into the NCAA tournament, including No. 1-seed Nebraska and No. 2-seed Minnesota.