Men’s volleyball bracketology

With the conference tournament semifinals now complete and selection Sunday three days away, Off Block is releasing its most updated projections of the NCAA Tournament bracket.

The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is comprised of four teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the EIVA, MIVA and MPSF conference tournaments, and the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee chooses one team for an at-large bid.

The three-person men’s volleyball committee typically meets following all of the conference tournaments to select the at-large team and the tournament seeding. For an in-depth look at the criteria used by the selection committee, check out this breakdown.

The men’s volleyball championship tournament has remained a four-team field since the sport became NCAA sanctioned in 1970.

In recent years, though, there has been a growing possibility of the NCAA Tournament expanding to eight teams. This also might become more likely with the Conference Carolinas qualifying for an automatic bid to the tournament starting in 2014.

As a result of this potential tournament format change, Off the Block will also project this year’s NCAA Tournament if it expanded to eight teams with four automatic conference bids and four at-large bids.

The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament will take place May 5-7 in University Park, Pa.

Projected Final Four

No. 1 seed USC (23-2) vs. No. 4 seed Stanford (19-9)*
No. 2 seed Ohio State (23-6) vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (23-6)

Last four out
BYU (20-8)
UC Irvine (19-12)
Hawai’i (15-13)
UC Santa Barbara (16-14)

Comments
Stanford and BYU can take a giant breath and put down the USC pom poms until Saturday. If USC loses in the MPSF Tournament championship match Saturday, it will get the at-large bid and end all the debate on whether Stanford or BYU should get the at-large bid. Nothing changed following the conference tournament semifinals and Stanford still holds an extremely slim lead over BYU for the at-large bid based on the criteria used by the selection committee.

If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams

No. 1 seed USC (23-2) vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (20-7)
No. 2 seed Ohio State (23-6) vs. No. 7 Hawai’i (15-13)*
No. 3 seed Penn State (23-6) vs. No. 6 UC Irvine (19-11)*
No. 4 seed Stanford (19-9)* vs. No. 5 seed BYU (20-8)*

Last four out
UC Santa Barbara (16-14)
Loyola (21-7)
Long Beach State (15-14)
Lewis (20-11)

Comments
No changes in the hypothetical eight-team tournament. However, the gap between UC Santa Barbara and Hawai’i has closed for the final at-large spot after the Gauchos picked up another victory in the MPSF Tournament. In addition, if USC, Penn State or Ohio State lost their conference championship match under this format they would still get in as at-large bid.

*Indicates at-large bid

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