Men’s volleyball bracketology

Five weeks until NCAA Tournament field is revealed and the gap continues to narrow between teams for the lone at-large bid.

With the Final Four beginning in almost one month, Off the Block released its latest projected NCAA Tournament bracket on Monday.


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 3-5 in Los Angeles.

PROJECTED FINAL FOUR
No. 1 seed UC Irvine (18-3) vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (14-3)
No. 2 seed UCLA (19-4)* vs. No. 3 seed Lewis (19-4)


Last four out
USC (16-4)
BYU (17-4)
Stanford (14-5)
Ohio State (14-8)

Comments
For the second straight week, there is no change to the four teams in the NCAA Tournament. The big change this week, though, is in the last four out as USC leaps over BYU because of BYU’s weekend loss to Long Beach State. The gap between UCLA, USC and BYU for the lone at-large bid remains extremely narrow. In addition, both USC versus Stanford and UCLA versus UC Irvine this weekend could have significant ramifications for the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed UC Irvine (18-3) vs. No. 8 seed Pfeiffer (16-6)
No. 2 seed UCLA (19-4)* vs. No. 7 seed Stanford (14-5)*
No. 3 seed USC (16-4)* vs. No. 6 seed Penn State (16-3)
No. 4 seed Lewis (19-4) vs. No. 5 seed BYU (18-5)*

Last four out
Ohio State (14-8)
Pepperdine (12-10)
Harvard (14-3)
Long Beach State (11-12)

Comments
USC and BYU flipped seeds from last week’s bracketology. Despite the Cougars winning both head-to-head matches against the Trojans, USC holds the edge in the majority of criteria categories used by the selection committee. In addition, the last teams four out remains the same for the second consecutive week. However, the gap between Ohio State and the other three teams has narrowed following the Buckeyes’ upset loss to Quincy on Friday.

*Indicates at-large bid