Deeper look at men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament selection criteria

The conference tournament championship matches are set and Final Four picture is slowly starting to become clearer – but not by much.

With Selection Sunday looming, UC Irvine and Stanford’s victories in the MPSF Tournaments have given them a leg-up in the race to get a spot in the NCAA Tournament. However, a closer look at the criteria used by the selection committee shows nothing in the field is decided going into championship Saturday.

Below is the entry from the 2012 NCAA men’s volleyball championship handbook on how the three-person volleyball selection committee determines the at-large team and seeding for the NCAA Tournament.


Automatic qualifiers will be determined by a method selected by each conference office. The remaining at-large team will be selected using the following criteria (in no
priority order):
– Won-lost results;
– Head-to-head competition;
– Results versus non-conference opponents;
– Home and away results;
– Results against common opponents;
– Results against teams already qualified and other teams under consideration; and
– Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.

The selection committee does not consider match results against NAIA teams, such as Cardinal Stritch and Hope International. Only matches against NCAA teams factors into the criteria.

Some selection committees in the past have placed a greater emphasis on a certain categories. For instance, the 2010 committee said they placed a greater emphasis on head-to-head results and a team’s record against other teams being considered. However, there is no requirement that categories be weighed differently.

No team is a lock at this point in the season and everyone from the lone at-large and to tournament seeding is still undecided.

Here is how UC Irvine, BYU, Stanford and USC match up against each other using the selection committee criteria and giving equal weight to each category. Also included is how the two leading at-large front-runners, UC Irvine and UCLA, match up against Lewis and Penn State for NCAA Tournament seeding possibilities.

[Editor's note: Teams projected to qualify or be under consideration are UC Irvine, BYU, Stanford, USC, Penn State, Lewis and Ohio State. The amount of teams under consideration will continue to decrease as it gets closer to Selection Sunday on April 29.]

At-large bid (UC Irvine vs. BYU)
Won-lost results:
UC Irvine 23-5; BYU 24-7. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: BYU won season series 2-1. Edge: BYU
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 4-0; BYU 6-1. Edge: UC Irvine
Home record: UC Irvine 9-4; BYU 14-3. Edge: BYU
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; BYU 9-2. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 22-3; BYU 19-6. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 4-4; BYU 6-4. Edge: BYU
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine

At-large bid (UC Irvine vs. USC)
Won-lost results:
UC Irvine 23-5; USC 22-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: UC Irvine won the season series 2-1. Edge: UC Irvine
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 4-0; USC 3-0. Edge: UC Irvine
Home record: UC Irvine 9-4; USC 13-2. Edge: USC
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; USC 9-3. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 21-4; USC 19-3. Edge: USC
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 4-4; USC 4-4. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine

At-large bid (UC Irvine vs. Stanford)
Won-lost results:
UC Irvine 23-5; Stanford 22-6. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: Both teams split their two-match series. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 4-0; Stanford 3-1. Edge: UC Irvine
Home record: UC Irvine 9-4; Stanford 10-3. Edge: Stanford
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; Stanford 10-2. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 21-4; Stanford 17-4. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 4-4; Stanford 5-4. Edge: Stanford
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine

At-large bid (BYU vs. USC)
Won-lost results:
BYU 24-7; USC 22-5. Edge: USC
Head-to-head competition: BYU defeated USC twice. Edge: BYU
Non-conference record: BYU 6-1; USC 3-0. Edge: USC
Home record: BYU 14-3; USC 13-2. Edge: USC
Road record: BYU 9-2; USC 9-3. Edge: BYU
Record vs. common opponents: BYU 21-7; USC 21-3. Edge: USC
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: BYU 6-4; USC 4-4. Edge: BYU
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: USC

At-large bid (BYU vs. Stanford)
Won-lost results:
BYU 24-7; Stanford 22-6. Edge: Stanford
Head-to-head competition: Stanford defeated BYU three times. Edge: Stanford
Non-conference record: BYU 6-1; Stanford 3-1. Edge: BYU
Home record: BYU 14-3; Stanford 10-3. Edge: BYU
Road record: BYU 9-2; Stanford 10-2. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. common opponents: BYU 21-4; Stanford 16-6. Edge: BYU
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: BYU 6-4; Stanford 5-4. Edge: BYU
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: BYU

At-large bid (USC vs. Stanford)
Won-lost results:
USC 22-5; Stanford 22-6. Edge: USC
Head-to-head competition: USC defeated Stanford twice. Edge: USC
Non-conference record: USC 3-0; Stanford 3-1. Edge: USC
Home record: USC 13-2; Stanford 10-3. Edge: USC
Road record: USC 9-3; Stanford 10-2 Edge: Stanford
Record vs. common opponents: USC 19-5; Stanford 19-4. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: USC 4-4. Stanford 5-4 Edge: Stanford
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: USC

POTENTIAL SEEDING MATCH-UPS FOR NCAA TOURNAMENT

Penn State vs. Lewis
Won-lost results:
Penn State 22-5; Lewis 25-6. Edge: Penn State
Head-to-head competition: Lewis defeated Penn State. Edge: Lewis
Non-conference record: Penn State 7-5; Lewis 14-3. Edge: Lewis
Home record: Penn State 11-0; Lewis 16-0. Edge: Lewis
Road record: Penn State 9-5; Lewis 8-4. Edge: Lewis
Record vs. common opponents: Penn State 12-1; Lewis 10-4. Edge: Penn State
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Penn State 3-4; Lewis 2-1. Edge: Lewis
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Lewis

Penn State vs. Ohio State
Won-lost results:
Penn State 22-5; Ohio State 21-8. Edge: Penn State
Head-to-head competition: Penn State defeated Ohio State twice. Edge: Penn State
Non-conference record: Penn State 7-5; Ohio State 10-5. Edge: Ohio State
Home record: Penn State 11-0; Ohio State 13-2. Edge: Penn State
Road record: Penn State 9-5; Ohio State 5-4. Edge: Penn State
Record vs. common opponents: Penn State 11-1; Ohio State 11-2. Edge: Penn State
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Penn State 3-4; Ohio State 1-3. Edge: Penn State
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Penn State

UC Irvine vs. Penn State
Won-lost results:
UC Irvine 23-5; Penn State 22-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this season Edge: Push
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 4-0; Penn State 7-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Home record: UC Irvine 9-4; Penn State 11-0. Edge: Penn State
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; Penn State 9-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 9-3; Penn State 3-4. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 4-4; Penn State 3-4. Edge: UC Irvine
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine

UC Irvine vs. Lewis
Won-lost results:
UC Irvine 23-5; Lewis 25-6. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this season Edge: Push
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 4-0; Lewis 14-3. Edge: UC Irvine
Home record: UC Irvine 9-4; Lewis 16-0. Edge: Lewis
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; Lewis 8-4. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 11-1; Lewis 3-3. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 4-4; Lewis 2-1. Edge: Lewis
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine

USC vs. Lewis
Won-lost results:
USC 22-5; Lewis 25-6. Edge: USC
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this season. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: USC 3-0; Lewis 14-3. Edge: USC
Home record: USC 13-2; Lewis 16-0. Edge: Lewis
Road record: USC 9-3; Lewis 8-4 Edge: USC
Record vs. common opponents: USC 10-1; Lewis 6-3. Edge: USC
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: USC 4-4; Lewis 2-1 Edge: Lewis
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: USC

USC vs. Penn State
Won-lost results:
USC 22-5; Penn State 22-5. Edge: Push
Head-to-head competition: USC defeated Penn State Edge: USC
Non-conference record: USC 3-0; Penn State 7-5. Edge: USC
Home record: USC 13-2; Penn State 11-0. Edge: Penn State
Road record: USC 7-3; Penn State 9-5. Edge: USC
Record vs. common opponents: USC 8-0; Penn State 5-3. Edge: USC
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: USC 4-4; Penn State 3-4. Edge: USC
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: USC

Stanford vs. Lewis
Won-lost results:
Stanford 22-6; Lewis 25-6. Edge: Lewis
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this season. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: Stanford 3-1; Lewis 14-3. Edge: Lewis
Home record: Stanford 11-3; Lewis 16-0. Edge: Lewis
Road record: Stanford 10-2; Lewis 8-4 Edge: Stanford
Record vs. common opponents: Stanford 7-3; Lewis 6-5. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Stanford 5-4; Lewis 2-1 Edge: Lewis
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Lewis

Stanford vs. Penn State
Won-lost results:
Stanford 22-6; Penn State 22-5. Edge: Penn State
Head-to-head competition: Penn State defeated Stanford. Edge: Penn State
Non-conference record: Stanford 3-1; Penn State 7-5. Edge: Stanford
Home record: Stanford 11-3; Penn State 11-0. Edge: Penn State
Road record: Stanford 10-2; Penn State 9-5 Edge: Stanford
Record vs. common opponents: Stanford 9-2; Penn State 4-4. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Stanford 5-4; Penn State 3-4 Edge: Stanford
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Stanford

BYU vs. Penn State
Won-lost results:
BYU 24-7; Penn State 22-5. Edge: Penn State
Head-to-head competition: BYU defeated Penn State twice. Edge: BYU
Non-conference record: BYU 6-1; Penn State 7-5. Edge: BYU
Home record: BYU 14-3; Penn State 11-0. Edge: Penn State
Road record: BYU 9-2; Penn State 9-5 Edge: BYU
Record vs. common opponents: BYU 9-4; Penn State 4-2. Edge: BYU
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: BYU 6-4; Penn State 3-4 Edge: BYU
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: BYU

BYU vs. Lewis
Won-lost results:
BYU 24-7; Lewis 25-6. Edge: Lewis
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this season. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: BYU 6-1; Lewis 14-3. Edge: BYU
Home record: BYU 14-3; Lewis 16-0. Edge: Lewis
Road record: BYU 9-2; Lewis 8-4 Edge: BYU
Record vs. common opponents: BYU 12-2; Lewis 6-4. Edge: BYU
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: BYU 6-4; Lewis 2-1 Edge: Lewis
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Push

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