Men’s volleyball bracketology

The NCAA Tournament projections continue to change and get closer as Selection Sunday looms.

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 (19-4) vs. No. 4 seed Ohio State (16-8)
No. 2 seed USC (18-4)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (18-3)

Last four out
UCLA (20-5)
BYU (20-5)
Lewis (19-6)
Stanford (15-6)


Comments
Massive changes in this week’s NCAA Tournament projections with two new teams in four-team field. USC — which is on a nation-best 12-match winning streak — moved ahead of UCLA to get the lone at-large bid. Despite UCLA upsetting No. 1 UC Irvine on Saturday, its loss to UC San Diego earlier in the week was enough to knock the Bruins out of the NCAA Tournament field. In addition, Ohio State is now projected to win the MIVA instead of Lewis. The Buckeyes swept the Flyers to move into first place in the conference. Ohio State getting into the tournament would also result in Penn State moving up to the No. 3 seed.

IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed UC Irvine (19-4) vs. No. 8 seed Pfeiffer (18-6)
No. 2 seed USC (18-4)* vs. No. 7 seed Lewis (19-6)*
No. 3 seed UCLA (20-5)* vs. No. 6 seed Ohio State (16-8)
No. 4 seed Penn State (18-3) vs. No. 5 seed BYU (20-5)*

Last four out
Stanford (15-6)
Harvard (16-3)
Pepperdine (13-11)
Long Beach State (13-12)

Comments
There would be some controversy with this tournament field as Lewis would receive an at-large bid — becoming the second non-West Coast team in NCAA men’s volleyball history to get an at-large bid. However, using the NCAA Tournament selection committee criteria, Lewis has the edge over Stanford for the final at-large spot. The other significant change in this week’s bracket is Penn State moving up two spots to the No. 4 seed following its two weekend victories.

*Indicates at-large berth