Men’s volleyball bracketology

One week remaining in the regular season and the race for a spot in the NCAA Tournament remains as close as when the season started.

With the Final Four starting in less than 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 USC (20-4) vs. No. 4 seed Ohio State (18-8)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (20-5)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (20-3)

Last four out
BYU (21-6)
UCLA (21-6)
Lewis (21-6)
Stanford (18-6)


Comments
There are no changes to this week’s Final Four projections, but the gap between UC Irvine, BYU and UCLA continues to narrow. The Anteaters hold a slight advantage over both teams using the eight-part criteria that is used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. With this at-large race being so close, though, if UC Irvine loses its regular season finale or exits early in MPSF Tournament it could be past by BYU or UC Irvine.

IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed USC (20-4) vs. No. 8 seed Pfeiffer (18-6)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (20-5)* vs. No. 7 seed Lewis (21-6)*
No. 3 seed BYU (21-6)* vs. No. 6 seed Ohio State (18-8)
No. 4 seed UCLA (21-6)* vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (20-3)

Last four out
Stanford (18-6)
Harvard (17-4)
Pepperdine (14-12)
Long Beach State (14-13)

Comments
The big change from last week’s eight-team tournament bracketology is BYU moving ahead of UCLA to the No. 3 seed and the Bruins dropping one spot to the No. 4 seed. However, the biggest controversy with this tournament would be Lewis getting the final at-large bid over Stanford. The Flyers continue to lead the Cardinal when matched-up head-to-head using the eight-piece NCAA Tournament selection committee criteria.

*Indicates at-large berth