Selection Sunday is upon us, and Off the Block is releasing its final projections of the NCAA Tournament bracket following the three conference championships matches on Saturday.
Lewis, Penn State and UC Irvine clinched the three automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, while lone at-large bid remains a tight race between three teams.
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 (24-5) vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (23-5)
No. 2 seed USC (23-5)* vs. No. 3 seed Lewis (26-6)
Last four out
Ohio State (21-9)
UC Irvine winning the MPSF Tournament was enough for it clinch the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Lewis earned the No. 3 seed instead of Penn State in part because of the Flyers victory against the Nittany Lions in the regualr season and their better record against team qualified or under consideration. The biggest source of contention with this tournament field is the at-large bid as USC beats out BYU for the spot. BYU has the head-to-head advantage over USC, but the Trojans win more of the overall criteria categories. That should be enough for USC if the selection committee continues to weigh all pieces of criteria equally. If the committee places a greater weight on head-to-head and record against teams qualified or under consideration than BYU will receive the at-large bid.
IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed UC Irvine (24-5) vs. No. 8 seed Pfeiffer (21-6)
No. 2 seed USC (23-5)* vs. No. 7 seed UCLA (22-8)*
No. 3 seed Lewis (26-6) vs. No. 6 seed Stanford (22-7)*
No. 4 seed BYU (24-7)* vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (23-5)
Last four out
Ohio State (21-9)
Long Beach State (15-15)
If ever there was a year for an eight-team field to make the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s job easier, it would be this year. USC, BYU, Stanford and UCLA all would have done enough during the regular season to earn the four at at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. This bracket would also create several intriguing quarterfinal matches as USC and UCLA would renew their cross-town rivalry, while a rare match between Lewis and Stanford would also take place.
*Indicates at-large bid