With conference tournaments less than one month away, Off the Block will begin its weekly bracketology projecting the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament bracket.
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.
Off the Block since starting its bracketology in 2011 has accurately projected every team in the NCAA Tournament and all the semifinal matches.
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 NCAA Tournament will take place May 2-4 at UCLA.
PROJECTED FINAL FOUR
No. 1 seed BYU (15-3) vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (14-6)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (17-5)* vs. No. 3 seed Lewis (16-6)
LAST FOUR OUT
Long Beach State (16-6)
Ohio State (15-3)
Quick breakdown: BYU leads everyone in almost every criteria category and at this point in the season looks to be a lock for the No. 1 overall seed. UC Irvine edges-out Long Beach State for the only at-large bid in part because of the Anteaters won all three matches against the 49ers.
IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed BYU (15-3) vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (20-3)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (17-5)* vs. No. 7 seed Penn State (14-6)
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (16-6)* vs. No. 6 seed Ohio State (15-3)*
No. 4 seed Lewis (16-6) vs. No. 5 seed Pepperdine (12-6)*
LAST FOUR OUT
Cal State Northridge (10-8)
Quick breakdown: The eight-team tournament could create some controversy with Penn State dropping all the way to the No. 7 seed in large part because of its current three-match losing streak. Ohio State lost to UCLA in the regular season, but the Buckeyes get the final at-large bid ahead of the Bruins as a result of the team winning more of the selection committee criteria categories when paired against each other.
*Indicates at-large bid