Two weeks before the conference tournaments begin and the race for the lone at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament continues to get tougher to call in the latest Off the Block weekly bracketology.
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. 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 (19-3) vs. No. 4 seed Lewis (18-7)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (18-6)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (17-6)
LAST FOUR OUT
Long Beach State (19-7)
Ohio State (17-5)
Quick breakdown: There was no changes in the tournament projections from last week. However, UC Irvine’s advantage over Long Beach State and UCLA for the at-large bid has dramatically decreased following the Bruins’ victory against the Anteaters during the weekend. In addition, Penn State continues to hold the edge over Lewis for the No. 3 seed in part because of their victory against the Flyers earlier in the season.
IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed BYU (19-3) vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (22-5)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (18-6)* vs. No. 7 seed Ohio State (17-5)*
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (19-7)* vs. No. 6 seed Lewis (18-7)
No. 4 seed Penn State (17-6) vs. No. 5 seed UCLA (17-9)*
LAST FOUR OUT
UC Santa Barbara (14-12)
Ball State (14-5)
Quick breakdown: Ohio State jumped ahead of Pepperdine and into the final at-large spot following the Waves’ two losses last week. In addition, UC Santa Barbara has moved into consideration for an at-large bid after sweeping a two-match series against Hawai’i to extend its winning streak to seven matches.
*Indicates at-large bid