It’s the final week of the regular season, and if the latest bracketology projection is any indication the race for the NCAA Tournament at-large bid and seeding will remain tight entering the postseason.
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 in future years, 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 (20-4) vs. No. 4 seed Lewis (19-7)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (20-6)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (18-6)
LAST FOUR OUT
Long Beach State (21-7)
Quick breakdown: Despite its weekend loss, BYU still had a large enough margin to maintain the No. 1 overall seed. The Cougars continue to lead every team in the majority of criteria categories, and barring a complete end of season collapse they will get the top seed for the NCAA Tournament. In addition, UC Irvine continues to have a narrow lead over Long Beach State for the only at-large bid in part because the Anteaters went 3-0 against the 49ers during the regular season.
IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed BYU (20-4) vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (22-5)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (20-6)* vs. No. 7 seed Loyola (18-8)*
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (21-7)* vs. No. 6 seed Lewis (19-7)
No. 4 seed Penn State (18-6) vs. No. 5 seed UCLA (18-10)*
LAST FOUR OUT
Ball State (18-5)
Ohio State (17-7)
Quick breakdown: Loyola made the biggest move in this week’s bracketology, jumping ahead of Ohio State and Pepperdine and into the final at-large spot. There was no change in the top six seeds, but the gap among Penn State, Lewis and UCLA continue to narrow as they battle for the No. 4 through No. 6 seeds.
*Indicates at-large bid