It’s Selection Sunday and Off the Block is unveiling its final bracketology projections for the upcoming men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament.
The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is comprised of four teams. BYU, Loyola and Penn State earned automatic bids to the Final Four after winning their conference tournaments on Saturday, while the lone at-large bid will be announced by the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee at 3 p.m. (EST) Sunday as part of Selection Sunday.
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 as the Conference Carolinas receive an automatic bid to the tournament starting next season. However, true bracket expansion of the tournament won’t talk place until 2016 at the earliest because of an NCAA budget freeze.
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 (25-4) vs. No. 4 seed Loyola (22-9)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (23-7)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (22-7)
LAST FOUR OUT
Long Beach State (24-8)
Ball State (21-5)
Quick breakdown: Once again the race for the at-large bid came down to the final hours before the brackets were unveiled and will be heavily debated among the volleyball community. However, UC Irvine is projected to get the at-large bid over Long Beach State. Despite the Anteaters losing to the 49ers in the conference tournament, UC Irvine owns the advantage in the majority of criteria categories including head-to-head record and record against teams under consideration for the NCAA Tournament. Penn State also earned the No. 3 seed over Loyola in part because of the Nittany Lions’ non-conference win against the Ramblers earlier in the season.
IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed BYU (25-4) vs. No. 8 seed Pfeiffer (17-8)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (23-7)* vs. No. 7 seed Ball State (21-5)*
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (24-7)* vs. No. 6 seed Loyola (22-9)
No. 4 seed Penn State (23-7) vs. No. 5 seed UCLA (21-11)*
LAST FOUR OUT
Quick breakdown: The biggest controversy with this year’s hypothetical eight-team tournament field would be whether Ball State or Lewis would get the final at-large bid. Lewis advanced further in the conference tournament, but Ball State would get the final spot because the Cardinals lead in the majority of criteria categories when paired against the Flyers. In addition, the other big move in this bracketology is Penn State jumping ahead of UCLA and into the No. 4 seed following the Nittany Lions winning the EIVA championship on Saturday.
*Indicates at-large bid