The location is now set for inaugural NCAA Tournament play-in matches.
The NCAA men’s volleyball committee confirmed to Off the Block on Wednesday that the two play-in matches for upcoming six-team NCAA Tournament will be played in April at Loyola.
This location move will centralize the entire 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Gentile Center in Chicago. Loyola as host site was already scheduled to play host to the upcoming NCAA Tournament semifinals and finals.
The NCAA announced in October that it would expand the NCAA Tournament to six teams. In addition, the new format would feature two play-in matches between the four lowest seeds in the tournament and the two highest seeds would earn byes to the semifinals.
Initial reforms to the NCAA Tournament also had the No. 3 seed and No. 4 seed being awarded the right to host its play-in match on its campus. However, the committee opted to move the play-in matches to Chicago and the final four site for this season because of the late off-season announcement that it would revamp the NCAA Tournament format.
The time and dates for the two play-in matches have not been announced.
The two NCAA Tournament play-in matches, according to a NCAA memo released to teams in the fall, can take place any time between Selection Sunday on April 27 and the start of the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday, May 1.
This is the first time since men’s volleyball became a sanctioned sport in 1970 that the NCAA Tournament field was expand beyond four teams. The NCAA Tournament field will now include two at-large bids and automatic conference bids from the EIVA, MIVA, MPSF and Conference Carolinas.
The three-person men’s volleyball committee will determine the seeding for the entire NCAA Tournament, including the four teams that will be required to compete in the play-in match. In addition, the committee has no requirements to place a certain amount of at-large bids or conference champion bids into the play-in matches.