The postseason is fast approaching and Off the Block has released its first bracketology of the season.
Off the Block each week during the rest of the regular season and throughout each round of the postseason will unveil its latest projections to the NCAA Tournament.
The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is comprised of six teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the Conference Carolinas, EIVA, MIVA and MPSF conference tournaments, and the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee chooses two teams for at-large bids.
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.
The men’s volleyball championship tournament had a four-team field since the sport became NCAA sanctioned in 1970. However, the NCAA expanded the tournament in the off-season adding one more at-large bid an awarding an automatic bid to the Conference Carolinas.
With this new format, the top two overall seeds will earn byes to the NCAA Tournament semifinals, while the four lowest seeds will compete in the inaugural play-in matches.
The NCAA Tournament begins with the two play-in matches on April 29 at Loyola. In addition, the NCAA Tournament semifinals and finals will take place May 1-3 at Loyola.
PROJECTED NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
No. 1 seed Loyola (17-1) — bye to semifinals
No. 2 seed BYU (15-4) — bye to semifinals
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (15-4)* vs. No. 6 seed Erskine (15-5)
No. 4 seed Pepperdine (12-5)* vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (14-4)
LAST FOUR OUT
UC Santa Barbara (13-6)
Ball State (15-5)
Quick breakdown: No. 1 Loyola is on the nation’s longest winning streak and is poised to become the first non-West Coast team to earn the No. 1 overall seed since Penn State in 2008. In the at-large bid race, Pepperdine narrowly edges out UC Santa Barbara for the final at-large berth. Both Ball State and IPFW also remain in the hunt for an at-large bid because of their overall winning percentage but will likely have to be near perfect the rest of the season to remain in contention for an at-large bid. In addition, UCLA, USC and UC Irvine are off the board right now but could move up the bracketology board with strong finishes to their seasons.
*Indicates at-large bid