It’s less than four weeks until Selection Sunday and the races for seeding and at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament have gotten even tighter.
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 and all the semifinal matches.
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 as it added one more at-large bid an awarded 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 remains seeds will compete in the inaugural play-in matches.
The NCAA Tournament will begin 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 (21-1) — bye to the semifinals
No. 2 seed BYU (18-4) — bye to the semifinals
No. 3 seed Pepperdine (15-6)* vs. No. 6 seed Erskine (17-6)
No. 4 seed Long Beach State (16-7)* vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (17-5)
LAST FOUR OUT
UC Santa Barbara (14-7)
Ball State (17-7)
Quick breakdown: The race for that final at-large bid is extremely tight, but Long Beach State edged out Stanford in part because of the 49ers’ winning both head-to-head meeting against the Cardinal this season. In addition, Lewis behind conference victories against Ball State and IPFW last week has moved ahead of both those teams in the at-large race and still has a realistic chance at a bid. UC Irvine and USC despite both being off the board at the moment still have a shot in the final two weeks to move up in the at-large race but each team will need to win-out and get some help. Beyond the at-large race, Loyola has locked up the No. 1 overall seed barring it losing its three final regular season and getting bounced in the first round of the MIVA Tournament.
*Indicates at-large bid