Tons of upsets and losses last week created a complete upheaval in the newest college men’s volleyball bracketology.
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 (23-1) — bye to the semifinals
No. 2 seed BYU (18-6) — bye to the semifinals
No. 3 seed Pepperdine (16-6)* vs. No. 6 seed Erskine (19-6)
No. 4 seed Penn State (19-5) vs. No. 5 seed Stanford (18-7)*
FIRST FOUR OUT
UC Santa Barbara (15-8)
Long Beach State (16-9)
UC Irvine (17-9)
Quick breakdown: Stanford behind its conference-best nine-match winning streak has overtaken Long Beach State for the final at-large spot to the NCAA Tournament. The 49ers following their two home losses last week have dropped from in the tournament to the bottom half of the first four out. With theses losses, it has also opened the possibility of Lewis becoming the second non-West Coast team in the tournament’s history to earn an at-large bid. For that scenario to happen, though, Lewis will need to make a deep run the MIVA Tournament and get help in the MPSF Tournament. Along with the at-large bid race, BYU remains the No. 2 seed despite its two road losses to No. 10 Hawai’i during the weekend, but the gap has significantly narrowed among the West Coast teams vying for a bye to the semifinals. In addition, the two BYU losses make Loyola virtual lock for the No. 1 seed even if the Ramblers lose in the MIVA Tournament.
*Indicates at-large bid