One week away from Selection Sunday and there is now more clarity to the at-large race but it’s still incredibly tight.
Off the Block 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 as it added one more at-large bid and 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
FIRST FOUR OUT
UC Santa Barbara (18-8)
Ball State (22-7)
Quick breakdown: The race for the two NCAA Tournament at-large bids following the first round of the conference tournaments has been reduced to six teams with realistic chances: Loyola, Lewis, BYU, Pepperdine, Stanford and UC Santa Barbara. Barring IPFW or Ball State pulling upsets and winning the MIVA Tournament, two of those six teams will receive their conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and shrinking the pool to four teams going for two at-large spots. Stanford is in the best position of the four MPSF teams to earn an at-large bid largely because of it going undefeated in non-conference play, including a win against Lewis. In contrast, BYU is in the biggest need of a conference tournament semifinals victory. If BYU loses to UC Santa Barbara in the MPSF Tournament semifinals and Lewis beats Ball State in the MIVA Tournament semifinals, the Flyers should move ahead of Cougars in the race for that final at-large bid. Along with the at-large race, Penn State continues to climb in the bracket and has a chance at the No. 3 overall seed if UC Santa Barbara wins the MPSF Tournament.