NCAA Tournament Projections: Latest college men’s volleyball bracketology

Days before Selection Sunday and the race for the at-large bids and NCAA Tournament seeding remains just as chaotic.

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
Pepperdine (19-7)
UC Santa Barbara (18-9)
Ball State (22-8)
Long Beach State (18-10)

Quick breakdown: Stanford and Loyola are locks to reach the NCAA Tournament regardless of what both teams do in their upcoming conference tournament championship matches. However, Stanford will likely need to beat BYU in the MPSF Tournament championship to remain ahead of the Cougars and the keep the No. 2 overall seed. The closest race, though, is the battle for the final at-large bid. Lewis holds the edge of Pepperdine in the overwhelming majority of criteria categories that the NCAA Tournament selection committee uses to decide the at-large bid, and the Flyers have a legitimate case to get an at-large bid if they lose in the MIVA Tournament championship match. A non-West Coast team has not received an at-large bid since IPFW in 1994. The big determinant on Lewis earning the at-large bid over Pepperdine could come down to if the NCAA Tournament selection committee has Ball State included among the teams under consideration for an at-large bid. Lewis won all three matches against Ball State this season and those wins have boosted Flyers’ in the critical criteria category of record versus teams qualified or under consideration for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.