Bracketology: Difficult for Pepperdine to get NCAA Tournament at-large bid

A conference tournament semifinals win for Pepperdine would not be enough for it to receive a NCAA Tournament at-large bid, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology projections.

Pepperdine enters its upcoming MPSF Tournament semifinals match against Hawai’i on Thursday as the first team out of the NCAA Tournament field in the most recent bracketology.


The Rainbow Warriors, which are projected as the last at-large team to the NCAA Tournament, hold an advantage in the majority of the selection committee criteria categories. In addition, even with a semifinal loss to Pepperdine it is projected to continue to hold an advantage those criteria categories, including head-to-head record and record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration.

Hawai’i leads the head-to-head series after sweeping a two-match home series against Pepperdine in the regular season. The Rainbow Warriors are projected to have clinched this criteria category because no additional weight is given to postseason victories.

One scenario that could help Pepperdine is if George Mason upsets Penn State to win the EIVA Tournament.

Pepperdine swept a two-match non-conference series against George Mason in January. Both those victories would go towards the Waves record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration if the Patriots secure the EIVA championship.

George Mason is projected to only be among the teams under NCAA Tournament consideration if it receives the EIVA’s automatic berth.

This would not be the first time a team has beaten an opponent in the conference tournament but lost the at-large bid race to that same school. Long Beach State upset UC Irvine in the 2013 MPSF Tournament semifinals, but the Anteaters held an advantage in the majority of criteria categories to get the at-large bid.

Despite possibly not getting an at-large bid, Pepperdine can still reach the NCAA Tournament if it wins the MPSF Tournament to earn the conference’s automatic bid.

The six-team NCAA Tournament is comprised of the four conference tournament champions and two at-large bids. The loser of the MIVA Tournament championship match between Loyola and Lewis is projected to receive the first at-large bid, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.

Check out these projected scenarios and how Pepperdine would fare head-to-head compared to other teams for an at-large bid using the same criteria as the selection committee.


Scenario one: Pepperdine beats Hawai’i in the MPSF Tournament semifinals but loses to UC Irvine in the MPSF Tournament finals.
Hawai’i vs. Pepperdine
Pepperdine beats Hawai’i but loses in championship match to UC Irvine
Projected RPI ranking: Hawai’i No. 4; Pepperdine No. 7. Edge: Hawai’i
Won-lost results: Hawai’i 21-6; Pepperdine 24-6. Edge: Pepperdine
Head-to-head competition: Hawai’i leads season series 2-1. Edge: Hawai’i
Non-conference record: Hawai’i 2-0; Pepperdine 5-0. Edge: Push
Home record: Hawai’i 12-2; Pepperdine 14-1. Edge: Pepperdine
Road record: Hawai’i 9-3; Pepperdine 8-5. Edge: Hawai’i
Record vs. common opponents: Hawai’i 17-6; Pepperdine 19-4. Edge: Pepperdine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Hawai’i 6-4; Pepperdine 3-5. Edge: Hawai’i
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Hawai’i

Scenario two: Pepperdine beats Hawai’i in the MPSF Tournament semifinals but loses to UC Irvine in the MPSF Tournament finals. George Mason wins EIVA championship.
Hawai’i vs. Pepperdine
Projected RPI ranking: Hawai’i No. 4; Pepperdine No. 6. Edge: Hawai’i
Won-lost results: Hawai’i 21-6; Pepperdine 24-6. Edge: Pepperdine
Head-to-head competition: Hawai’i leads season series 2-1. Edge: Hawai’i
Non-conference record: Hawai’i 2-0; Pepperdine 5-0. Edge: Push
Home record: Hawai’i 12-2; Pepperdine 14-1. Edge: Pepperdine
Road record: Hawai’i 9-3; Pepperdine 8-5. Edge: Hawai’i
Record vs. common opponents: Hawai’i 17-6; Pepperdine 19-4. Edge: Pepperdine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Hawai’i 6-4; Pepperdine 5-5. Edge: Hawai’i
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: Hawai’i

Scenario three: Pepperdine beats Hawai’i in the MPSF Tournament semifinals but loses to USC in the MPSF Tournament finals.
UC Irvine vs. Pepperdine
Projected RPI ranking: UC Irvine No. 3; Pepperdine No. 7. Edge: UC Irvine
Won-lost results: UC Irvine 26-5; Pepperdine 24-6. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: Season series tied 1-1. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 5-1; Pepperdine 5-0. Edge: Pepperdine
Home record: UC Irvine 13-4; Pepperdine 14-1. Edge: Pepperdine
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; Pepperdine 8-4. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 21-3; Pepperdine 20-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 6-5; Pepperdine 3-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine

Scenario four: Pepperdine beats Hawai’i in the MPSF Tournament semifinals but loses to USC in the MPSF Tournament finals. George Mason wins EIVA championship.
UC Irvine vs. Pepperdine
Projected RPI ranking: UC Irvine No. 3; Pepperdine No. 6. Edge: UC Irvine
Won-lost results: UC Irvine 26-5; Pepperdine 24-6. Edge: UC Irvine
Head-to-head competition: Season series tied 1-1. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: UC Irvine 5-1; Pepperdine 5-0. Edge: Pepperdine
Home record: UC Irvine 13-4; Pepperdine 14-1. Edge: Pepperdine
Road record: UC Irvine 11-1; Pepperdine 8-4. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. common opponents: UC Irvine 21-3; Pepperdine 20-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: UC Irvine 7-5; Pepperdine 5-5. Edge: UC Irvine
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: UC Irvine