It’s officially Selection Sunday and the race for the final at-large bid is too close to call — but for bracketology purposes a projected needs to be made.
Off the Block each week during the rest of the regular season and throughout each round of the postseason has unveiled its latest projections to the NCAA Tournament. This is now the final bracketology projections before the field is unveiled Sunday afternoon.
The men’s volleyball Division I-II 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 committee selects two teams for at-large bids.
The three-person selection committee meets following all of the conference tournaments to decide the at-large teams and the tournament seeding. For an in-depth look at the criteria used by the selection committee and the Off the Block bracketology projections, check out this breakdown.
The NCAA Tournament will begin with the two play-in matches and the two-top seeds earning byes to the NCAA Tournament semifinals that will played Thursday, May 5 in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Off the Block is in its sixth season of college men’s volleyball bracketology. It has in previous seasons accurately projected 96 percent of the teams in the NCAA Tournament field.
PROJECTED NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
LAST FOUR OUT
Long Beach State (24-7)
UC Santa Barbara (20-10)
Ball State (20-9)
Quick breakdown: This the closest at-large bid race to project in the six-year history of Off the Block bracketology. It is truly too close to call between No. 4/5 Long Beach State and No. 5/4 Stanford for the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal in this bracketology earned the at-large bid because it is projected to have a slightly higher RPI ranking and strength of schedule ranking than the 49ers. Stanford also is projected to have a better winning percentage against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration compared to Long Beach State. Along with the final at-large bid race, UCLA will earn the other at-large bid and get the No. 3 seed. UCLA has a slight case to be seeded at No. 2 ahead of Ohio State because of its head-to-head win at the start of the season. However, the Buckeyes own the edge in the majority of selection committee criteria categories, including RPI ranking. The other compelling seeding contest is between George Mason and Erskine for the No. 5 seed. A Conference Carolinas school has never earned anything higher than the No. 6 seed. The Flying Fleet, though, hold the advantage against the Patriots in the majority of criteria categories. In addition, the Conference Carolinas finished with a higher conference RPI than the EIVA.