BYU, Hawai’i earn at-large bids to NCAA Tournament

NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

The MPSF in its final season be splitting up will be well represented at the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

The NCAA announced Sunday afternoon that BYU and Hawai’i earned the two at-large bids to the men’s volleyball Division I-II NCAA Tournament.

The six-team NCAA Tournament field is comprised of four teams that earned conference automatic bids — Barton, Long Beach State, Ohio State and Barton — and the two at-large bids. In addition, both the at-large bid teams will compete in the two play-in matches on Tuesday, May 2 at Ohio State.

BYU will play the Conference Carolinas champion Barton in its play-in match.

The Cougars finished the regular season winning a share of the MPSF regular season title and were No. 1 in the RPI rankings. BYU, though, suffered a loss to Hawai’i in conference tournament semifinals.

Barton is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The Bulldogs are on a nine-match winning streak and in the nation’s top five with both a .325 attack percentage and a 1.91 aces per game average.

Hawai’i will play the EIVA champions Penn State in a rematch of the 2015 NCAA Tournament play-in match, which the Nittany Lions won.

The Rainbow Warriors finished the regular season undefeated at home to finish in third place in the MPSF and advanced to the conference tournament finals. Hawai’i also earned the final at-large bid ahead of UC Irvine because it held the advantage in several selection committee criteria categories, including head-to-head record and RPI ranking.

Penn State after a one-year absence from the NCAA Tournament is back into the field after sweeping both its matches in the EIVA Tournament. The Nittany Lions have now reached 18 of the last 20 NCAA Tournaments.

Along with the play-in matches, Ohio State and Long Beach State earned the top-two seeds and byes to the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday, May 4.

The defending NCAA champion Buckeyes earned the No. 1 overall seed after winning the MIVA Tournament championship on Saturday to finish the year undefeated in conference play. Ohio State also held an advantage compared to Long Beach State in many of the criteria categories such as head-to-head record, RPI ranking and overall win-loss record.

All five matches of the NCAA Tournament will be played in Columbus, Ohio at St. John Area. The championship event will conclude with the NCAA Tournament finals on Saturday, May 6.