What to know about NCAA Tournament selection process

Selection Sunday can be a confusing time for college men’s volleyball fans.

Here’s some of the nuances and things to know about the selection process for the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament.

Location not set for play-in matches
The NCAA entering Selection Sunday has yet to determine the location for both NCAA Tournament play-in matches. The two matches can be played on Tuesday, May 2 at Ohio State, the site of the NCAA Tournament, or they can take at on-campus locations next weekend. The NCAA will make the decision based on a variety of factors. If they are played at on-campus locations, the selection committee would determine the top two seeds that earn byes to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The match-ups for the remaining four schools could be determined not only by selection criteria but possibly by geography. The NCAA has opted to schedule play-in matches at the NCAA Tournament location every year since the field expanded to six teams in 2014.


What is used to determine the NCAA Tournament field
Four teams — Barton, Long Beach State, Ohio State and Penn State — are already in the NCAA Tournament because they won a conference automatic bid. The two at-large bids and NCAA Tournament seeding is determined by the following criteria:
— RPI ranking
— Strength of schedule
— Won-lost results
— Head-to-head competition
— Results versus non-conference opponents
— Home and away results
— Results against common opponents
— Results against teams already qualified and other teams under consideration
— Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.

What is not used to determine the NCAA Tournament field
Rankings such as AVCA coaches poll, the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. media poll and the Middle Hitter Pablo rankings are not part of the selection committee criteria and have no influence on the committee. The criteria for the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament also is different than the criteria for the women’s volleyball NCAA Tournament. Men’s volleyball does not use the criteria category of team’s record in the last 10 match.

Value of postseason and regular season match results
A result in the conference tournament has the same amount of weight as a match result in the regular season. There is no criteria category solely for postseason results in the current selection committee criteria model.

Selection committee members
The NCAA men’s volleyball committee is comprised of three members with each member representing a specific region. Ohio State Assistant Athletics Director Janine Oman is the Midwest Region representative and serves as the committee chair. NJIT Athletics Director Leonard Kaplan is the East Region representative. UC Irvine Executive Associate Athletics Director Paula Smith is the West Region representative.

Location of the committee meeting
Unlike the selection committees for the college football playoff or the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament, the men’s volleyball selection committee is not meeting in person to determine the bracket. The committee usually conducts their meetings via phone conference calls.

Who should fans not complain to about the selection results
USA Volleyball, AVCA and Off the Block have no role in the selection of teams for the NCAA Tournament. For anyone looking to vent, please go to popular volleyball online fan forum VolleyTalk.