Bracketology numbers and notes to know for this weekend

Now down to less than three months before the NCAA men’s volleyball committee meets to finalize the NCAA Tournament field, and the matches this weekend could have big implications on the bracketology.

Check out everything you need to know about the college men’s volleyball bracketology so far this season and for the upcoming matches this weekend.

Conference RPI

Non-conference results are what ultimately determine a conference’s RPI ranking. The ranking is based on a conference’s combined winning percentage against NCAA opponents. Every conference match results in one winner and one loser, which in terms of conference winning percentage means it’s always guaranteed to be at .500. As a result, non-conference results are the greatest influence on a conference’s RPI rankings. Teams also benefit in their RPI ranking if they play in a league with a strong conference RPI because during the conference season they have an increased opportunity to play against teams with winning records and high RPI rankings. Below are the non-conference records for each NCAA Division I-II conference against other NCAA members this season.

Conference Record Winning Pct.
1. Big West 37-10 .787
2. MIVA 31-16 .660
3. MPSF 29-22 .569
4. EIVA 16-30 .348
5. ConfCarolinas 9-30 .231

Strength of schedule

Strength of schedule is one of the criteria categories the selection committee uses to determine the NCAA Tournament field. In addition, a team’s strength of schedule is part of the formula used to determine the RPI rankings. Below are the teams projected to have the best strength of schedule at the end of the season. The projections are based on match results so far this season.

Projected strength of schedule (as of Jan. 31)
1. UC Santa Barbara
2. Hawai’i
3. McKendree
4. Lewis
5. Stanford
6. USC
7. Concordia-Irvine
8. UC San Diego
9. Quincy
10. UC Irvine

Record against teams under consideration

The category of record against other teams under consideration for the NCAA Tournament is a piece of criteria that historically has helped shape the NCAA Tournament field. Below are the records for some notable teams against teams under consideration, according to Off the Block’s latest bracketology projections.

Record vs. under consideration teams
Long Beach State (1-0)
UCLA (4-1)
UC Irvine (3-1)
Hawai’i (2-1)
BYU (3-3)
Loyola (1-1)
Ohio State (1-2)
Penn State (0-2)
Barton (0-3)

Six is the magic number

No team with more than six losses during the regular season has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to include two at-large bids in 2014.

Nationally ranked teams already with at least three losses
No. 6/6 BYU (5-3)
No. 8/8 Lewis (5-3)
No. 11 CSUN (5-3)
No. 13 USC (3-5)
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (3-3)

Big bracketology matches this weekend

Below are the matches to watch this weekend that could have big implications on the bracketology at the end of the season.

Match Start time Bracketology significance
Lewis vs. USC 7 p.m. Friday Lewis already has three losses and another early season non-conference loss would remove the Flyers from realistic contention for an at-large bid.
BYU vs. UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m. Friday & Saturday The MPSF desperately needs some non-conference wins to improve its conference RPI. Plus, BYU is in the same situation as Lewis with losses already.
Fort Wayne vs. Penn State 4 p.m. Friday Fort Wayne is undefeated but currently not projected among the teams under consideration for an at-large bid. A road victory against Penn State could begin to change that.
UC Irvine vs. UCLA 7 p.m. Saturday UCLA already beat UC Irvine this season. Another victory would secure UCLA the edge against UC Irvine in the selection committee criteria category of head-to-head record. The winner also will improve its standing in the criteria category of record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration.
Loyola vs. USC 7 p.m. Saturday The Ramblers have built a strong resume for possible at-large bid. A home win would continue to strengthen that resume and help further separate the MIVA from the MPSF in the conference RPI rankings.