Bracketology: Latest NCAA Tournament projections

The first bracketology and NCAA Tournament projections have arrived.

Off the Block each week during the rest of the regular season and throughout each round of the postseason will unveil its latest detailed projections to the NCAA Tournament.

The men’s volleyball Division I-II NCAA Tournament is comprised of seven teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the Big West, ConfCarolinas, 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 field for the NCAA Tournament is scheduled to be released during Selection Sunday on April 22.

The NCAA Tournament will begin a play-in match and then two first-round matches. The top-two seeds will receive byes to the semifinals and will play the winners from the first round.

Off the Block is in its eighth season of college men’s volleyball bracketology. In previous seasons, Off the Block has accurately projected more than 95 percent of the teams making the NCAA Tournament field.

PROJECTED NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD


FIRST FOUR OUT
UC Irvine (14-5)
Ohio State (13-4)
Pepperdine (10-6)
Lewis (14-7)

Quick breakdown: Five weeks before Selection Sunday, and Long Beach State has already locked up the No. 1 seed, unless it has some unforeseen epic meltdown in the second half of the season. BYU following its victory against Hawai’i during weekend jumps ahead of the Rainbow Warriors for the No. 2 seed and bye to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. However, Hawai’i remains in solid position for an at-large bid. It also has a chance to bolster several selection committee criteria categories with late-season matches versus Long Beach State. UCLA continues to hold the edge against UC Irvine for the final at-large bid because of its higher projected RPI ranking and winning both matches between the teams this season. One of the most compelling races in the bracketology that may receive little nationwide coverage is the battle for the No. 6 seed. With the expanded seven-team tournament field this year, the play-in match between the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds is the only match guaranteed to be played at an on-campus location. Barton if it wins the ConfCarolinas has a case based on the criteria to be the No. 6 seed and host that play-in match. However, it will likely need help from the rest of the ConfCarolinas win the majority of its remaining non-conference matches and surpass the EIVA in the conference RPI rankings. Regardless of the ConfCarolians team, every remaining non-conference match is critical for Barton’s chances to host.