Off the Block each week throughout 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. The field for the NCAA Tournament is scheduled to be released during Selection Sunday on April 22.
The NCAA Tournament will begin with 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 TEAMS OUT
UC Irvine (20-8)
Breakdown: These latest NCAA Tournament projections are based on incomplete data because the new RPI and strength of schedule rankings will not be released until Monday. Based on the results from this weekend, though, the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament has become a three-team race among Hawai’i, Loyola and UC Irvine — assuming there are no more upsets in the conference tournaments. The possible Anteaters and Rainbow Warriors match-up in the Big West Tournament semifinals will be a defacto elimination match from the at-large bid race. If UC Irvine wins that match, it will secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament given its RPI ranking, strength of schedule and head-to-head victories against Loyola and Hawai’i during the opening week of the season. A Hawai’i win in the semifinals, though, opens the possibility for Loyola to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid. The Ramblers and Rainbow Warriors did not play this season and the other selection committee criteria categories would be used to determine the at-large bid. Loyola, if it makes to to the MIVA Tournament finals, will likely hold the edge against Hawai’i in the criteria categories of RPI and record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration. The Rainbow Warriors, though, would have the edge in strength of schedule and are from the Big West, which had the nation’s top conference RPI. The ConfCarolinas Tournament also may play a role in this possible at-large bid match-up between Hawai’i and Loyola. Hawai’i had a non-conference victory against Barton in the regular season, while Loyola defeated King. Both King and Barton were the co-ConfCarolinas regular season champions, and if either of them wins the conference tournament it will change the dynamic of the teams under NCAA Tournament consideration category for Hawai’i and Loyola. Unlike Loyola, the defending NCAA champions Ohio State does not have a likely chance of an at-large bid and will need to win the MIVA Tournament to defend its title. Long Beach State despite its loss to Hawai’i during the weekend will continue to be the No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament, even if it loses in its conference tournament. In addition, BYU and UCLA are both projected to make the NCAA Tournament unless USC or Concordia-Irvine wins the MPSF Tournament.