Bracketology: Latest NCAA Tournament projections

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 Sunday.

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)
Loyola (22-6)
Pepperdine (15-7)
Lewis (19-10)

Quick breakdown: There will be no MIVA team earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament this year. Loyola in Off the Block’s previous projections was slated as the final team to an at-large bid. However, the latest RPI rankings and strength of schedule rankings have altered the bracketology. Loyola, which already trailed UC Irvine, dropped behind Hawai’i in both of the selection committee criteria components. Based on all three teams’ projected conference tournament opponents, Loyola with another loss would be unable to overtake Hawai’i and UC Irvine in these critical criteria categories. The Ramblers, though, can still make the NCAA Tournament as an automatic qualifier if they win the MIVA Tournament. The possible Hawai’i and UC Irvine Big West Tournament semifinal match-up remains a defacto play-in match to NCAA Tournament and the right to the final at-large bid — barring any upsets in the MPSF Tournament semifinals or Long Beach State losing its Big West semifinal match. BYU remains projected as the No. 2 seed and will join the No. 1 seed Long Beach State with a bye to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. UCLA, though, can still earn the No. 2 seed if it beats BYU in the MPSF Tournament finals.