Bracketology: Latest NCAA Tournament projections

Off the Block 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.

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 (21-8)
Loyola (23-6)
Pepperdine (15-8)
Lewis (19-11)

Quick breakdown: Everything is now set up for a defacto play-in match to the NCAA Tournament on Friday. UC Irvine swept UC San Diego in the Big West Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday and will play Hawai’i in the semifinals. With the bracketology numbers so close between the Rainbow Warriors and Anteaters, the winner of this semifinal match will have the edge for the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The only likely way the winner of this semifinal match does not make the NCAA Tournament is if CSUN runs the table to win the Big West Tournament. Along with this defacto play-in match, the MPSF Tournament finals is the defacto match to determine the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Both UCLA and BYU enter the conference finals in ideal position for an at-large bid if they lose. The winner of that match, though, will gain an advantage in enough criteria categories to get a top-two seed and a bye into the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The other intriguing bracketology battle is if the ConfCarolians champion or the EIVA champion will get the No. 6 seed and right to host the NCAA Tournament play-in match. Both George Mason and Penn State losing in the EIVA Tournament semifinals have opened the possibility of a ConfCarolinas host site. King and Barton, the top-two seeds for the ConfCarolinas Tournament, hold an advantage against Princeton and Harvard in the overwhelming majority of selection committee criteria categories. It should also be noted that this projection has Harvard and King slated in the play-in match because those are the two highest seeded teams remaining in their conference tournaments.