Bracketology: Selection Sunday NCAA Tournament projections

Selection Sunday has arrived along with the season’s final Off the Block NCAA Tournament projections.

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 at noon (CST) on the NCAA website.

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
Loyola (23-7)
UC Irvine (21-9)
Pepperdine (15-8)
Lewis (19-11)

Quick breakdown: It came down to the final days leading up to Selection Sunday, but Hawai’i was able to overtake UC Irvine and Loyola for the final at-large bid. The Rainbow Warriors following their victory against the Anteaters in the Big West Tournament semifinals now hold the edge in the overwhelming majority of selection committee criteria categories when the two teams are compared to each other. Loyola enters Selection Sunday with a slight advantage against Hawai’i in the majority of criteria categories. However, the Rainbow Warriors hold the edge in historically some of the most important criteria categories — RPI ranking and strength of schedule. UCLA despite its loss in the MPSF Tournament finals is still projected to earn the first at-large bid and be the No. 3 seed. Both Long Beach State and BYU to go along with their conference tournament championships are projected to be top two seeds and receive byes to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Along with the at-large bid race, the other intriguing bracketology race is whether Harvard or King will receive the No. 6 seed. With the new seven-team NCAA Tournament this year, the No. 6 seed and No. 7 seed will meet in a play-in match next week with the No. 6 seed having home court advantage. Off the Block is projecting King to be the No. 6 seed and play host to Harvard next weekend in Bristol, Tennessee. King holds the advantage against Harvard in the majority of selection committee criteria, including RPI ranking and overall record. A ConfCarolinas school, though, has never been the higher seed in a NCAA Tournament match since the conference starting receiving an automatic bid in 2014.