It’s never too early to start looking at the numbers that will be used to determine the NCAA Tournament field.
With the second month of the season here, the matches this weekend could have big implications on the bracketology and the selection committee determining the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season.
Check out everything you need to know about the college men’s volleyball bracketology so far this season and for the upcoming matches this weekend.
Selection committee criteria categories
The three-person NCAA men’s volleyball committee uses nine criteria categories to determine the two at-large bid teams and seeding for the entire seven-team NCAA Tournament. The committee has the discretion to decide what categories, if any, will have an greater significance when determining the NCAA Tournament. Below the criteria categories.
— RPI ranking
— Strength of schedule
— Won-lost results
— Head-to-head competition
— Results versus non-conference opponents
— Home and away results
— Results against common opponents
— Results against teams already qualified and other teams under consideration
— Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.
Non-conference results are what ultimately determine a conference’s RPI ranking. The ranking is based on a conference’s combined winning percentage against NCAA opponents. Every conference match results in one winner and one loser, which in terms of conference winning percentage means it’s always guaranteed to be at .500. As a result, non-conference results are the greatest influence on a conference’s RPI rankings. Teams also benefit in their RPI ranking if they play in a league with a strong conference RPI because during the conference season they have an increased opportunity to play against teams with winning records and high RPI rankings. Below are the non-conference records for each NCAA Division I-II conference against other NCAA members this season.
|1. Big West||32-14||.696|
Strength of schedule
Strength of schedule is one of the criteria categories the selection committee uses to determine the NCAA Tournament field. In addition, a team’s strength of schedule is part of the formula used to determine the RPI rankings. Below are the teams projected to have the best strength of schedule at the end of the season. The projections are based on match results so far this season.
Projected end of season strength of schedule (as of Jan. 29 per NCAA database)
2. UC Irvine
3. Grand Canyon
6. UC Santa Barbara
8. UC San Diego
Six is the magic number
Only once has a team with more than six regular season losses earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to include two at-large bids in 2014.
Top-10 ranked teams with two or fewer losses
No. 1/1 Long Beach State (7-0)
No. 2/2 Hawai’i (3-0)
No. 3/3 BYU (4-0)
No. 4/4 UC Irvine (8-2)
No. 5/5 UCLA (7-2)
No. 6/7 Pepperdine (6-2)
No. 8/8 Stanford (7-1)
Top-10 ranked teams with three or more losses
No. 7/6 Loyola (6-3)
No. 9/9 UC Santa Barbara (7-3)
No. 10/10 Lewis (6-3)
Big bracketology matches this weekend
Below are the matches to watch this weekend that could have big implications on the bracketology at the end of the season.
|Match||Start time||Bracketology significance|
|BYU at UC Santa Barbara||7 p.m. Friday and Saturday||Two wins for BYU will not only bolster its resume but hurt the conference RPI of the Big West. The MPSF needs as many wins as possible versus the Big West to prevent the Big West from getting both at-large bids|
|Stanford at Hawai’i||7 p.m. Saturday||See above about the importance of MPSF versus Big West match-ups this weekend. Plus, this is the first big test for Hawai’i this season.|
|ULCA at Lewis||7 p.m. Saturday||Lewis is facing a must-win to still have any hope of an at-large bid at the end of the year.|
|Loyola at Penn State||4 p.m. Saturday||Head-to-head historically has mattered. This match could mean a lot on Selection Sunday if Loyola and Penn State win their conferences|