One-third of the regular season is in the books and the bracketology only continues to ramp up from 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||44-16||.733|
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 Feb. 7 per NCAA database)
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. UC Irvine
3. Grand Canyon
7. Grand Canyon
9. 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 (10-0)
No. 2/2 Hawai’i (6-0)
No. 3/3 UC Irvine (11-2)
No. 4/4 UCLA (9-2)
No. 5/5 Pepperdine (7-2)
Top-10 ranked teams with three or more losses
No. 6/6 UC Santa Barbara (9-3)
No. 7/8 BYU (4-3)
No. 8/7 Loyola (7-3)
No. 9/9 Stanford (7-4)
No. 10/10 Lewis (7-4)
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 UCLA||7 p.m. Saturday||BYU is teetering on the verge of falling out of at-large bid contention. A UCLA win also would drop BYU to 0-2 in the MPSF and make even more difficult for the Cougars to have home court in the postseason.|
|Hawai’i at Queens||2:30 p.m. Saturday||The selection committee showed last year it cared a lot about the Rainbow Warriors’ road record. This is one of 10 road matches for Hawai’i this season.|
|Stanford at Pepperdine||7 p.m. Friday||Stanford likely won’t be in the running for an at-large bid at the end of the season, but Pepperdine is very much in the hunt and can’t afford a home conference loss.|
|UC Santa Barbara vs. Penn State||5 p.m. Saturday||Yes, it’s the second month of the season and UC Santa Barbara is still hanging around in at-large bid contention.|