Just six weeks remain until Selection Sunday and there remains plenty of bracketology intrigue.
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||67-24||.736|
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 March 13 per NCAA database)
1. UC Irvine
4. UC Santa Barbara
6. UC San Diego
7. Grand Canyon
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 (18-0)
No. 2/2 Hawai’i (15-0)
Top-10 ranked teams with three to four losses
No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara (15-4)
No. 7/7 Lewis (16-4)
Top-10 ranked teams with five or six losses
No. 4/4 UCLA (16-5)
No. 5/5 UC Irvine (14-6)
No. 6/6 Pepperdine (15-5)
No. 11/10 Loyola (13-6)
No. 9/9 BYU (10-6)
Top-10 ranked teams with more than six losses
No. 8/8 Stanford (13-8)
No. 10/10 USC (11-8)
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|
|Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara||7 p.m. Saturday||With all the recent losses from UC Irvine and Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara is now the front-runner for the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. A win against the 49ers could go a long way on Selection Sunday.|
|George Mason at Grand Canyon||7 p.m. Friday and Saturday||The EIVA has the worst non-conference winning percentage, which doesn’t bode well for the RPI. The EIVA needs wins avoid having the worst conference RPI in the nation.|
|Pepperdine at BYU||7 p.m. Saturday||With two wins against UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine still has a case for an at-large bid. A win here also puts Pepperdine in position to possibly surpass UCLA for the MPSF regular season title and home court in the MPSF Tournament.|
|UCLA at Stanford||7:30 p.m. Saturday||UCLA’s remaining schedule has the weakest strength of schedule rating in the MPSF. A road win here and UCLA could be in a good position for the final stretch of the season.|