Bracketology numbers and notes to know for this weekend

Just seven 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.

Conference RPI

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.

Conference Record Winning Pct.
1. Big West 57-20 .740
2. MPSF 35-28 .556
3. MIVA 37-35 .514
4. ConfCarolinas 19-28 .404
5. EIVA 23-38 .377

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 6 per NCAA database)
1. UC Irvine
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. Pepperdine
5. Grand Canyon
6. UC San Diego
7. Concordia-Irvine
8. USC
9. BYU
10. Stanford

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 (15-0)
No. 2/2 Hawai’i (12-0)

Top-10 ranked teams with three to five losses
No. 3/3 UC Irvine (13-4)
No. 4/4 UC Santa Barbara (14-3)
No. 5/5 UCLA (14-4)
No. 6/6 Pepperdine (11-4)
No. 7/7 Lewis (14-4)
No. 9/9 Loyola (13-4)
No. 10/10 BYU (8-5)

Top-10 ranked teams with six or more five losses
No. 8/8 Stanford (12-6)

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
Pepperdine at Hawai’i 7 p.m. Saturday The head-to-head category could come back to haunt the Waves. Already with a loss to UC Irvine, Pepperdine needs this win to bolster its at-large hopes.
UC Irvine at BYU 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday BYU’s at-large hopes are already dim and UC Irvine getting a series sweep could end those hopes. However, two wins by BYU could bring UC Irvine closer to the rest of the field in the race for the final at-large bid.
Lewis at Princeton 7 p.m. Saturday Both Lewis and Princeton are in first place in their conferences. This head-to-head result could play a big role on Selection Sunday for NCAA Tournament bracket placement if both teams win their conferences
Emmanuel at Charleston 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday The EIVA has the worst non-conference winning percentage. It desperately needs non-conference wins to avoid having the lowest conference RPI. Wins against ConfCarolinas are valuable given that this is likely the only conference the EIVA can surpass in these categories.