Bracketology: Off the Block’s latest NCAA Tournament projections

Off the Block each week throughout the rest of the regular season and during the postseason will unveil its latest detailed projections to the NCAA Tournament.

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 during Selection Sunday on April 21.

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 ninth season of providing college men’s volleyball bracketology.

PROJECTED NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD


FIRST-FOUR TEAMS OUT
UC Santa Barbara (17-5)
USC (15-9)
UC Irvine (14-9)
Loyola (17-7)

Quick breakdown: BYU dropping out of at-large bid contention is devastating to UC Santa Barbara’s at-large bid hopes. With the two victories against the Cougars no longer counting towards the record against teams under consideration category, the Gauchos drop to 2-5 in this critical criteria category. UC Santa Barbara will likely need to finish at least 2-2 in its remaining matches against Hawai’i and UC Irvine to surpass UCLA in the at-large bid race. Pepperdine is projected to reach the NCAA Tournament as the MPSF champions, but even if they lose in the conference tournament the Waves will likely hold the edge against the Gauchos for an at-large bid. The play-in match remains to likely feature two West Coast teams because of the NCAA’s 400-mile travel policy. Road teams for the NCAA Tournament have the option to fly at the NCAA expense if their match venue is located more than 400 miles away. If the match is less than 400 miles, the NCAA will only reimburse the road team’s travel expenses for driving. Pepperdine and UCLA would be the only non-top-two seeds teams within 400 miles of each other. This all-West Coast play-in match projection will continue to hold unless George Mason wins the EIVA.