USC earns final at-large in unveiled NCAA Tournament bracket

For a team that opened the season with the motto of resurgence, USC has now officially resurged.

The Trojans earned the final at-large bid to the seven-team NCAA Tournament that was announced during the Selection Show on Sunday afternoon.

USC making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012 will play the MIVA champions Lewis in the opening-round match on Tuesday, April 30 at Long Beach State.

Despite suffering seven losses during the first two months of the season, the Trojans concluded the regular season winning nine of their final 11 matches. USC during that stretch had three victories against teams in the top 10 of the RPI to help it capitulate into better position for an at-large bid.

USC narrowly edged out UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara for the final at-large bid, according to the latest bracketology projections from Off the Block. The Trojans held an advantage or were tied in several selection criteria categories including overall record and record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration.

Along with USC, the defending national champions Long Beach State received the other at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Long Beach State will receive a bye to the semifinals but dropped to the No. 2 seed following a loss to Hawai’i in the Big West Tournament finals on Saturday. The Rainbow Warriors, which opened the season with a 74-set winning streak, will also have a bye to the semifinals and will be the top seed in the NCAA Tournament for one of the first times in its program history.

Hawai’i will play the winner of the USC versus Lewis opening-round match.

The other NCAA Tournament opening-round match will feature the MPSF champions Pepperdine and the winner of the play-in match between Barton and Princeton.

The two conference championship will compete in the play-in match on Thursday at Barton. This will be the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament that a ConfCarolinas school will play host to a match.

The play-in winner or Pepperdine will face the host school Long Beach State in the semifinals.

Long Beach State will be the host site for the opening round on Tuesday, April 30, the semifinals on Thursday, May 2 and the finals on Saturday, May 4.

NCAA Tournament bracket

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