Bracketology numbers and notes to know for this weekend

More than two months until Selection Sunday but there already is plenty of intrigue starting to form with the bracketology.

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 five-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 Division I-II members this season.

Conference Record Winning Pct.
1. Big West 43-18 .705
2. MIVA 44-30 .595
3. MPSF 29-26 .527
4. EIVA 30-36 .455
5. ConfCarolinas 11-23 .349

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.

Team Projected Current
1. UC Santa Barbara .661 .673
2. UC Irvine .642 .621
3. CSUN .642 .481
4. Hawai’i .635 .545
5. Stanford .628 .667
6. BYU .624 .688
7. Pepperdine .621 .581
T-8. Concordia-Irvine .615 .612
T-8. Long Beach State .615 .525
10. UCLA .615 .620

Seven is the magic number

The average number of regular season losses for the teams to earn the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is 6.4 during the last five years. USC last year with nine losses had the most losses for any team to earn an at-large bid since the NCAA Tournament expanded from four teams in 2014.

Top-10 ranked teams with two or fewer losses
No. 1/2 Hawai’i (14-0)
No. 2/1 BYU (14-0)
No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara (9-2)
No. 4/4 Long Beach State (7-1)

Top-10 ranked teams with three or more losses
No. 5/5 Lewis (10-4)
No. 6/6 UC Irvine (7-5)
No. 6/7 Pepperdine (6-3)
No. 8/8 UCLA (7-6)
No. 9/9 Penn State (6-6)
No. 10/10 UC San Diego (11-3)

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 UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m. Friday Pepperdine is still in the hunt for an at-large bid but has yet to beat a team that will likely be under NCAA Tournament consideration. UC Santa Barbara also has chance to widen the conference’s RPI gap between the Big West and MPSF
UC Irvine at UC San Diego 7 p.m. Friday UC Irvine is coming off of a loss to UC San Diego and is on the verge of falling out of serious contention for an at-large bid.
Penn State at Harvard 4 p.m. Saturday Penn State remains the only undefeated team in EIVA play. If Penn State can eventually win the EIVA, it would benefit teams like UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State that beat the Nittany Lions.