Bracketology numbers and notes to know for this weekend

The halfway point of the season is here and there is plenty of bracketology to dissect.

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 a 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 45-19 .608
2. MIVA 44-30 .595
3. MPSF 30-28 .517
4. EIVA 30-36 .455
5. ConfCarolinas 17-30 .362

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 .652 .662
2. UC Irvine .650 .611
3. Hawai’i .628 .539
4. CSUN .625 .476
5. BYU .619 .628
6. UCLA .617 .644
7. Stanford .611 .577
8. Pepperdine .608 .629
9. UC San Diego .605 .534
10. Long Beach State .601 .510

SOS for projected teams under NCAA Tournament consideration

Team Projected Current
1. UC Santa Barbara .652 .662
3. Hawai’i .628 .539
5. BYU .619 .628
9. UC San Diego .605 .534
10. Long Beach State .601 .510
15. Penn State .585 .625
17. Lewis .567 .609
19. Grand Canyon .554 .597
35. Barton .466 .497

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 (15-0)
No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara (11-2)
No. 4/4 Long Beach State (8-1)

Top-10 ranked teams with three to six losses
No. 5/5 Lewis (12-4)
No. 6/6 UC San Diego (12-3)
No. 8/7 Grand Canyon (12-4)
No. 9/10 Pepperdine (6-3)
No. 10/8 Penn State (9-6)

Top-10 ranked teams with seven or more losses
No. 7/9 UC Irvine (7-7)

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
Harvard at NJIT 6 p.m. Friday NJIT has shown it has the potential to be a bracket buster in the EIVA Tournament. However, it actually needs to make the four-team EIVA Tournament for that to happen. At 1-3 in conference play, the Highlanders can’t afford another home loss.
Grand Canyon at UC Irvine 7 p.m. Friday UC Irvine is out of at-large bid contention, but Grand Canyon needs this win, especially after losing to Concordia-Irvine on Thursday.
King at Barton 2 p.m. Saturday Barton remains the only undefeated team in ConfCarolinas play and can extend its first-place lead with a win against second-place King. The No. 1 seed has always won the ConfCarolinas Tournament since the conference started receiving a NCAA Tournament bid in 2014.
Long Beach State at UCLA 5 p.m. Saturday Long Beach State’s only loss this season was against UCLA. With six remaining matches against teams nationally ranked in the top six, a win will give the Beach some extra cushion in the at-large race entering that stretch of matches.