The bracket size and location for every NCAA Tournament match is now finalize for the upcoming season.
The NCAA released a memo on Thursday that sated the 2024 men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament field will be eight teams with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals all taking place at Long Beach State.
The expanded NCAA Tournament field from seven to eight teams was a result of the SIAC earlier in the offseason being awarded an automatic bid. The SIAC joins the Big West, ConfCarolinas, EIVA, MIVA and MPSF as automatic bid conferences.
The number at-large bids will remain at two teams – the same amount of at-large bids since the initial NCAA Tournament expansion in 2014.
The eight-teams format will feature four quarterfinal matches with every team having to compete in the quarterfinals.
The seven-team format of the NCAA Tournament had the top-two seeds receiving byes to the semifinals. The new format also eliminates the first opening round match – a de facto play-in match with the winner advancing to the opening round.
Long Beach State was already slated to play host to the semifinals and finals the first week in May. However, the decision to play the quarterfinals at the same venue prevents geography from being a factor in determining the quarterfinal matchups.
Quarterfinal matches being played at on-campus locations could have created the possibility of regionals with matches determined on schools proximity to other NCAA Tournament opponents. The NCAA men’s volleyball committee in recent years has successfully advocated for all tournament matches to be played at the same venue in order to preserve bracket integrity.
Along with expansion to eight teams for next season, future NCAA Tournament expansion is still slated to occur.
The NCAA has already approved expansion to 12 teams pending the budget that would enable it to increase the tournament field.
The expansion to the NCAA Tournament has coincided with the recent increased growth in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball. More than 20 schools have added a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team in the last 10 years.