Men’s volleyball bracketology

With the men’s volleyball Final Four less than two months away, Off the Block each week for the rest of the season will release its projected NCAA Tournament bracket.

The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is comprised of four teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the EIVA, MIVA and MPSF conference tournaemnts, and the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee chooses one team for an at-large bid.

The three-person men’s volleyball committee typically meets following all of the conference tournaments to select the at-large team. While the committee evaluates multiple factors, the 2010 committee chairman Brian Summers said last year that two factors usually carrying the most weight are head-to-head results among the teams in contention and results against common opponents.

The men’s volleyball championship tournament has remained a four-team field since the sport became NCAA sanctioned in 1970.

In recent years, though, there has been a growing possibility of NCAA Tournament expanding to eight teams. This also might become more likely with the Conference Carolinas qualifying for automatic bid to the tournament starting in 2014.

As a result of this potential tournament format change, Off the Block will also project this year’s NCAA Tournament if it expanded to eight teams with four automatic conference bids and four at-large bids.


The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament will take place May 5-7 in University Park, Pa.

Projected Final Four

No. 1 seed USC (15-1, 14-1 MPSF) vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (17-5, 7-0 EIVA)
No. 2 seed Stanford* (14-5, 11-4 MPSF) vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State (16-2, 9-0 MIVA)

Last four out
BYU (14-7, 10-6 MPSF)
UC Irvine (12-10, 9-7 MPSF)
Hawai’i (12-9, 10-6 MPSF)
UC Santa Barbara (12-9, 9-7 MPSF)

Final Four comments
Stanford gets the at-large bid because of its 6-1 record against the last four out teams, including winning both matches against BYU. In addition, the Cardinal are in second place in the MPSF and have a signature road non-conference victory against Loyola. USC, Penn State and Ohio State all receive the automatic bids from their conferences.

If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams

No. 1 seed USC (15-1, 14-1 MPSF) vs. No. 8 seed Lees-McRae (14-7, 4-1 Conference Carolinas)
No. 2 seed Stanford* (14-5, 11-4 MPSF) vs. No. 7 seed Hawai’i* (12-9, 10-6 MPSF)
No. 3 seed Ohio State (16-2, 9-0 MIVA) vs. No. 6 seed UC Irvine* (12-10, 9-7 MPSF)
No. 4 seed BYU* (14-7, 10-6 MPSF) vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (17-5, 7-0 EIVA)

Last four out
UC Santa Barbara (12-9, 9-7 MPSF)
UCLA (13-9, 6-8 MPSF)
Loyola (15-5, 5-1 MIVA)
Lewis (15-6, 3-2 MIVA)

UC Irvine and Hawai’i have picked up enough quality wins in recent weeks to move ahead of UC Santa Barbara as the last two at-large teams to make the tournament. Lees-McRae is in second place in the Conference Carolinas, but since almost upsetting Penn State it is on a six match winning streak and has an upcoming match against first-place Mount Olive. Lewis is the final team of the last four out and moved ahead of Long Beach State after winning a road non-conference match against the 49ers last week.

*Indicates at-large bid

5 Replies to “Men’s volleyball bracketology”

  1. How can Santa Barbara be in your Last Four Out in the initial field, but still be in the Last Four Out if the field expanded to eight? And Lees-McRae is in your eight-team field, so wouldn’t they be one of your initial Last Four out?

    1. Good question and let me offer some clarification. Lees-McRae would get the automatic bid from the Conference Carolinas. As a result, there would be three additional at-large teams. So in essence the top three teams from the last four out would be in the expanded eight-team tournament.

      UC Santa Barbara has a great team this season and would beat Lees-McRae if they met head-to-head. However, for the expanded field I made it as if the Conference Carolinas would get an automatic bid, of course that won’t happen until 2014.

  2. Hahaha at “COMMON SENSE” post.

    It makes pretty much sense. Three at large spots. The original top (3) of the last four out make it in. Santa Barbara was listed as 4. Therefore they are now the last team out.

    Common sense.

    USC student with some.. lol

  3. Just look out for Lees McRae in a couple years their freshmen class is amazing for such a small D2 school and they have so much time to grow, look out if they all stay for all 4 years

  4. Lees has two seniors running the show. MOC has huge underclass also playing with no seniors. Not sure how you dismiss MOC from your fantasy brackets but they hold 1 game lead over LMC with 2 to go, already clinched a berth in championship, and have beaten LMC four straight times including a sweep earlier. LMC has great late season and it’s a toss up but not sure of your logic here

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