With selection Sunday upon us, Off Block is releasing its final projections of the NCAA Tournament bracket after Ohio State, Penn State and UC Santa Barbara won their conference championships Saturday.
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 tournaments, 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 and the tournament seeding. For an in-depth look at the criteria used by the selection committee, check out this breakdown.
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 the NCAA Tournament expanding to eight teams. This also might become more likely with the Conference Carolinas qualifying for an 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 Thursday and Saturday in University Park, Pa.
Projected Final Four
No. 1 seed USC (23-3)* vs. No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara (17-14)
No. 2 seed Ohio State (24-6) vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (24-6)
Last four out
UC Irvine (19-12)
UC Santa Barbara is taking the greatest underdog postseason run in NCAA men’s volleyball history to University Park, Pa. However, don’t expect the Gauchos to be higher than the No. 4 seed, which would set up a MPSF championship re-match against USC in the semifinals. Ohio State and Penn State both lead UC Santa Barbara almost every criteria category the selection committee uses to determine the seeding.
If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams
No. 1 seed USC (23-3)* vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (20-7)
No. 2 seed Ohio State (24-6) vs. No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (17-14)
No. 3 seed Penn State (24-6) vs. No. 6 UC Irvine (19-11)*
No. 4 seed Stanford (19-9)* vs. No. 5 seed BYU (20-8)*
Last four out
Long Beach State (15-14)
UC Santa Barbara upset victory in the MPSF Tournament took away an at-large bid for Hawai’i, which now moves to the last four out. Despite losing in the conference championship match, USC remains the No. 1 overall seed for having the three fewer losses than any team in the nation and winning the MPSF regular season title.
*Indicates at-large bid