The conference tournament semifinals have created mayhem to NCAA Tournament bracketology as three teams could still potentially land the at-large bid heading into Conference Championship 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.
Off the Block since starting its bracketology in 2011 has accurately projected every team in the NCAA Tournament and all the semifinal matches.
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 as the Conference Carolinas receive an automatic bid to the tournament starting next season. However, true bracket expansion of the tournament won’t talk place until 2016 at the earliest because of an NCAA budget freeze.
As a result of this potential tournament format change in future years, 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 NCAA Tournament will take place May 2-4 at UCLA.
PROJECTED FINAL FOUR
No. 1 seed BYU (24-4) vs. No. 4 seed Lewis (20-9)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (23-7)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (22-7)
LAST FOUR OUT
Long Beach State (24-7)
Ball State (21-5)
Quick breakdown: The big debate for the next 72 hours will be whether UC Irvine or Long Beach State deserves the at-large bid if BYU wins the MPSF Tournament. Despite losing to Long Beach State in the conference tournament semifinals, UC Irvine in the latest projections still has the advantage over Long Beach State because of its overall season head-to-head record and its better record against teams being considered for the NCAA Tournament. However, Long Beach State could be helped in the race for the at-large bid if Loyola and Harvard win their conference championships because it would improve the 49ers record against teams being considered for the NCAA Tournament.
IF NCAA TOURNAMENT EXPANDED TO 8 TEAMS
No. 1 seed BYU (24-4) vs. No. 8 seed Pfeiffer (17-8)
No. 2 seed UC Irvine (23-7)* vs. No. 7 seed Loyola (21-9)*
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (24-7)* vs. No. 6 seed Lewis (20-9)
No. 4 seed UCLA (21-11)* vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (22-7)
LAST FOUR OUT
Ball State (21-6)
Quick breakdown: Ball State bouncing out the eight-team field following its conference tournament semifinal loss is the biggest change in this week’s bracketology. In addition, both Loyola and Lewis would have likely assured themselves spots in the tournament regardless of who wins their MIVA Tournament championship match on Saturday.
*Indicates at-large bid