The race for the at-large bids is one of the tightest in recent college men’s volleyball history — making the bracketology all the more critical and challenging.
Off the Block each week during the rest of the regular season and throughout each round of the postseason will unveil its latest projections to the NCAA Tournament.
The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is comprised of six teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the Conference Carolinas, EIVA, MIVA and MPSF conference tournaments, and the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee chooses two teams for at-large bids.
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 had a four-team field since the sport became NCAA sanctioned in 1970. However, the NCAA expanded the tournament in the off-season as it added one more at-large bid an awarded an automatic bid to the Conference Carolinas.
With this new format, the top two overall seeds will earn byes to the NCAA Tournament semifinals, while the four remains seeds will compete in the inaugural play-in matches.
The NCAA Tournament will begin with the two play-in matches on April 29 at Loyola. In addition, the NCAA Tournament semifinals and finals will take place May 1-3 at Loyola.
PROJECTED NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
No. 1 seed Loyola (19-1) — bye to the semifinals
No. 2 seed BYU (15-4) — bye to the semifinals
No. 3 seed Pepperdine (14-5)* vs. No. 6 seed Erskine (15-6)
No. 4 seed Long Beach State (15-6)* vs. Penn State (15-5)
LAST FOUR OUT
UC Santa Barbara (13-6)
Ball State (17-5)
Quick breakdown: There were subtle but significant changes to the newest bracketology. Pepperdine after defeating Long Beach State last week jumped ahead of the 49ers and into the No. 3 seed. Long Beach State despite its two losses last week continues to hold the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The gap, though, has significantly closed between the 49ers and the last four out teams. In addition, USC, UC Irvine and UCLA are not listed in the last four out, but all still have a chance at an at-large bid with a strong finish to their regular seasons. Along with the at-large race, Loyola baring a complete end of the season collapse has a chance to lock-up the No. 1 overall seed if it can beat Ball State and IPFW in conference play this week.