Bracketology numbers and notes to know for this weekend

The second month of the season is underway, and the matches this weekend could have big implications on the bracketology and the selection committee determining the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season.

Check out everything you need to know about the college men’s volleyball bracketology so far this season and for the upcoming matches this weekend.

Conference RPI

Non-conference results are what ultimately determine a conference’s RPI ranking. The ranking is based on a conference’s combined winning percentage against NCAA opponents. Every conference match results in one winner and one loser, which in terms of conference winning percentage means it’s always guaranteed to be at .500. As a result, non-conference results are the greatest influence on a conference’s RPI rankings. Teams also benefit in their RPI ranking if they play in a league with a strong conference RPI because during the conference season they have an increased opportunity to play against teams with winning records and high RPI rankings. Below are the non-conference records for each NCAA Division I-II conference against other NCAA members this season.

Conference Record Winning Pct.
1. Big West 42-14 .750
2. MIVA 39-20 .661
3. MPSF 37-27 .578
4. EIVA 22-36 .379
5. ConfCarolinas 10-34 .227

Strength of schedule

Strength of schedule is one of the criteria categories the selection committee uses to determine the NCAA Tournament field. In addition, a team’s strength of schedule is part of the formula used to determine the RPI rankings. Below are the teams projected to have the best strength of schedule at the end of the season. The projections are based on match results so far this season.


Projected strength of schedule (as of Feb. 7)
1. Hawai’i
2. UC Santa Barbara
3. USC
4. Concordia-Irvine
5. Quincy
6. Lewis
7. UC Irvine
8. McKendree
9. Stanford
10. BYU

Record against teams under consideration

The category of record against other teams under consideration for the NCAA Tournament is a piece of criteria that historically has helped shape the NCAA Tournament field. Below are the records for some notable teams against teams under consideration, according to Off the Block’s latest bracketology projections.

Record vs. under consideration teams
Long Beach State (2-0)
UCLA (5-1)
Hawai’i (2-1)
UC Irvine (4-2)
Ohio State (1-2)
Loyola (1-2)
BYU (3-3)
Lewis (0-3)
Penn State (0-2)
Barton (0-3)

Six is the magic number

No team with more than six losses during the regular season has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to include two at-large bids in 2014.

Nationally ranked teams already with at least three losses
No. 7/7 BYU (6-4)
No. 8/8 Lewis (6-3)
No. 12 CSUN (6-4)
No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (4-4)
No. 14 USC (3-7)

Big bracketology matches this weekend

Below are the matches to watch this weekend that could have big implications on the bracketology at the end of the season.

Match Start time Bracketology significance
Ohio State vs. Ball State 7 p.m. Thursday With five losses already, Ball State is out of realistic contention for an at-large bid. The Cardinals, though, can put a huge damper on the at-large hopes of other MIVA teams if they begin to pull off some upsets in conference play.
Barton vs. George Mason 7 p.m. Friday Both teams are more than capable of winning their conferences this season. This non-conference match-up could go a long way in determining their seeding if they both reach NCAA Tournament.
UCLA vs. Grand Canyon 6 p.m. Saturday Grand Canyon is the only team in the nation with at least 10 wins and not considered in contention for at-large bid. That narrative will change significantly if the Antelopes at home can upset the Bruins.
Loyola vs. Lindenwood 7 p.m. Saturday The last time these two teams met unranked Lindenwood upset Loyola for one of its first victories of the 2017 season. Loyola likely can’t afford any upset losses and remain in serious contention for an at-large bid.