Bracketology numbers and notes to know for this weekend

It’s officially March and that means there is now less than two months before Selection Sunday.

With the second half of the season beginning, 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.

Selection committee criteria categories

The three-person NCAA men’s volleyball committee uses nine criteria categories to determine the two at-large bid teams and seeding for the entire seven-team NCAA Tournament. The committee has the discretion to decide what categories, if any, will have an greater significance when determining the NCAA Tournament. Below the criteria categories.

— RPI ranking
— Strength of schedule
— Won-lost results
— Head-to-head competition
— Results versus non-conference opponents
— Home and away results
— Results against common opponents
— Results against teams already qualified and other teams under consideration
— Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.


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 49-20 .710
2. MIVA 40-21 .656
3. MPSF 42-30 .583
4. EIVA 24-40 .375
5. ConfCarolinas 18-38 .321

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 end of season strength of schedule (as of Feb. 28)
1. UC Santa Barbara
2. Hawai’i
3. USC
4. BYU
5. Lewis
6. UC Irvine
7. Concordia-Irvine
8. Loyola
10. Quincy

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 (4-0)
UCLA (5-4)
Hawai’i (2-1)
UC Irvine (6-4)
BYU (3-3)
Loyola (3-2)
Pepperdine (2-1)
Lewis (1-4)
Ohio State (1-4)
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.

Top-10 ranked teams with three or fewer losses
No. 1/1 Long Beach State (14-0)
No. 2/2 Hawai’i (9-2)
No. 6/6 Loyola (13-3)
No. 8/7 Pepperdine (9-3)

Top-10 ranked teams with four or more losses
No. 3/3 UCLA (14-4)
No. 4/4 UC Irvine (12-4)
No. 5/5 BYU (12-4)
No. 7/8 Lewis (11-5)
No. 9/9 Ohio State (11-4)

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
BYU vs. Pepperdine 7 p.m. Thursday Pepperdine is now among the teams under NCAA Tournament consideration, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology. A win would not only strengthen the Waves’ resume but deliver a big blow to the Cougars’ hopes of being in realistic contention for an at-large bid.
Loyola vs. King 7 p.m. Friday Non-conference matches against ConfCarolinas team matter, especially if that team has a chance to win the ConfCarolinas and as a result be placed among the teams under NCAA Tournament consideration.
Lewis vs. King 7 p.m. Saturday Every match from now until the end of the regular season is a must-win for Lewis in order to remain in contention for a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UCLA vs. BYU 7 p.m. Saturday This match result will effect the bracketology on every major selection committee criteria category. Oh yeah, first place in the conference could also be on the line.