Pepperdine, Hawai’i earn at-large bids to NCAA Tournament

Photo courtesy of Pepperdine athletics

Head-to-head record trumped record versus teams under NCAA Tournament consideration to keep the Pepperdine season alive.

Pepperdine edged out UCLA for the final at-large bid to earn a spot in the seven-team NCAA Tournament field that was unveiled Sunday.

The Waves earned the at-large bid from the five-person selection committee following their victory against a coronavirus protocol depleted Bruins team in the MPSF Tournament semifinals earlier this week. With that victory, Pepperdine won the season series 2-1 against UCLA to hold the edge in the head-to-head selection committee criteria.

Pepperine in the MPSF Tournament finals lost to BYU for the fifth time this season to drop its record versus teams under NCAA Tournament consideration to 2-6. UCLA entered Selection Sunday with a 3-4 record versus teams under NCAA Tournament consideration, including two victories against BYU.


As the No. 5 overall seed, Pepperdine will play the No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara in the opening round on Tuesday, May 4. UC Santa Barbara defeated UC Santa Diego in the Big West Tournament finals late Saturday night to secure its first NCAA Tournament berth in 10 years.

Hawai’i received the other at-large bid and the No. 1 overall seed to the NCAA Tournament.

The Rainbow Warriors entered the postseason as one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the nation but lost in the Big West Tournament semifinals. This is the second consecutive NCAA Tournament that Hawai’i has earned the No. 1 overall seed.

BYU beat out Lewis for the other bye to the NCAA Tournament semifinals and the No. 2 overall seed.

Lewis held an advantage in multiple criteria categories such as the RPI rankings and winning percentage. However, BYU was 7-2 against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration, while Lewis because of scheduling restrictions during the pandemic did not play a team this season that finished under NCAA Tournament consideration.

Lewis in its opening-round match as the No. 3 seed will play the winner of the play-in match between the EIVA champions Penn State and the ConfCarolinas champions Belmont Abbey.

All six NCAA Tournament matches will take place at the Covelli Center on the Ohio State campus starting with the play-in match on Monday, May 3.

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