Off the Block each week throughout the rest of the regular season and during the postseason will unveil its latest detailed projections to the NCAA Tournament.
The men’s volleyball Division I-II NCAA Tournament is comprised of seven teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the Big West, ConfCarolinas, EIVA, MIVA and MPSF conference tournaments, and the NCAA men’s volleyball committee selects two teams for at-large bids.
The five-person selection committee meets following all of the conference tournaments to decide the at-large teams and the tournament seeding. The field for the NCAA Tournament is scheduled to be released during Selection Sunday on April 24.
The NCAA Tournament will begin with a play-in match and then two first-round matches. The top-two seeds will receive byes to the semifinals and will play the winners from the first round.
Off the Block is in its 11th season of providing college men’s volleyball bracketology.
PROJECTED NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
FIRST-FOUR TEAMS OUT
UC Santa Barbara (17-8)
Quick breakdown: This is complete chaos. All the conference tournament upsets mean at least one team that was a legitimate contender for the national championship won’t even make the NCAA Tournament. Both Penn State and UCLA following their conference tournament losses are still projected to earn at-large bids, unless Long Beach State loses in the Big West Tournament. Hawai’i under this situation is projected to be the first-team out and will need to win the Big West Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. Hawai’i trails both Penn State and UCLA in the historically critical selection criteria categories of RPI and record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration. In addition, the Rainbow Warriors have a losing road record, while the Nittany Lions and Bruins have among the best road records in the nation at 10-2. The one stat that could greatly help Hawai’i’s case for an at-large bid is the strength of schedule. The Rainbow Warriors are No. 6 in the strength of schedule rankings – more than 10 spots ahead of the Nittany Lions and Bruins. Another auxiliary data point available to the selection committee that could benefit Hawai’i is its record against RPI teams ranked No. 6-10. The Rainbow Warriors at 0-4 have a significantly worse record against RPI teams ranked No. 1-5 compared to the Nittany Lions and Bruins, but they are 9-0 against teams ranked No. 6-10. This high mark, though, largely hinges on Lincoln Memorial winning the IVA Tournament this weekend. Lincoln Memorial lost to Hawai’i three times in the regular season and are at No. 10 in the RPI. Off the Block has projected Pepperdine, NJIT and North Greenville to make the NCAA Tournament because they are the highest seeds remaining in their conference tournaments. However, whoever wins those conference tournaments won’t likely alter the tournament seed. The MPSF winner will be the No. 5 seed. The EIVA winner will be the No. 6 seed. The ConfCarolinas winner will be the No. 7 seed.