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Men’s volleyball bracketology

March 28, 2011

With the men’s volleyball Final Four less than two months away, Off the Block each week for the rest of the season will release its projected NCAA Tournament bracket.

The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament is comprised of four teams. Automatic bids are awarded to the winners of the EIVA, MIVA and MPSF conference tournaments, and the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Committee chooses one team for an at-large bid.

The three-person men’s volleyball committee typically meets following all of the conference tournaments to select the at-large team. While the committee evaluates multiple factors, the 2010 committee chairman Brian Summers said last year that two factors usually carrying the most weight are head-to-head results among the teams in contention and results against common opponents.

The men’s volleyball championship tournament has remained a four-team field since the sport became NCAA sanctioned in 1970.

In recent years, though, there has been a growing possibility of the NCAA Tournament expanding to eight teams. This also might become more likely with the Conference Carolinas qualifying for an automatic bid to the tournament starting in 2014.

As a result of this potential tournament format change, Off the Block will also project this year’s NCAA Tournament if it expanded to eight teams with four automatic conference bids and four at-large bids.

The men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament will take place May 5-7 in University Park, Pa.

Projected Final Four

No. 1 seed USC (16-1) vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (19-5)
No. 2 seed Stanford (14-6)* vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State (17-4)

Last four out
BYU (16-7)
UCLA (15-9)
Long Beach State (12-10)
UC Irvine (13-11)

Comments
There isn’t any change this week to the Final Four, but the gap between No. 3 Stanford and No. 4 BYU for the one at-large significant closed after the weekend. BYU completed a two-match series sweep against No. 6 Hawai’i, while Stanford lost in five games at home to No. 10 Long Beach State. The Cardinal still has the edge over the Cougars because it won both head-to-head matches. Long Beach State and UCLA both moved into the last four out this week. With its win against Stanford, Long Beach State is 6-5 against teams in contention for the at-large bid — the third best record among teams in contention. UCLA defeated UC Irvine in its lone head-to-head match so far this season and has the fourth fewest overall losses in the MPSF.

If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams

No. 1 seed USC (15-1) vs. No. 8 seed Lees-McRae (15-8)
No. 2 seed Stanford (15-6)* vs. No. 7 seed Long Beach State (12-10)*
No. 3 seed BYU (16-7)* vs. No. 6 seed UCLA (15-9)*
No. 4 seed Ohio State (17-4) vs. No. 5 seed Penn State (19-5)

Last four out
UC Irvine (13-11)
Hawai’i (12-11)
UC Santa Barbara (12-10)
Loyola (17-5)

Comments
UCLA and Long Beach State move into the final two at-large spots after both teams picked up signature victories this weekend. This jump in the at-large rankings was also aided with Hawai’i losing both matches at BYU. Ohio State dropped a spot to No. 4 in the tournament seeding following its two non-conference losses last week, including a bad loss against unranked UC San Diego. Lees-McRae is one match out of first place in the Conference Carolinas and has won seven of its last eight matches, including an upset victory against Ball State on Sunday. Loyola and UC Santa Barbara both slid in the race for the at-large bids. It’s nothing they did wrong, it is a more a result of UCLA and Long Beach State picking up signature wins.

*Indicates at-large bid

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. john e permalink
    April 1, 2011 8:00 pm

    Not sure how you dismiss MOC from your fantasy brackets but they hold 1 game lead over LMC with 2 to go, already clinched a berth in championship, and have beaten LMC four straight times including a sweep earlier. LMC has great late season and it’s a toss up but not sure of your logic here

  2. April 2, 2011 12:34 am

    MOC has had a great season, no question about that. However, right now I think Lees-McRae is going to win that conference. Of course, the match between MOC and Lees-McRae on Saturday could change the bracketology. Should be a great match between two up-and-coming programs that in two years could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.

  3. john e permalink
    April 9, 2011 2:55 am

    LMC may not make it to the championship game. They lost to King and failed to clinch with one game to go. King took advantage of a meaningless game for MOC tonight to stay tied with LMC for 2nd. MOC played their entire team all five games since they have no seniors. LMC was playing well and the league is getting much better this year. Limestone and King played well out of conference as well.

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