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Men’s volleyball bracketology

April 11, 2011

With the men’s volleyball Final Four less than one month 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 (19-2) vs. No. 4 seed Ohio State (20-6)
No. 2 seed BYU (20-7)* vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (21-5)

Last four out
Stanford (18-8)
UC Irvine (17-11)
Hawai’i (15-12)
UC Santa Barbara (14-12)

Comments
BYU moves ahead of Stanford for the one at-large spot in the Final Four after Stanford lost to UC Santa Barbara during the weekend. The Cougars have one less overall loss than Stanford and finishing second in the MPSF regular season. These two stats out-weighs Stanford winning both matches against BYU at the beginning of the season. In addition, with Penn State defeating Ohio State in four games Sunday, the Nittany Lions jump ahead of the Buckeyes for the No. 3 seed.

If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams

No. 1 seed USC (19-2) vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (19-7)
No. 2 seed BYU (20-7)* vs. No. 7 seed Hawai’i (15-12)*
No. 3 seed Stanford (18-8)* vs. No. 6 seed Ohio State (20-6)
No. 4 seed Penn State (20-5) vs. No. 5 seed UC Irvine (17-11)*

Last four out
UC Santa Barbara (14-12)
Loyola (18-6)
Long Beach State (13-13)
UCLA (16-12)

Comments
No new teams moved into the eight-team tournament this week, but there are significant changes in the seeding. BYU, Penn State and UC Irvine all move up one seed. Penn State and UC Irvine both had signature wins this week to move up, while BYU had two wins this week but primarily flipped spots with Stanford because of the Cardinal’s loss. Along with Stanford moving down one spot, Ohio State dropped two spots follow its loss to Penn State. The Buckeyes 3-4 in their last seven matches.

*Indicates at-large bid

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