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Deeper look at men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament selection process

April 18, 2011

While the at-large bid and men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament seeding appears to be set, a deeper look into the volleyball committee’s selection criteria showed there could be some non-traditional seedings in this year’s tournament.

Below is the entry from the 2011 NCAA men’s volleyball championship handbook on how the three-person volleyball selection committee determines the at-large team and seeding for the NCAA Tournament.

Automatic qualifiers will be determined by a method selected by each conference
office. The remaining at-large team will be selected using the following criteria (in no
priority order):
– 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; and
– Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.

The selection committee does not consider match results against NAIA teams, such as Cal Baptist, Lindenwood and UC Santa Cruz. Only matches against NCAA teams factor in the into the criteria

Some selection committees in the past have placed a greater emphasis on a certain categories. For instance, last year’s committee said they placed a greater emphasis on head-to-head results and a team’s record against other teams being considered. However, there is no requirement that categories be weighed differently.

No. 1 USC (21-2, 20-2 MPSF) will be the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament using the selection committee’s criteria — regardless if each category is equally judged or certain categories have a greater emphasis.

Everything else involving the NCAA Tournament is still undecided.

The volleyball selection committee has historically avoided pairing two MPSF schools against each other in the NCAA semifinals — it has happened once in the last 10 years. In addition, a MPSF school has received every at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in the last 16 years.

Both of these trends have the possibility of being snapped in this year’s tournament if the volleyball committee gives equally weight to each category.

Entering the conference tournaments, here is how BYU, Stanford, Ohio State and Penn State match-up against each other using the selection committee criteria and giving equal weight to each category.

[Editor’s note: BYU and Stanford are the two front-runners for the at-large bid. Teams projected to qualify or be under consideration are USC, Penn State, Ohio State, BYU, Stanford, UC Irvine and Hawai’i]

At-large bid (BYU vs. Stanford)

Won-lost results: BYU 19-7; Stanford 17-7. Edge: BYU
Head-to-head competition: Stanford defeated BYU twice. Edge: Stanford
Non-conference record: BYU 3-1; Stanford 2-0. Edge: Stanford
Home record: BYU 12-0; Stanford 8-3. Edge: BYU
Road record: BYU 6-7; Stanford 7-4. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. common opponents: BYU 19-7; Stanford 17-7. Edge: BYU
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: BYU 4-4; Stanford 3-3. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: PUSH

Penn State vs. Ohio State

Won-lost results: Penn State 22-6; Ohio State 22-6 Edge: Push
Head-to-head competition: Split two matches in regular season. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: Ohio State 15-5; Penn State 12-6. Advantage: Ohio State
Home record: Ohio State 12-0; Penn State 13-1. Edge: Ohio State
Road record: Penn State 9-5; Ohio State 10-6. Edge: Penn State
Record vs. common opponents: Ohio State 17-2, Penn State 15-2. Edge: Ohio State
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Ohio State 2-2; Penn State 2-2. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: OHIO STATE

Ohio State vs. BYU

Won-lost record: Ohio State 22-6; BYU 19-7. Edge: Ohio State
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this year. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: Ohio State 15-5; BYU 3-1. Edge: Push
Home record: Ohio State 12-0; BYU 12-0. Edge: Push
Road record: Ohio State 10-6; BYU 6-7. Edge: Ohio State
Results vs. common opponents: Ohio State 5-5; BYU 8-2. Edge: BYU
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Ohio State 2-2; BYU 4-4. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: OHIO STATE

Penn State vs. BYU

Won-lost record: Penn State 22-6; BYU 19-7. Edge: Penn State
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this year. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: Penn State 12-6; BYU 3-1. Edge: BYU
Home record: Penn State 13-1; BYU 12-0. Edge: BYU
Road record: Penn State: 9-5; BYU 6-7. Edge: Penn State
Results vs. common opponents: Penn State 5-5; BYU 12-2. Edge: BYU
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Penn State 2-2; BYU 4-4. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: BYU

Penn State vs. Stanford

Won-lost results: Penn State 22-6; Stanford 17-7. Edge: Penn State
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this year. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: Penn State 12-6; Stanford 2-0. Edge: Stanford
Home record: Penn State 13-1; Stanford 8-3. Edge: Penn State
Road record: Penn State 9-5; Stanford 7-4. Edge: Penn State
Record vs. common opponents: Penn State 5-5; Stanford 10-4. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Penn State 2-2; Stanford 3-3. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: PENN STATE

Ohio State vs. Stanford

Won-lost results: Ohio State 22-6; Stanford 17-7. Edge: Ohio State
Head-to-head competition: Did not play each other this year. Edge: Push
Non-conference record: Ohio State 15-5; Stanford 2-0. Edge: Stanford
Home record: Ohio State 12-0; Stanford 8-3. Edge: Ohio State
Road record: Ohio State 16-6; Stanford 7-4. Edge: Ohio State
Results vs. common opponents: Ohio State 5-5; Stanford 9-1. Edge: Stanford
Record vs. teams qualified or under consideration: Ohio State 2-2; Stanford 3-3. Edge: Push
Eligibility and availability of athletes: Neither teams with serious injuries. Edge: Push
OVERALL EDGE: OHIO STATE

Possible seeding and semifinals scenarios

Based on this information here is what the NCAA Tournament seeding and NCAA semifinals could be if the selection committee gives equal weight to each criteria category — with the projection that USC, Penn State and Ohio State can win their conference tournaments.

If BYU gets the at-large bid
No. 1 seed USC vs. No. 4 seed Penn State
No. 2 seed Ohio State vs. No. 3 seed BYU

If Stanford gets the at-large bid
No. 1 seed USC vs. No. 4 seed Stanford
No. 2 seed Ohio State vs. No. 3 seed Penn State

If Ohio State lost the MIVA Tournament but gets the at-large bid
No. 1 seed USC vs. No. 4 seed (winner of the MIVA Tournament)
No. 2 seed Penn State vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State

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One Comment leave one →
  1. bernard permalink
    April 19, 2011 2:09 am

    there is no way that the committee gives equal weight between these categories. Common opponents will be weighed higher that a home/road record for two conferences which have clear discrepancies in overall strength.

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