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Men’s volleyball bracketology

April 18, 2011

With conference tournaments about to begin and the men’s volleyball Final Four weeks away, Off the Block will continue its weekly 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 and the tournament seeding. For an in-depth look at the criteria used by the selection committee, check out this breakdown.

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 (21-2) vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (22-6)
No. 2 seed BYU (20-7)* vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State (22-6)

Last four out
Stanford (19-8)
UC Irvine (18-11)
Hawai’i (15-12)
Long Beach State (14-13)

Comments
The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions flipped seeds for the second consecutive week following Penn State’s loss to unranked Ball State on Friday. Based on the criteria used by selection committee, Ohio State should be No. 2 seed ahead of BYU if equal weight was given to each criteria category. However, the Cougars’ better record than the Buckeyes against teams in consideration will likely be enough to give BYU the No. 2 seed. Long Beach State also jumped into the last four out after UC Santa Barbara lost two matches last week.

If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams

No. 1 seed USC (21-2) 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 Ohio State (22-6) vs. No. 6 seed UC Irvine (18-11)*
No. 4 seed Penn State (22-6) vs. No. 5 seed Stanford (19-8)*

Last four out
Long Beach State (14-13)
Loyola (19-7)
UC Santa Barbara (14-14)
Ball State (19-11)

Comments
For the second straight week, no new team moved into the eight-team field but there was some seeding movements. Ohio State jumped up three spots to the No. 3 seed as outside attacker Shawn Sangery, who is recovering from an appendectomy, appeared to return to his All-American form in two road victory during the weekend. Ball State also moved ahead of UCLA to make its first appearance in the last four out. The Cardinals swept the Nittany Lions for their second victory against a top 10 team this season.

*Indicates at-large team

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