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Men’s volleyball bracketology

April 24, 2011

With conference tournaments underway 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 (22-2) vs. No. 4 Stanford (19-9)
No. 2 seed Ohio State (22-6) vs. No. 3 seed Penn State (22-6)

Last four out
BYU (20-8)
UC Irvine (19-11)
Hawai’i (15-13)
Long Beach State (15-13)

Comments
BYU and Stanford both losing in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals has significant ramifications on the NCAA Tournament seeding and at-large bid. The Cardinal have a slight edge over the Cougars using selection committee’s criteria for determining the lone at-large team. However, the early conference tournament loss hurts Stanford’s case to be higher than the No. 4 seed using the criteria. In addition, the gap between UC Irvine and the front-runners Stanford and BYU is beginning to close for the at-large bid. The Anteaters will still likely have to win the MPSF Tournament to get in the Final Four.

If the NCAA Tournament expanded to 8 teams

No. 1 seed USC (22-2) vs. No. 8 seed Mount Olive (20-7)
No. 2 seed Ohio State (22-6) vs. No. 7 Hawai’i (15-13)*
No. 3 seed Penn State (22-6) vs. No. 6 UC Irvine (19-11)*
No. 4 seed Stanford (19-9)* vs. No. 5 seed BYU (20-8)*

Last four out
Long Beach State (15-13)
Loyola (20-7)
UC Santa Barbara (15-14)
Lewis (20-10)

Comments
No new teams move into the eight-team tournament after the first round of the conference tournaments. Both Ohio State and Penn State jump up to No. 2 and No. 3 seeds because of BYU and Stanford’s early losses in the MPSF Tournament. In addition, Mount Olive became the first team to clinch a spot in the hypothetical tournament after defeating King College in the Conference Carolinas championship match Thursday.

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