Projecting The 8 Teams For the NCAA Beach Volleyball Tournament

  0 Jared Anderson | April 13th, 2017 | ASUN Conference, Beach, Big West, CCSA, College - Beach, Division II, Division III, News, Pac-12, West Coast Conference

2017 will serve as the second-ever NCAA Beach Volleyball Tournament, with USC looking to defend its 2016 national title.

The tournament selection will take place on Sunday, April 30 in a live selection show on The tournament combines programs from Divisions I, II and III, with 8 teams selected to the tournament. Who will be taking part? Here’s our best predictions.

Tournament Qualification Procedures

The National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Committee will select the 8 teams in a two-step process:

Step 1: Regional Bids

The committee will select the top 3 teams from the East Region along with the top three teams from the West Region. Here are the selection criteria for those bids, direct from the NCAA pre-championships manual:

Selection criteria for regional bids into the championship:

  • Record versus regional opponents
  • Head-to-head competition
  • Results versus common opponents
  • Strength of schedule
  • Overall record (must be .500 or above)

You can find the regional divides of all eligible institutions in the pre-championships manual linked above.

Step 2: At-Large Bids

The final two spots will be filled by at-large bids for teams from either region. Here are the criteria for those bids:

Selection criteria for at-large bid into the championship:

  • Head-to-head competition
  • Results versus common opponents
  • Strength of schedule
  • Overall record (must be .500 or above)

Those 8 teams will then be seeded. Regional bids are not guaranteed to be seeded higher than at-large bids, so the at-large bids are not necessarily teams #7 and #8.

VolleyMob’s Projections

We’ve included the programs within each region ranked inside the top 15 in the latest AVCA ranks:

West Region:

  1. USC (25-0)
  2. Pepperdine (18-2)
  3. UCLA (25-2)
  4. Long Beach State (21-5)
  5. Hawaii (21-5)
  6. Arizona (13-8)
  7. Grand Canyon (14-6)

USC is a lock, still undefeated overall and dominating all Western teams. The tricky call here is whether Pepperdine or UCLA is the second-best in the West. They’re currently tied at #2 in the AVCA rankings and both have two losses apiece. Pepperdine probably gets the edge right now due to head-to-head play: they beat UCLA 3-2 back in early March. Both teams have lost to USC, but Pepperdine does have one bad loss to Hawaii.

UCLA’s saving grace is that they already have a marginally better record within the region (16-2 vs 15-2) with two games left to play. But one comes against USC, and UCLA may need to hand the Trojans their first loss of the year to have any chance at leapfrogging Pepperdine for the 2-seed.

Long Beach State is probably just outside the regional bids, having lost 5 total matches and 4 within the west region: 2 each to Pepperdine and UCLA. Against both teams, they lost once at home and once on neutral ground.

Hawaii lost twice to Pepperdine, though they did beat Pepperdine in their third meeting last week. They also have regional losses to USC and Long Beach State.

East Region:

  1. Florida State (18-6)
  2. LSU (18-5)
  3. Stetson (15-10)
  4. Georgia State (16-11)
  5. South Carolina (17-7)
  6. TCU (16-8)
  7. Florida International (18-10)
  8. Florida Atlantic (18-9)

Florida State seems like the consensus top dog in the east. They’re a perfect 12-0 in their region with their only losses coming to top-ranked USC (three times) and western powers UCLA (twice) and Pepperdine (once). They’ve only got one eastern region match left, against FIU this weekend.

LSU only has two losses in the east: Florida State and Florida Atlantic in the Tigers first two matches of the year. Since then, they’ve beaten contenders TCU and Georgia State along with west region’s Arizona, though that doesn’t count for this regional bid. Stetson maybe has a more impressive strength of schedule, but will probably miss the two-spot in the east by virtue of their loss to LSU head-to-head in early March.

Interestingly enough, in hindsight the east regional was decided in the season’s opening weekend. LSU, Florida State, Stetson and Florida Atlantic all clashed in the Stetson Invitiational, and those head-to-heads ultimately decided the top three spots.

Georgia State could still make waves with a remaining match against LSU on the road. They’ve got 6 losses in the region, as does South Carolina. TCU is a bit of a wild card, playing more than half of its matches against western regional opponents. They’ve only got two losses in the east, but also only two wins. Their two losses have come to FSU and LSU, but TCU hasn’t played Stetson or South Carolina. They did beat Georgia State head-to-head, though.

At-Large Bids:

  1. Long Beach State (21-5)
  2. Hawaii (21-5)
  3. Arizona (13-8)
  4. Grand Canyon (14-6)
  5. TCU (16-8)
  6. Georgia State (16-11)
  7. South Carolina (17-7)

Long Beach State is the clear favorite for the first at-large bid. They’ve got quality wins over tournament teams Stetson and LSU and have narrow 2-3 losses to Pepperdine (twice) and UCLA. They also hold the head-to-head win over Hawaii as of a 3-2 win on April 1.

Hawaii has their big win over Pepperdine to hang their hat on, along with head-to-head wins over tourney team Stetson (twice) and at-large contenders Arizona, Grand Canyon and TCU.

Final Seeds

  1. USC (West)
  2. Pepperdine (West)
  3. UCLA (West)
  4. Florida State (East)
  5. Long Beach State (At-Large)
  6. Hawaii (At-Large)
  7. LSU (East)
  8. Stetson (East)

Remaining Shake-Up Matches

There aren’t many matches left that could significantly shake up these projections, but here are the remaining impact matches for teams in the tournament mix:

  • Pepperdine vs Stetson vs FIU vs Grand Canyon vs Florida State – 4/14-15
  • Georgia State @ LSU – 4/21
  • Long Beach State @ USC – 4/20
  • UCLA @ USC – 4/22
  • Florida State, LSU, Georgia State and South Carolina in the CCSA Tournament – 4/21-23
  • Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference Tournament – 4/21-22
  • USC, UCLA, Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament – 4/27-28
  • Long Beach State, Hawaii in the Big West Tournament – 4/28-29

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