The MIVA Tournament begins on Saturday with the quarterfinal round kicking things off before the semifinals and championship occur next week. Below is everything you need to know about the event that will determine an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, including a bracket, match-up breakdowns and more.
*Teams do NOT reseed following the quarterfinals
No. 8 Quincy at No. 1 Ohio State
No. 7 Lindenwood at No. 2 Loyola
No. 6 McKendree at No. 3 Ball State
No. 5 Fort Wayne at No. 4 Lewis
Ohio State Buckeyes & Loyola Chicago Ramblers
The two teams that split the regular season title in the MIVA obviously represent the two favorites to win this event and take the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bid. Should these two meet in the finals, it would represent the rubber match as each team won on their home court. The deciding factor may be that if the third matchup happened it would be in Columbus once again. What adds to the interest is that the loser may have a shot at an at-large bid even, but the case is a lot stronger for Loyola Chicago in that regard but would still need to reach the championship match to accrue some more victories.
Ball State Cardinals & Lewis Flyers
Both of these teams have beaten the potential opponents they’d be slated to play in the semifinals, which adds to the idea that they could be dark horses in the MIVA Tournament. Lewis, as the 4-seed, could even repeat what they did in 2016 when they made the championship match as the same listing. They’d have to go through a tough match with Fort Wayne first, but then they would get the chance to take down Ohio State – who they swept at home but lost to in Columbus. For Ball State, they downed Loyola Chicago earlier in the season but lost in the second go around, while they even went further and downed Ohio State this season as they proved they can take down the best.
8-seed Quincy (12-18, 0-14) at 1-seed/#6 Ohio State (20-5, 11-3)
- Season series: Ohio State, 2-0 (OSU 3-0 vs. Quincy, OSU 3-0 at Quincy)
- There’s no secret that this one is a mismatch with the top seed taking on a team who failed to win a league match. There is a big gap in offensive efficiency, and the strong Ohio State serve broke Quincy to the tune of 19 total serve aces between two previous meetings. Those two will likely show up in a big way again.
7-seed Lindenwood (9-15, 3-11) at 2-seed/#7 Loyola Chicago (21-6, 11-3)
- Season series: Tied, 1-1 (LUC 3-0 vs. Lindenwood; Lindenwood 3-1 vs. LUC)
- Loyola was upended by Lindenwood just last week in four – although it came on the road as opposed to a sweep win at home where this one will be. Lindenwood’s defense was pretty solid in both meetings though, the difference was hitting .290 in a win versus .111 in the loss. That was mainly from Nick Stevenson‘s doing as he went 0-3-4 (-.750) in the loss but 20-4-35 (.457) in the win, so watch out for how the Ramblers defend him.
6-seed/#19 McKendree (11-14, 6-8) at 3-seed/#10 Ball State (17-11, 10-4)
- Season series: Tied, 1-1 (McKendree 3-1 vs. Ball State; Ball State 3-0 vs. McKendree)
- Roles were switched in the two previous meetings with one team putting up strong offensive numbers in the win and low efficiency in the loss. One difference maker was the block, as Ball State had a 12-5 edge in their win with McKendree up 13-5 in theirs. If the Cardinals serve like they did in the second go-around too – where they have an advantage (1.31 aces per set in MIVA matches vs. 0.73) it could be an uphill battle for McKendree.
5-seed/#13 Fort Wayne (18-10, 6-8) at 4-seed/#9 Lewis (18-10, 9-5)
- Season series: Lewis, 2-0 (Lewis 3-0 at Fort Wayne, Lewis 3-0 vs. Fort Wayne)
- Lewis has the edge in hitting percentage, aces, digs and blocks per set during MIVA play vs. Fort Wayne. They also fared well with the Mastodons and won all six sets. Setter play with Matt Yoshimoto (65 assists, team .307 hitting percentage) was a plus for the Flyers over Michael Keegan (44 assists, team .139 hitting percentage). If Fort Wayne solidifies that spot, they could make things more interesting.