The NCAA will announce the men’s field for the new-look 7-team NCAA Division I/II volleyball tournament bracket on Sunday at 1PM Eastern Time. The selection show will air live on NCAA.com.
With the additional sponsoring of men’s volleyball by the Big West Conference this year, the NCAA chose to keep the 2 at-large bids to the tournament, which pushes the field up to 7 teams (5 conference champions + 2 at-large).
In the new bracket, the 6th-ranked invited team will play the 7th-ranked invited team. The winner of that game will join the 3rd-through-5th ranked teams in a quarterfinal, the winners of which will have the opportunity to play the 1st and 2nd ranked teams in the semi-finals.
That leaves the bracket looking something like below:
We can already fill in some of these slots with known information. Specifically, the 5 conference champions:
- Big West – Long Beach State
- Conference Carolinas – King
- EIVA – Harvard
- MIVA – Ohio State (defending champions)
- MPSF – BYU
Quantities that are almost certain:
- The winners of Conference Carolinas (King) and the EIVA (Harvard) are most likely to play in the #6 vs. #7 ‘play-in’ game. Long
- Long Beach State will be the #1 overall seed (they are 26-1)
- BYU, the champions of the MPSF, are almost surely the #2 seed
- The last two invitees will probably come from the MPSF and the Big West, and they will probably be the runners-up from the two conferences (Hawaii and UCLA, respectively). UC Irvine has an outside chance at taking one of those bids, but Hawaii beating them 3-1 in the semis, and scoring a late 3-2 regular-season win over Long Beach State, probably seals Hawaii’s invite.
The semi-finals and finals of the tournament will be held on May 3rd and 5th at the Pauley Pavillion on UCLA’s campus in Los Angeles. The first semi-final will be at 9 Eastern, with the 2nd following at 11:30 Eastern. The championship game will air live on ESPN2 at 7:00 Eastern time.