This year in the NCAA women’s classification, the NIVC Tournament added a wrinkle to the postseason. It’s the same idea as the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in college basketball, where the top 32 teams who don’t make the big dance get a chance to partake in a smaller but still beneficial event.
It may not have the luster of the NCAA Tournament, but it’s a chance for senior to play together another time. It’s also a chance for another trophy, and in men’s volleyball where just seven teams make the NCAA Tournament, having a secondary postseason venture would be an even bigger deal. It’s also important because it can be a jumping off point for a young team who gets extra playing time and development to end the year and get ready for the following season.
So what if there was a secondary postseason tournament? What would it look like? Who would make it this year? We explain all that below:
- Eight team tournament
- Single Elimination
- Teams who win conference in regular season but didn’t make the NCAA Tournament get an automatic bid
- IVA Tournament winner makes it as well
- Highest seed overall with ability to host hosts the weekend of matches (for instance could last Friday-Sunday)
- Spoiler: For instance that would mean Hawaii would host this year. Who’d say no to a trip to Hawaii? If they couldn’t, it would go to the #2 seed and so forth.
A Faux 2018 Field:
Barton Bulldogs (21-8, 15-1 Conf. Carolinas)
- The Bulldogs earned a share of their regular season title – although they were awarded the #2 seed due to tiebreaker. They then fell short to King in the Conference Carolinas Championship, but by winning a share of the regular season and not making the big dance they automatically qualify.
George Mason Patriots (17-12, 13-1 EIVA)
- The Patriots won the EIVA regular season by three matches, but were upended in the semifinals of the EIVA Tournament against Princeton. While that kept them from the NCAA Tournament, they would hypothetically be awarded an automatic bid in our faux secondary tournament.
Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters (14-13, IVA)
- Without a true regular season and no automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, we give the IVA Tournament winner an automatic bid here as well, which was Lincoln Memorial.
Loyola Chicago Ramblers (23-7, 11-3 MIVA)
- Loyola Chicago was likely the second team out of the tournament as an at-large, so would be a simple choice to make this event. Of course, although they weren’t the #1 seed they still won a share of the regular season conference title in the MIVA, giving them an automatic bid.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (19-8, 6-4 Big West)
- This is the easiest choice for the at-larges, as many thought Hawaii should have made the NCAA Tournament, so they would highlight this field.
Lewis Flyers (19-11, 9-5 MIVA)
- Lewis ranked eighth in our most recent VolleyMob Top 20 – only behind Hawaii and Loyola Chicago for teams not in the NCAA Tournament. They also sit at eighth in the RPI, making them another easy pick here.
Pepperdine Waves (15-8, 8-4 MPSF)
- Pepperdine slotted in right behind Lewis in both the VolleyMob Top 20 and the RPI, as they would have a chance to get the bad taste out of their mouth from their abrupt finish in the MPSF Tournament – a loss at home to USC.
CSUN Matadors (16-11, 5-5 Big West)
- The Matadors edge out Ball State for the final at-large bid in this fake secondary tournament as they rank one spot higher in the VolleyMob Top 20 and three spots higher in the RPI.
Seeding the Fake Bracket:
- Loyola Chicago
- George Mason
- Lincoln Memorial