Two-time defending champion Hawai’i, UCLA, Penn State, Ohio State made it easier for the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball committee.
There were no upsets Saturday in the four conference finals where teams are under consideration for at-large bids.
That leaves adding two at-larges to the NCAA Championship bracket of seven teams and, most logically, that will be Long Beach State and Grand Canyon/or BYU. GCU, ranked in the NCAA RPI won both MPSF meetings with BYU this season.
That remains to be seen later Sunday, especially since NCAA committees in all sports have been known to throw surprises when least expected. But in this case, the only surprises — if there are any — should come in the form of seeding.
UCLA swept Stanford to win the MPSF, Hawai’i beat UC Irvine in four to win the Big West, Penn State swept Princeton to win the EIVA, Ohio State beat Ball State in four to win the MIVA, and King won a wild one in five over North Greenville to win Conference Carolinas.
The seven-team bracket, that includes three play-in matches to get to the May 4 semifinals, will be announced on a live show on NCAA.com that is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday.
NCAA.com, which will stream the three play-in matches, quarterfinals and semifinals, had not updated its men’s volleyball page since Hawai’i defeated Long Beach State in the 2022 national-title match. Finally Saturday night it made reference to the Sunday show.
The national-championship match is May 6 on ESPN2 with the best volleyball-announcing tandem in the business, Paul Sunderland and Kevin Barnett, on the call.
Breaking it down
After Sunday’s announcement show, VolleyballMag.com’s Rob Espero will join editor Lee Feinswog for a Zoom with selected NCAA coaches in the field and others offering their analysis. Our lineup includes UCLA coach John Speraw, Penn State coach Mark Pavlik, Ohio State coach Kevin Burch, and, as analysts, Loyola Chicago coach John Hawks and Lincoln Memorial coach John Cash.
We will not have anyone from defending-champion Hawai’i. As a team spokesman told us, the Rainbow Warriors won’t even be sticking around Irvine to watch the show because they’ll be on a plane back to Hawai’i.
Our Zoom will post by mid-afternoon.
Hawai’i (28-2) won its 11th in a row by sweeping UC Irvine 25-18, 21-25, 25-13, 25-22 to become the first team to win back-to-back Big West…
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