As expected, Long Beach State and UCLA got the at-large bids.
Not as expected, Ball State got the No. 2 seed and the bye into the semifinals that goes with it.
The NCAA announced the bracket on Sunday for next week’s NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball tournament. It’s officially called the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship and will be competed in its entirety at UCLA.
Long Beach State, despite losing in the Big West Conference tournament title match to Hawai’i, got the No. 1 seed.
Ball State, which dominated the MIVA, is the No. 2 seed.
The tournament opens next Sunday, May 1, when Conference Carolinas champion North Greenville (20-5) plays EIVA champion Princeton (15-12). The winner advances into a Tuesday, May 3, quarterfinal match against Hawai’i (24-5).
In the other quarterfinal, MPSF champion Pepperdine (19-9) plays UCLA, which lost in the MPSF semifinals.
On Thursday, May 5, Long Beach State (20-5) awaits the UCLA-Pepperdine winner, while Ball State (23-3) gets the Hawai’i-North Greenville/Princeton winner.
The championship is Saturday, May 7, at 5 p.m. Pacific. Click here for the bracket.
— Penn State, which dominated the EIVA but lost in the conference tournament semifinals to Princeton, was the team left out.
— Ball State beat visiting Hawai’i in back-to-back matches in late January when the Rainbow Warriors were without four players, including setter Jakob Thelle, middle Guilherme Voss, and outside Chaz Galloway.
— Hawai’i also lost twice at Long Beach, which it swept in the Big West final, and in five at then-No. 10 UC San Diego, which it swept two days later.
— North Greenville is making the school’s first NCAA appearance in what is coach Fred Battenfield’s last season. We will feature the Crusaders later this week.
— Ball State is not only back in the tournament for the first time since 2002, it has won with a first-year coach, Donan Cruz.
— UCLA and Pepperdine played twice this and UCLA swept the Waves both times, on April 7 at Pepperdine and April 9 at UCLA.
— The UCLA-Pepperdine winner plays Long Beach. Long Beach swept UCLA at Long Beach on February 11, but the Bruins won in five at home eight days later. Long Beach did not play Pepperdine this season.
— Princeton and North Greenville are meeting for the first time and Hawai’i has not played either of them this season.
— RPI rankings of the field: No. 1 Long Beach, No. 3 Ball State, No. 4 Hawai’i, No. 5 UCLA, No. 11 Pepperdine, No 15 Princeton and No. 18 North Greenville.
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