FanPost

UCLA Men's Volleyball: Postseason Possibilities (2 Updates)

Stephen Dunn

Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.

The UCLA men's volleyball team has never failed to qualify for the postseason. That could change this season, although with just two matches left, the Bruins control their own destiny. If UCLA wins tonight against Cal Baptist and defeats BYU on Saturday, the Bruins will finish no worse than eighth in the MPSF and will grab the final place in the MPSF conference tournament.

However, a look at the top 9 places in the conference standings shows how complicated the situation is:

Team Wins Losses
1 BYU 18 4
2 Pepperdine 16 6
3 Stanford 15 7
4 UCSB 15 8
5 UC Irvine 14 8
T-6 Long Beach State 13 9
T-6 Hawai'i 13 9
T-6 UCLA 13 9
9 USC 14 10

UCLA is currently tied for sixth, but with two wins to close out the season and with other results breaking favorably, the Bruins could finish in the top 4. On the other hand, with two losses, the Bruins could end their 2014 season without a postseason appearance for the first time in the program's history. With a split of their final two matches, the Bruins would end up in a tie with Southern Cal. The good news--actually, the delightful news--is that the Bruins hold the tiebreaker against the Trojans, so if there's a simple tie between UCLA and Southern Cal for eighth, the Bruins will play in the conference tournament and the Trojans will be eliminated.

Unfortunately, other scenarios that involve multiple teams tied with 10 losses don't work out well for UCLA. Since there are 2048 possible outcomes for the remaining MPSF matches, I won't list all of the possible scenarios, but there are a few likely scenarios that work against the Bruins.

  • In the event of a three-way tie between UCLA, USC and Hawai'i, UCLA is out.
  • In the event of a three-way tie between UCLA, USC and Long Beach State, UCLA is out.
  • In the event of a four-way tie between UCLA, USC, Long Beach State and Hawai'i, UCLA is out.

Here is UCLA's head-to-head tiebreaker situation:

  • UCLA wins tiebreaker against: Stanford, UC Irvine, USC, UCSB
  • UCLA loses tiebreaker against: Long Beach State, Hawai'i

If the remaining matches go according to form, the final MPSF standings will look like this:

Team Wins Losses
1 BYU 20 4
T-2 Pepperdine 17 7
T-2 Stanford 17 7
T-4 UCSB 15 9
T-4 UC Irvine 15 9
T-4 Long Beach State 15 9
T-7 Hawai'i 14 10
T-7 UCLA 14 10
T-7 USC 14 10

As I noted above, this scenario (which has Hawai'i splitting its final two matches against Pepperdine) leads to the Bruins missing the postseason. If either Hawai'i or Pepperdine sweep their final pair of matches, UCLA probably advances to the postseason. Or better yet, if UCLA closes out the season with wins against Cal Baptist and BYU, the Bruins will earn a spot in the MPSF tournament.

I'll update this post as results from the final week of MPSF matches become available.

Go BRUINS!

Update 1 (11 April 2014)

Results from Thursday's MPSF matches:

  • UCLA beat Cal Baptist (3-0)
  • Long Beach State beat Cal State Northridge (3-0)

The top nine positions in the MPSF standings now look like this:

    Team Wins Losses
    1 BYU 18 4
    2 Pepperdine 16 6
    3 Stanford 15 7
    4 UCSB 15 8
    5 UC Irvine 14 8
    T-6 Long Beach State 14 9
    T-6 UCLA 14 9
    8 Hawai'i 13 9
    9 USC 14 10

    As you can see, nothing significant has changed with respect to UCLA's postseason chances; the Bruins won a match they were expected to win and needed to win. This means that UCLA's best chance to qualify for the MPSF tournament is still defeating BYU in the final game of the season. As Coach Speraw said after the match last night, the final match of the season against BYU is effectively a playoff game. Although the Bruins can still sneak into the tournament with two losses by either Hawai'i or Pepperdine, the best path to the postseason is a win against the Cougars on Sunday.

    Go BRUINS!

    Update 2 (12 April 2014)

    Results from Friday's MPSF matches:

    • UCSB beat BYU (3-1)
    • Stanford beat UC Irvine (3-2)
    • Pepperdine beat Hawai'i (3-0)

    The top nine positions in the MPSF standings now look like this:

    Team Wins Losses
    1 BYU 18 5
    2 Pepperdine 17 6
    3 Stanford 16 7
    4 UCSB 16 8
    T-5 UC Irvine 14 9
    T-5 Long Beach State 14 9
    T-5 UCLA 14 9
    8 USC 14 10
    9 Hawai'i 13 10

    Going into their final conference match tonight, nothing significant has changed with respect to UCLA's postseason chances. There are now just two likely scenarios that advance the Bruins to the conference tournament:

    • UCLA defeats BYU and finishes in a tie for fifth place, or
    • UCLA loses to BYU and Pepperdine beats Hawai'i again, which would leave UCLA tied for seventh with USC

    Therefore, as I noted yesterday, UCLA's best chance to qualify for the MPSF tournament is still defeating BYU in their final conference game of the season tonight. A victory over BYU will also give the Bruins a much better first round matchup in the conference tournament.

    Go BRUINS!

    <em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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