volleyball-women-d1 flag

Jacob Myers | NCAA.com | November 21, 2018

Teams with this RPI ranking make the NCAA volleyball tournament more than 50 percent of the time since 2010

Jamie Schwaberow | NCAA Photos Teams with this RPI ranking have a good shot of making the NCAA tournament

There might not be a more exciting time than late in the season when you’re trying to determine if your team is in the NCAA volleyball tournament.

We wondered if there is a relatively safe spot in the adjusted RPI rankings where a team has an even or better-than-even chance to make the tourney. It turns out there is. The sweet spot is to be ranked in the top 49. Here's how we found out.

We looked at the adjusted RPI rankings the committee used to make the tournament selections from 2010 to 2017 and determined where a team historically has a 50 percent chance or better of making the tournament.

We looked at teams ranked from 41st to 55th in RPI and found that teams ranked 41-45 have made the tournament 26 of 34 times (76 percent), which includes a team that was ineligible for the tournament because its record was under .500.

Teams ranked 46-50 made the tournament as at-large teams 53 percent of the time — 17 out of 32. And teams from the range of 51-55 made the tournament on just three occasions out of 35.

With so many factors going into whether or not a team receives an at-large bid for the tournament, there’s not an RPI ranking that is the definitive cut-off point for making the field of 64. However, it appears that being ranked in the top 49 is a fairly safe place.

RELATED: How low a team can be in RPI to still make the tournament

Since 2010, teams eligible for at-large bids that were ranked 50th missed in all five years. Teams ranked 46th made the tournament all seven times. Teams ranked 48th were in five of six times, and those ranked 49th made it four of seven times. At-large teams ranked 47th, however, were in the tournament one of seven years.

Again, there are a lot of different factors that go into the committee’s decision, but this data shows about where a team wants to be when it comes selection time.

MORE: How high a team can be in RPI to make the tournament | 2018 NCAA volleyball AQ list

This chart below shows teams and their RPI ranking heading into the tournament the past three seasons and whether each team made the tournament.

Note: * = Teams with a losing record.

Year School RPI NCAA tournament
2015 Villanova 41st Yes
  Baylor 42nd No
  Boise State 43rd No
  Wyoming 44th No
  Northern Iowa 45th Yes
  Arizona 46th Yes
  Pittsburgh 47th No
  Oregon 48th Yes
  TCU 49th Yes
  Kansas State 51st Yes
  Long Beach State 53rd No
  Michigan State 54th Yes
  Northwestern* 55th No
2016 Marquette 41st Yes
  Baylor 42nd Yes
  Washington State 43rd Yes
  Missouri State 44th Yes
  Northern Iowa 45th Yes
  Colorado State 46th Yes
  Temple 47th No
  Southern California 48th Yes
  Georgia Tech 49th No
  Alabama 53rd No
  Cal Poly 54th No
  Arkansas State 55th No
2017 Northern Iowa 42nd Yes
  Florida State 43rd Yes
  Ohio State* 44th No
  LSU 45th Yes
  Charleston 46th Yes
  North Texas 47th No
  North Carolina State 49th Yes
  Iowa 50th No
  Dayton 51st No
  Maryland 52nd No
  Auburn 53rd No
  Arkansas 55th No

5 possible sleepers for the DII women's volleyball championship

There is a lot of DII women's volleyball left to be played, but be sure to get these teams on your radar now.

Nebraska, Wisconsin volleyball fight for top spot and Tennessee enters Power 10 rankings

Michella Chester ranks her top 10 women's volleyball teams heading into Week 5 of the 2023 season.

Wisconsin, Nebraska volleyball stand atop first NCAA DI Committee in-season rankings

The NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Committee revealed its first in-season top-10 rankings today, with Wisconsin and Nebraska as the headliners.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners