College Soccer

NCAA Tournament: Round of 16 Preview



Upsets ran rampant through the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the third round gets underway with half of the top seeds knocked out. Last weekend's biggest upset saw No. 4 Ohio State knocked out by underdogs Drake.

That was one of the bigger surprises, while three unseeded ACC teams knocked out their seeded opponents, leaving the powerful conference with six of the remaining 16 teams. As the tournament takes another turn, eight intriguing matches will be hosted by higher-seeds around the country.

Akron faces Stanford in Ohio looking for a 22nd straight win in 2009. As the tournament progresses, and Akron's opponents became programs of higher stature, it will be a real litmus test for the Zips to see how good they really are.

Here's a look at some of the big match-ups on Sunday:

Maryland at No. 10 Harvard, 1pm. Just how strong is the Ivy League? Harvard is the last remaining school from the conference, and Harvard is their most formidable representative. Much has been written about Crimson forward Andre Akpan, and Maryland's defensive duo of Kevin Tangney and Ethan White will have to contain the attacker.

Duke at No. 3 Wake Forest, 5pm. The only two ACC teams to face each other in the third round, and the advantage is to the Deamon Deacons heading in. Sitting at the No. 3 seed in the tournament, Wake boasts formidable talents like Zach Schilawski, Ike Opara and Corben Bone. 3-0 winners in the regular season meeting against the Blue Devils, Wake will look to contain Duke's freshman top-scorer Ryan Finley.

UCSB at No. 6 UCLA, 8pm. Two perennial powerhouses from out West go head-to-head, with the winner one of the many potential champions. UCSB made the tournament without securing a top 16 seed, but managed to upset No. 11 San Diego in the second round. Senior David Walker scored, and his experience will be vital if the Gauchos hope to upset UCLA. The Bruins have a senior of their own, Kyle Nakazawa to rely on as they host the Gauchos. Nakazawa tallied in UCLA's second round win, and was the team's leading scorer during the regular season.

Here is the rest of this Sunday's schedule:

Portland at No. 3 Virginia, 1pm

Indiana at No. 5 North Carolina, 2pm

Drake at Boston College, 2pm

No. 9 Northwestern at No. 8 Tulsa, 3pm

Stanford at No. 1 Akron, 4pm


What do you think of these Round of 16 match-ups? Do you see any upsets taking place this round? Who do you think will win it all?

Share your thoughts below.


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