By JOHN BOSCHINI
The map to Santa Barbara was drawn today when the NCAA announced the 48 teams that will compete in this year's men's soccer NCAA tournament.
Louisville, Maryland, Akron and North Carolina were named seeds one through four, meaning that if all four advance to the final four on Dec. 10, Louisville will face off against North Carolina and Maryland will take on Akron.
More than a few teams had their bubbles burst on Monday. The biggest surprise was the exclusion of UC-Irvine, which was ranked in the top 10 going into the selection show. A lowly RPI ranking of 62, along with a Big West semifinal loss, seem to be the reasons behind the Anteaters demise.
Among the surprise inclusions was College of Charleston, whioch snuck into the field despite playing in a mid-major conference and falling out of the NSCAA rankings. South Florida was another surprise team that appeared set to miss the cut after bowing out of the Big East tournament to West Virginia. Also barely making it into the tournament were West Virginia and Michigan State.
Charlotte was ranked No. 15 heading into the Atlantic 10 conference tournament but a loss to Xavier, combined with an RPI ranking of 51, was enough for the committee to leave the 49ers out of the tournament altogether. Wisconsin-Green Bay had been hanging around the fringes of the NSCAA rankings all season and took undefeated Butler to a penalty shootout in the Horizon League title game, but it wasn't enough to earn the Phoenix an at-large bid.
The Big East has a large showing in this year's field, with seven teams participating, the most of any conference. The ACC and Big 10 had five schools selected.
The 16 seeded teams will receive first-round byes and await the winner of the 16 play-in games to take place starting midweek. A strong conference tournament helped a previously unranked Michigan break into the top 16, landing at No. 10 after its Big 10 championship. The most surprising inclusion in the top 16 was Indiana, which was unranked heading into the conference tournament where the Hoosiers fell to Penn State in the semifinals. The Hoosiers secured a first-round bye with the No. 14 seed thanks to an RPI ranking of eight.
On the outside of the top 16 looking in is Creighton, which was upset in the MVC tournament final by Bradley. Joining the Blue Jays in the first round is Princeton, which was relegated to a Thursday matchup with UMBC despite a perfect Ivy League record and a 12-game winning streak to end the season.
Here's the bracket for the 2010 NCAA Tournament, an interactive bracket can be found here.
First round- East Tennessee State at College of Charleston
Second round- winner at No. 1 Louisville
First round- St. Peter's at Providence
Second round- Winner at No. 16 Ohio State
First round- Dartmouth at Monmouth
Second round- Winner at No. 9 Notre Dame
First round- Santa Clara at Sacramento State
Second round- Winner at No. 8 UCLA
North Carolina's bracket
First round- New Mexico at Creighton
Second round- Winner at No. 5 Southern Methodist
First round- UMBC at Princeton
Second round- Winner at No. 12 William & Mary
First round- Oakland at Michigan State
Second round- Winner at No. 13 Butler
First round- UNC Greensboro at Georgetown
Second round- Winner at No. 4 North Carolina
First round- Xavier at West Virginia
Second round- Winner at No. 3 Akron
First round- Bradley at Tulsa
Second round – Winner at No. 14 Indiana
First round – Boston College at Brown
Second round – Winner at No. 11 Connecticut
First round – Denver at UC Santa Barbara
Second round – Winner at No. 6 California
First round – Coastal Carolina at Duke
Second round – Winner at No. 7 South Carolina
First round – South Florida at UCF
Second round – Winner at No. 10 Michigan
First round – Old Dominion at Virginia
Second round – Winner at No. 15 Penn State
First round – Bucknell at Pennsylvania
Second round – Winner at No. 2 Maryland
What do you think of the bracket? Disappointed Akron and Maryland can't meet in the final? Which seeded team is most primed for an upset? Who do you think got robbed of an NCAA berth? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.