NCAA Tournament Field set: Akron facing Indiana, Stanford and St. John's in as bubble teams

Patrick Mullins

The NCAA Tournament Field was announced on Monday afternoon and there weren’t a ton of real surprises save for one extremely juicy first-round match-up.

Defending national champion Indiana will have an extremely tough road to a repeat as the Hoosiers were paired with Akron in easily the best first-round match-up of the 48-team tournament.

The Hoosiers, which overcame a losing regular-season record to win the Big 10 tournament, will have to knock off the Zips to earn a second-round match-up against Big East champion Marquette.

The bubble was once again unkind to several teams that just missed out on the tournament. Gonzaga, Illinois-Chicago, Saint Louis and UAB all failed to make the cut, while Stanford, St. John’s, Northwestern and VCU were among the teams to grab the final at-large spots in the field.

UCLA was awarded the No. 1 seed in the field, with Pac-12 champion Washington grabbing the No. 2 spot. Notre Dame is No. 3, while California edged out Maryland for the No. 4 spot despite losing three of their final four regular season matches.

Here is the full field and first-round schedule for the NCAA Tournament, which kicks off with first-round action on Thursday.


(First round matches set for Thursday, second round matches set for Sunday)

Elon vs. Clemson, winner vs. (1) UCLA

UConn vs. Quinnipiac, winner vs. (16) UMBC

Akron vs. Indiana, winner vs. (9) Marquette

Delaware vs. St. John’s, winner vs. (8) Virginia


Penn vs. Providence, winner vs. (5) Maryland

North Carolina vs. South Florida, winner vs. (12) UC-Irvine

Coastal Carolina vs. E. Tennessee State, winner vs. (13) Charlotte

Northwestern vs. Bradley, winner vs. (4) California


Wisconsin vs. Milwaukee, winner vs. (3) Notre Dame

VCU vs. Navy, winner vs. (14) Wake Forest

Louisville vs. Denver, winner vs. (11) Michigan State

Old Dominion vs. Drexel, winner vs. (6) Georgetown


William & Mary vs. George Mason, winner vs. (7) New Mexico

Penn State vs. St. Francis, winner vs. (10) C Santa Barbara

Stanford vs. Loyola Marymount, winner vs. (15) Cal State-Northridge

Creighton vs. Seattle, winner vs. (2) Washington


What do you think of the tournament field? Which team that didn’t make it did you think should have been included? Which team are you happiest to see make the field? Who do you see winning it all?

Share your thoughts below.

    • fischy

      I guess, if you’re view is limited to state boundaries. On the other hand. the Maryland/DC/Virginia region has 9 teams, as well, and it’s a lot smaller than California. None of the schools are even 200 miles apart, which is less than half the distance between San Diego and San Francisco. If you throw in Delaware, the Mid-Atlantic has 10 teams in the tournament (without counting Pennsylvania schools in the mix).


      • fischy

        For that matter, there are 6 schools from the Carolinas, and two of the biggest (NC State and USC) didn’t make it.


      • fischy

        If we’re comparing apples to apples — in the 700 miles between Myrtle Beach and Providence (the Carolinas, up through the Mid-Atlantic states, Pennsylvania, NY, CT and RI), you’ll find 23 of the schools in the field. That’s basically half the field….within the same mileage as California top-to-bottom.


      • Brian

        But no California teams from way South (like San Diego) or way North (like Sacremento) made the field. All the Cali teams are between the LA area and the San Fran Area. I believe teh furthest North is Cal and furthest South in Irvine. That’s still roughly 400 miles apart though.


      • Brian

        *Sacramento (Which I know is pretty far south of the Oregon border, but I couldn’t think of any further North D1 Cali soccer programs off the top of my head)


  • James

    Not that it ultimately will make a difference, but how did Washington win the Pac-12, but UCLA get seeded higher? Is it based off NSCAA rankings?


    • Ives Galarcep

      Nothing is based off the NSCAA rankings, which are pretty poor.

      UCLA had a better strength of schedule and they finished 1-0-1 against Washington head-to-head. UCLA wound up losing Pac-12 by virtue of a pair of draws vs. Oregon State. UCLA also has wins vs. Indiana, UCSB, Can State Northridge, Stanford (2X) and Cal. Washington’s big wins were Stanford (2X), Cal and Seattle (along w/tying UConn).


      • Dinho

        And, UC Irvine beats UCLA, Louisville, (ties Indiana) and beats Northridge three times…. but only gets 12. Lame.


  • Jason Maxwell

    Washington should be ranked #1, they did finish above UCLA in the Pac-12 :D.

    I’d love to se a Seattle – Washington matchup.


    • Quit whining about soccer in the US

      I am going. Should be a good game if Seattle gets past Creighton.


  • Steevens

    U Wisconsin-Madison vs. U Wisconsin -Milwaukee in the play-in round AND U Washington against Seattle U if Seattle beat Creighton.

    I am torn between feeling these sort of local matchups are great for the fan experience and probably ticket sales, and feeling that local rivals should be kept apart until later rounds.


  • beto

    my pick: final four Uconn vs. Maryland / Washington vs. Georgetown – Washington over Maryland in the final.


  • Jason

    How did Creighton and St. John’s make the tournament?

    Creighton didn’t beat any teams of note, and lost 8 games, yet they get a home game over Providence who made the big east championship final. Keep in mind that they lost to Seton Hall, William and Mary, and lost at home to Villanova. AND THEY LOST TO PROVIDENCE TWICE IN A ROW?!?!?!

    Meanwhile, St. John’s didn’t even make their conference tournament, and lost to Xavier at home. Yet, Xavier gets bypassed when they had the chance to win their conference on the last day of the season. and finished the conference in 3rd.

    I wonder if Masur and Bolowich are a part of the selection committee?!?!


    • adam

      Stanford is a little more puzzling to me. So they beat an overrated Cal team to end the season… what else did they do this year? I know that’s a hard conference to play in, but… it’s not “3-5-2 is good enough” hard. They’d be neutral-field dogs to half of the ACC teams that didn’t make the tourney.

      Could say the same thing about Northwestern: they finished the season 3-6-3 and are hosting a match? Ridiculous.


  • Rob218

    Ives, how does the NCAA justify not giving Maryland a four seed or higher?

    Compared to Notre Dame – they drew 1-1 in South Bend, they shared the ACC regular season title, and Maryland won the conference championship while ND was knocked out in the semis.

    Compared to Cal – Maryland lost to Cal in OT, but it was the second game of the season and at Cal. Does the NCAA give that much credibility to a game played two and a half months ago? I find that hard to believe when Maryland won its last seven games and their conference championship and Cal has lost four of its last seven games to close the regular season.

    The NCAA dropped the ball! Doesn’t matter though! We’ll win it regardless!


    • Jason

      But Rob, they only won the regular and postseason titles in the most difficult conference in the country. How is that deserving of a top seed?


  • Zippy Rules

    This selection is a testament to the shameful politics of college soccer that have plagued the “system” forever and will seemingly never end. Need I say more than tournament bound Creighton or unseeded Akron? Shameful for schools that killed it and can’t get a sniff.


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