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NCAA Tournament Field is set

The NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament field has been set and there weren’t too many real surprises.

Notre Dame, Maryland, Georgetown and UConn were given the top four seeds in the tournament, with all but Maryland representing the Big East, which had a record eight teams selected for the tournament.

One of the bigger surprises of the announcement of the field was the fact that SBI No. 1 Akron, the top team in every major poll in the nation, and the No. 2 ranked team in the RPI, received the No. 5 overall seed in the tournament.

As for surprise teams to make the field. Michigan made the field as an at-large selection despite a 10-9-1 record.

Here is the field for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament:


Bracket 1

Cleveland State (11-5-3) vs. Michigan State (11-9-1), winner vs. (1) Notre Dame

Xavier vs. Kentucky, winner vs. (16) Indiana

UMBC (11-4-5) vs. Old Dominion (11-3-2), Winner vs. (9) North Carolina (15-3-2)

FDU (9-5-6) vs. St. John’s (10-4-4), winner vs. Saint Louis (16-4-0) (8)


Bracket 2

Niagara (13-1-4) vs. Michigan (10-9-1), winner vs. (5) Akron (17-1-2)

Air Force (10-8-4) vs. Washington (12-4-3), winner vs. (12) Creighton (15-3-2)

Lafayette (9-7-4) vs. Virginia (9-6-4), winner vs. (13) New Mexico (16-3-1)

Boston College (8-5-5) vs. Northeastern (13-2-4), winner vs. (4) UConn (


Bracket 3

UAB (10-7-2) vs. Charlotte ( 14-3-3), Winner vs. (3) Georgetown (17-3-1)

Syracuse (12-6) vs. Cornell (15-1), winner vs. (14) VCU

Florida Gulf Coast (11-5-2) vs. South Florida (8-5-4), Winner vs. (11) Tulsa (13-5-1)

San Diego (11-8) vs. Cal State Northridge (15-6), winner vs. (6) UCLA


Bracket 4

Western Illinois (7-8-5) vs. Northwestern (11-5-4), Winner vs. (7) Marquette

Winthrop (12-8-1) vs. SMU (10-5-4), winner vs. (10 Louisville

Elon (15-4-2) vs. Coastal Carolina 18-2-2), Winner vs. (15) Wake Forest

Brown (12-2-3) vs. Drexel (12-3-3), winner vs. (2) Maryland


Here is the Tournament Bracket.

Here are some thoughts on the tournament field:

Akron being a No. 5 seed instead of a top four seed, and having the home-field advantage that goes with that, is absurd. The Zips are the top team in the nation in every major poll, and had one of the toughest schedules around, but lost out to UConn, which played more top teams because of the strength of the Big East, but also lost several games.

Michigan sneaked into the tournament despite a 10-9-1 record. They did boast a strong strength-of-schedule, and did finish the year on a strong note, but nine losses is nine losses (and two of them were unimpressive multi-goal losses to Bowling Green and Cleveland State). There were teams who could definitely make an argument for being more deserving.

While Michigan did get in, regular season Big Ten champion Penn State did not. The Nittany Lions fell to eventual Big Ten Tournament champions Michigan State in the conference tournament, finishing with a 9-5-3 record. They suffered losses against Georgetown, Akron and Indiana during the season, while tying Michigan at Michigan. How they missed out and Michigan made the tournament is a head-scratcher.

South Florida was another interesting selection. They finished the year with just eight wins, ended with a 2-3-3 record in their final eight matches, and didn’t qualify for the Big East Tournament, but made the NCAA Tournament AND will host a first-round game against an opponent (Florida Gulf Coast) they have already beaten badly (3-0).

Furman was one of the surprising snubs, though their weak non-conference schedule and a quarterfinal loss in their conference tournament cost them.

SIU-Edwardsville also had a strong case for a tournament berth. They finished with a 13-7 record, lost to Creighton in the MVC final, and suffered close losses to Akron, Creighton (twice) and Indiana. Ultimately though, the rest of their schedule wasn’t the strongest.

West Virginia is another team that came into the year with high hopes, but a lack of quality wins, and a pair of late-season losses to Northern Illinois ultimately cost the Mountaineers.

Out West, only three California schools made the tournament, with CSU-Bakersfield and UC-Davis missing out. UCSB crashed and burned to finish the season, and you have to wonder how their late-season collapse hurt other teams out West.


What do you think of the field? Which snub are you most surprised by? Which team made the field that you didn’t think would? What match-up are you most looking forward to in the early rounds?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Who got SCREWED more………Akron or SIUE?
    I guess unless you are in the Big East or ACC it means nothing to get a # 1 seed? After the four-year run Caleb has had at mighty Akron–their schedule and hard work means—NOTHING to the selection committee? Who is on this Kangaroo (Sorry Zippy) Court? If the Zips can win the tittle again this year, they wil all look like a bunch of know-nothings who sat in a room with no information that made these ‘decisions’!

  2. Turds-

    I will be in Evanston for WIU v NORTHWESTERN! Country kids vs hipsters!!!!!

    WIU has a really good chance, this NW is really bad. So is WIU but very beatable for a wiu squad that plays a very disruptive unorthodox style. Hopefully, coach Fitz will be there with a dumb look on his face and his mouth open and than he will yell some random football jargon and talk about the student athlete experience.

    WIU 2-1 in OT , goal off a set piece scramble in the box.

    NW fans get your skinny jeans ready!!!

  3. Quick thoughts.

    Penn State definitely robbed!

    Surprised Akron fell to #5. Okay with Notre Dame and Maryland at #1 and #2.

    Shocked UNC fell to #9. Three losses on the season with two of them to Maryland shouldn’t have dropped them that far.

    Hope to see a rematch of Maryland and Wake. I want revenge. Also excited to see Maryland go up against UCONN or Akron in the College Cup.

    Prediction – Maryland wins it all.

  4. Welcome back Air Force!! Go Falcons! Need to check for Michigan alums on the selection committee — over regular season champ Penn State, really?

  5. How does USF get in over Villanova ? It helps that Ray Reid (UConn coach) is on selection committee and George Kiefer (USF coach) was his ass’t before USF.

    Any more questions…

    • thank Ray Reid fact explains everything.. I was so curious. the lost the last 3 out of 4 and even thought thye beat St. John.s they lost to DePaul in the last game of the season and DePaul didn’t win a single Big East game. If you read the news releases coach was complaining that injuries hurt them – but when you look at player for player game time from beginning to end – only one player appeared to miss time due to injury. AND then they seed them like they did – in a bracket with two teams they have already played??? – a travesty – although they will be missing 3 players from that original FGCU game – Sweat gto a red card at DePaul and another player an accumulation of yellows plus GK is different.

  6. What about a team like Villanova? 12-6-2 and 4-3-2 in toughest conference in the country with 1 goal loses at Uconn, and at Lousiville with a tie against USF and an away tie at St. Johns . and qualified for the Big East Tournament. Seems has more claim to be the last Big East team in over South Florida

  7. Something else that really sticks out for me. How does the NCAA match up Coastal Carolina and Elon in the first round? These 2 teams are both capable of going deep into the tournament and yet find themselves versing each other in the very first round? Shocking. You’d think they would both have a home game in the first round. Plus I can see Elon being upset having beaten Wake 1-0 this year then seeing Wake get the bye. Coastal’s chances of a bye had to have been ruined from losing in the conf final to Winthrop.

  8. This is why I don’t understand why NCAA sports aren’t done on pure qualification, like the Premier League is with the Champions League. There should be a set number of qualification spots per confernce, and the regular season winners get one and the playoffs decide the rest. That would make more sense than a subjective application process, and that way there can be no arguments.

    • Too many conferences of varying sizes. PL has 20 teams and they all play each other a set amount of times and travel isn’t an issue.

      • I believe what Hugo is suggesting is that there is a 5-year ranking system based on the performance of each conference in the NCAA tournament which will determine the number of teams that make it into the tournament the next year. Each conference could use its own qualification rules (regular season, conference championship, etc.) but they know how many teams will qualify at the beginning of the season.

  9. “Out West, only three California schools made the tournament, with CSU-Bakersfield and UC-Davis missing out.”

    Of course, California had a higher Massey then both of those squads and they didn’t make it. Someone needs a new set of power ratings.

    • The fact that the Massey ratings have Cornell ranked tenth tells me all I need to know about that system. Ultimately, a big group of Cal schools were pretty closely matched, and all could make an argument over some of the teams that did make it.

      • Seeing as its the only public ratings system that a top pro gambler once bought off the market I’m going to default to Massey until someone comes up with a provably better metric.

      • Going to bet that gambler didn’t buy the site for its college soccer metrics. It’s nice that you’ve decided to go all-in with that site, but save it for some place else.

      • Well, college soccer betting is pretty limited. Billy Walters was interested in the college football ratings – which btw use(d) almost exactly the same algorithm.

        I oughtta know – I was using those same ratings to make hay in college football totals and wasn’t happy to see them pulled down.

        I’m sure given the different distributional characteristics of soccer that a better set of ratings can be constructed for the college game. And maybe has.

        I’d think a leading soccer writer would know of such a metric. In the meantime I’ll take the techniques and analyses of the respected stathead crowd like KenPom, Massey, Tom Tango et al over anecdotal stuff like “Cornell ranked tenth?” any day of the week.

      • You done with the infomercial? I can say with certainty that neither Ken Pom, Massey or Tom Tango know jack about college soccer and it’s pretty hilarious to have you citing their college football success with why it would work for college soccer (since lord knows those are close to the same thing).

      • Infomercial? Yeah, I guess I’m a stooge for statheads. I prefer rigorous analysis to anecdote. You should too.

        Stat analysis informed by knowledge of soccer >>> stat analysis >>> knowledge of soccer

      • Dave, what you’re continually failing on is the fact that those precious rankings of yours are hardly “rigorous analysis” but simply some static equations brought over from other sports with college soccer stats plugged in. Now, if you tell me that site does do actual college analysis beyond some standard charts/formulas I’d be interested, but it doesn’t really go beyond that (unless of course that’s a job you do for that site, which might explain your blind loyalty to their system). You’re confusing thoroughness in other sports with thoroughness in their college soccer metrics. I don’t see much there to suggest that’s the case. We’ll agree to disagree.

      • Read my replies carefully. Am not associated with Massey. I myself was disappointed when the Masseys were taken off the market by Billy Walters. Lasted something like 3 years if I recall. Time flies.

        And soccer isn’t *so* different that systems like Massey’s aren’t much, much better then shoot-from-the-hip.

        There is great stat analysis out there for soccer. Unfortunately the Transfer Price Index ain’t gonna work for the college environs.

      • Is Massey better than nothing? Probably, but I’ll stack up my own informed analysis against Massey any day of the week. And no, I don’t just shoot from the hip. I spend plenty of time watching and tracking college soccer. I won’t say I do it more than anybody, but I do it far more than most.

        Please don’t mistake my comments for being a non-believer in statistical analysis, but I what i am extremely skeptical of is of people who follow stats blindly and get behind anything that is passed off as a data analysis just because it’s a neat set of numbers. I’ve noticed this trend in American soccer lately of people trying desperately to find data analysis formulas that work, but rarely do and rarely are as reliable or useful as those found in other sports and walks of life (like a Nate Silver for instance).

        When reliable systems are created, I’ll gladly get on board, but forgive me if I don’t jump behind just any data system because it’s the only thing around.

  10. So there are 48 teams in the tourney and Michigan’s Massey Rating them places them at #38. What is that again about not deserving this?

    • First, who ever said the Massey Rating was actually a good measure? Second, it isn’t 48 at large bids, so saying they deserve it as the 38th team isn’t exactly accurate. There are two teams that had higher Massey ratings than Michigan that didn’t make the tournament (Stanford and Cal), so even using those ratings Michigan’s selection is suspect.

      • Dude what? The consensus #1 ranked team in the country is only a 2 goal favorite over a .500 team that they already beat and Niagara? You know we’re talking about soccer right? In the year 2012?

  11. How can South Florida be selected when they didnt make the Big East tournament and there are teams who made the Big East tourney that didnt make the NCAAs? Arent there more deserving teams?

    • South Florida played a very tough schedule, which probably helped their RPI ( if they use one in college soccer). As Ives points out, they have already badly beaten their first round opponent. IMF they do it again, they will face a seeded Tulsa team that they have also beaten this season, and beaten on the road. They beat Michigan, again on the road. They beat St. John’s. The only bad loss is to Akron. And, last year they went to the final eight in the tournament. Lots of strong reasons to include them.


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