Conference tournaments end this weekend and this time next Monday we will be able to break down the brackets and make some picks for both the men and women’s NCAA tournament fields. If you are a fan of college soccer, this has to be your favorite time of the season. Lots of questions to still ponder but I think you can almost guess who will get what and where teams will go.
The men’s field is 48 teams, so selection can and will be tough with the amount of talented teams out there. Four teams will get hosts seeds for the entire trip to the final four (in St. Louis). Right now you can pick between 6 or 7 schools to get one of those four spots. I have my own ideas and in a way I hope I am right since it would largely effect WVU.
My top four seeds for the men’s bracket are:
- WVU – if the Mountaineers win the Big East, this will ring more true than ever. They currently own the nation’s best record at 15-1-2. Even if they come up short in New Jersey this weekend I believe WVU has done enough this season to get a least one of the top four spots in the NCAA field.
- Wake Forest – The Decons have been coming on stronger and stronger and I believe they will lock up the ACC this weekend in Maryland. It won’t be easy though, and it wouldn’t surprise me that if they do win the ACC they could end up at number one. Really whoever wins the ACC should and will be a top four seed if not THE top seed.
- Maryland – thanks to homefield advantage in the ACC tournament, the Terps should get a top seed in the NCAA bracket, though as runner up in the ACC title game…I think Wake has them beat
- California – Some think SMU, others think another ACC team, but I am going out west, mainly since the west does need a host and Cal is about it…maybe Santa Clara could snag this spot but I think Cal is it
The next four seeds are a little bit differnet, they get the right to be home for a while but once the quarterfinal hits, they will have to travel
5. Virginia – if you haven’t noticed the ACC will dominate the top 8 here…
6. SMU – The Mustangs have been in the top 3 all season, but that one loss against UAB will hurt them
7. Duke – could very well win the ACC too
8. Santa Clara – could flip-flop with Cal
I won’t get into the rest of the 48 team field because I don’t have all night to speculate things but I do see the ACC getting four teams in the top 8 seeds and another team (Clemson or UNC) right out side the top 8. The Big East will and should send 7 teams (WVU, Notre Dame, UConn, Rutgers, Providence, Cincinnati, St. John’s) and could send one more (South Florida).
Don’t be too surprised if WVU gets a team like VT or Campell waiting for them in the second round of the tournament (top seeds get a bye in the first round).
Now as for the women, things are a little more open as they field a bracket of 64 teams. Its like March Madness but only in November.
It is hard to seperate much between the top teams in women’s soccer. Some say its UNC and some believe it is Notre Dame. Some also like UCLA and Santa Clara. Its tough but I expect each of those four teams that I just mentioned to be the top four teams (or your number one seeds so to speak) for this bracket.
As for your "number 2 seeds" I like WVU, Florida State, Portland and Texas A & M. These teams will be home until the quarterfinal matches. You could also make a case for Oklahoma State, Penn State, Florida and Illinois for one of these spots. A lot does come down to regional brackets and what nots that I don’t even want to get into.
I think the Big East will send 6 but out of those 6 it could be interesting. Notre Dame, WVU, Villanova and I believe by now Rutgers are a sure thing for the ladies field. After that it could come down to the following four teams: UConn, St. John’s, Marquette, and Louisville. And really, the Big East could get lucky and send 7 or 8. It is always interesting to see who gets selected and who doesn’t in this case.
Again, Monday night we will know more for sure when both brackets are released on ESPNews. However, we do know that this weekend’s games will easily impact anything that goes into the brackets. Might see a few surprises and we might not.