The NCAA men’s soccer committee recently released its pairing for their Division I soccer tournament.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons received the No. 1 overall seed, and six other Atlantic Coast Conference teams also received bids according to the Times-News. It is the fourth time the Demon Deacons (15-2-2), who are the top-ranked team in the NSCAA Poll, have been awarded the top-seed in the NCAA Tournament with the last time coming in 2008.
Wake Forest went undefeated in ACC play, 6-0-2, for the third time in program history but fell to Notre Dame in the conference tournament. The Deacons have the second-highest scoring team in the NCAA with 45 goals this season and fifth-best defense, surrendering 11 goals per NCAA.com. Freshman midfielder Jack Harrison leads Wake Forest with 27 points (8 goals, 11 assists). Harrison is the only player in ACC history to win Offensive Player and Rookie of the Year.
Wake Forest is 8-2-2 against teams ranked in the Top-30 RPI. The 2007 national champs are making their 13th Tournament appearance in the past 14th year and 19th overall.
The seven bids that the ACC received is the most for a conference this year. No. 2 seed Clemson (15-2-2), No. 5 North Carolina (14-1-3), No. 6 Syracuse (13-5-3), No. 7 Notre Dame (11-4-5), Boston College (9-7-1), and Virginia (9-4-3) are the other conference teams in the field. Syracuse received ACC’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament.
Georgetown (15-2-2) earned the No. 3 seed on the strength of winning its fifth Big East regular season championship and first ever Big East Tournament crown. The Hoyas are unbeaten in their last 16 games, which includes 13 straight victories.
Fourth-seeded Akron Zips (15-3-2) are making their 30th NCAA Tournament bid while UCLA (10-8-1) is making its 43rd appearance — the second most in Tournament history behind only St. Louis with 48.
Stanford (14-2-2) is the No. 8 seed and is followed by No.9 Ohio State (13-6-2), No. 10 Maryland (10-5-5), No. 11 Seattle (17-3-1), and No. 12 Creighton (17-3-0). No. 13 Denver (15-0-3), No. 14 South Florida (11-5-3), No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (13-6-2), and No. 16 Indiana (12-4-3) are the other top-seeds.
The NCAA Championship is made up of 24 automatic bid teams that won their respective conference tournament championship, or if the conference doesn’t have a tournament, the auto-bid team won the regular season championship. The 48-team field is filled out by 24 more at-large bids.
The ACC, American Athletic Conference (three), Big Ten (three) and Conference USA (three) accounted for the 15 of the 24 at-large bids.
Each of the 16 seeded teams receive byes in the first round, which begins November 19. The second round will be played November 22, third round on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, and the quarterfinals are December 4 and 5. The men’s College Cup is slated for Dec. 11 and 13 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Three teams — North Florida (10-6-1), Radford (14-3-2), and Utah Valley (14-5-2) — are making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Wake Forest, Indiana, Stanford, and Ohio State are the ranked teams in the top quarter of the bracket. Wake Forest will play the winner of Charlotte (10-5-3)-Radford (14-3-2) game while the winner of the Boston University (12-5-2)-Connecticut (9-5-6) game travels to Indiana.
In the bottom half of the bracket, Ohio State awaits the winner of Oakland (10-8-1)/Dayton (13-5-3), and Stanford gets the winner of Cal State-Fullerton (13-7-1)/Santa Clara (10-7-1).
Joining Akron in the bottom quarter of the bracket is North Carolina, Creighton, and Denver. The winner of North Florida (10-6-1)/Coastal Carolina (12-2-4) will play at North Carolina in the second round while Creighton gets the winner of Drake (12-4-3)/Kentucky (12-4-2).
In the bottom half of the bracket, SMU (13-2-4)/ Utah Valley (14-5-2) winner will go to Denver in the second round and the Akron gets the winner of LIU Brooklyn (11-5-4)/Rutgers (12-6-1).
Georgetown, South Florida, Seattle, and Syracuse are the seeded teams on the top half of the bracket. Georgetown and South Florida with play its second round match against the winner of Lehigh (13-5-3)/Hofstra (13-7-0) and Vermont (11-6-3)/Boston College (9-7-1), respectively.
In the bottom half of the bracket, Cal Poly (11-4-5)/UCLA (10-8-1) winner will play at Seattle in the second round while Syracuse awaits the winner of Hartwick (11-5-3)/Dartmouth (11-5-1).
Notre Dame, UC Santa Barbara, and Maryland are the ranked teams that will have to get past Clemson to reach the semifinals. Tulsa (7-6-6), FIU (12-6-1), Rider (14-5-1), Virginia (9-4-3, Furman (8-5-5), South Carolina (11-7-1), Winthrop, (10-6-2) and Elon (13-5-1) join those four in the lower quarter of the bracket. Notre Dame hosts the winner of Tulsa/FIU and Maryland hosts Rider/Virginia, while UC Santa Barbara hosts South Carolina/Furman and Clemson hosts Elon/Winthrop.
[photo courtesy of ACC men’s soccer twitter]