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Conference Play Around The Country and the Impact It May Have on the NCAA Tournament Field

A look at the twenty-four conferences and the impact that conference tournaments may have on the NCAA Tournament field. You can count on several unexpected conference tourney winners which will impact at-large selections. Who looks to be in and who looks to be on the bubble. 


Atlantic Coast Conference                     

All twelve members qualified for the conference tournament.  Number one seed Clemson (14-1-1/6-1-1), number two seed Virginia (14-1-1/6-1-1), number three seed Wake Forest (13-3-1/6-2-0) and number four seed Pittsburgh (8-6-2/6-2-0) earned a first-round bye. Syracuse, NC State, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame advanced to the quarterfinals. It seemed likely that one of the four seeds would be upset but that was not to be the case. Virginia topped Syracuse 2-1, Pitt defeated NC State 2-1, Wake Forest advanced past Virginia Tech in penalty kicks, and Clemson defeated Notre Dame 3-0.  

The semifinals take place on Wednesday, November 13 with Wake Forest traveling to face Virginia and Pitt traveling to Historic Riggs Field to take on Clemson.    

Wake Forest is very capable of winning it all. Pitt is a long shot but they have established that on a given day they can beat anyone in the country.  Clemson and Virginia are the frontrunners. They didn’t face each other during regular season play.  Clemson lost to Wake Forest 3-2 in overtime in Winston Salem and tied Virginia Tech 0-0 at home in conference play. Virginia lost to Pitt 2-0 and tied Boston College 1-1 in regular season conference play.  If Clemson and Virginia advance to face each other in the conference final it will be a matchup between Clemson’s high-powered attack led by Robbie Robinson (15g, 9a), Kimarni Smith (13g, 5a) and Grayson Barber (9g, 7a) and a tenacious Virginia defense that has allowed a total of only five goals this year. 

NCAA Tournament Outlook – Virginia, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Louisville, Boston College look to be locks for a berth based on their RPI. NC State, Syracuse and Pitt are on the bubble with a very good chance of earning an at-large berth. 


America East Conference

The top six teams in the regular season qualified for the conference tournament. New Hampshire (12-1-3) and Vermont (11-5-1) are the two top seeds and earned a first-round bye. They tied 1-1 when they faced each other last week in regular season play. New Hampshire and Vermont are the frontrunners and will likely meet in the final.

UMass Lowell (9-7-1) upset Albany to advance to the semifinals to face New Hampshire on Wednesday, November 13. New Hampshire topped UMass Lowell 4-0 when the two met back on October 19. Hartford (11-4-4) topped Binghamton 3-0 and will face Vermont in the other semifinal. Vermont defeated Hartford 3-0 when the two teams met during the regular season. The championship contest is on tap for the weekend.

NCAA Tournament Outlook – New Hampshire looks to be a lock for an at-large berth with an RPI of seventeen Everyone else will likely have to win the tournament and the automatic berth in order to go dancing.


American Athletic Conference

The top six teams in the regular season qualified for the conference tournament. UCF (13-1-2) and SMU (14-1-1) are the two top seeds and earned a first-round bye.  UCF and SMU tied 3-3 when the faced each other in Dallas during regular season play with SMU coming from two goals down to secure the tie.

Number three seeded South Florida (11-5-1) defeated number six seeded Connecticut 1-0 to advance to the semifianls to face SMU on Wednesday, November 13. The Mustangs thumped South Florida 3-0 in Tampa when they squared off during regular season play. Number five seeded Temple (8-7-2) defeated number four seeded Memphis 2-1 in overtime to move forward to face UCF in the other semifinal.  UCF defeated Temple 2-0 when the two teams faced each other on September 27. 

The championship contest is scheduled for Saturday, November 16 in Orlando.  

UCF and SMU are the prohibitive favorites to advance to the championship contest but both South Florida and Temple have played well down the homestretch and are capable of pulling off the upset. South Florida comes into the contest off a three game winning streak. Temple is 5-1-1 over their last seven contests. 

NCAA Tournament Outlook – UCF and SMU are locks for an at-large berth based on their RPI if they don’t win the conference tournament. Memphis was on the bubble at one time but losses in five out of their last seven contests derailed their chances of an at-large berth. South Forida and Temple are on the fringe of the bubble RPI wise and would likely need to win the conference tournament in order to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tourney. 


ASUN Conference

Top six teams in the regular season qualified for the conference tournament. NJIT and FGCU are the two top seeds and earned a first-round bye.

NJIT defeated FGCU on the road when the two faced each other in regular season play. North Florida advanced to face FGCU and Stetson advanced to face NJIT in the semifinals. FGCU (9-7-2) defeated North Florida 2-1 behind goals from Ivan Rosales and O'Vonte Mullings to advance to the championship match. NJIT topped Stetson 3-2 tp advance to the championship game for the first time in the history of the program.

FGCU will travel to Mal Simon Stadium in Newark to face NJIT in the championship match on Saturday, November 16. NJIT is powered by Rene White (17g, 2a) and FGCU by O’Vonte Mullings (9g, 2a) and Shak Adams (4g, 5a). Both teams have top notch finishers who are capable of taking over a contest. Give NJIT the edge due to the homefield advantage but give FGCU the edge experience wise. It should be a great college soccer match. 

NCAA Tournament Outlook – The tournament winner will represent the ASUN in the NCAA Tournament. No at-large berths will be forthcoming. 


Atlantic 10 Conference

The top eight teams in regular season play in the thirteen member Atlantic 10 qualified for the conference tournament. Rhode Island (12-3-2/7-1-0) is the number one seed and VCU (7-7-2/6-1-1) is the second seed.

Rhode Island comes into the tourney on an eight-game winning streak.  Rhode Island’s lone loss in conference play was a 1-0 defeat by Saint Louis. VCU lost to Rhode Island 2-1 and tied Fordham 0-0. 

Four teams are left standing. Number one seed Rhode Island will face number five seed Fordham in one semifinal while number two seed VCU will tangle with number three seed Dayton in the other. The seminfinals will take place on Friday, November 15 at Jack Coffey Field at Fordham University. 

Rhode Island is the team to beat but number three seed Dayton with firepower provided by Jonas Fjeldberg (11g, 9a), Kingsford Adjei (10g, 5a) and Toluwalase Oladeinbo (8g, 1a) has won seven straight since losing to VCU 2-1 in overtime back on October 9 and look to be very capable of getting hot and winning it. Rhode Island defeated Fordham 3-1 on October 5 but Fordham will have the home field advantage this time which could make a difference. VCU under Dave Giffard is always a tough opponent to face. 

NCAA Tournament Outlook – The tournament winner will represent the Atlantic 10 in the NCAA Tournament. No at large berths are anticipated.


Big East Conference 

The top six teams in the conference qualified for the conference tournament. Number one seed Georgetown (14-1-2/7-0-2) and number two seed Saint John’s (13-3-1/6-2-1) earned a first-round bye. 

The semifinals will take place on Wednesday November 13 with Butler (11-6-1/4-4-1) facing Georgetown and Providence (13-5-0/6-3-0) advancing to face St. John’s. The championship match is slated for Sunday November 17. 

Georgetown has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball and is the clear favorite to win the Big East Tournament but their margin for error is relatively small if they don’t bring their A game. The Hoyas tied DePaul 0-0 and Creighton 1-1 in conference regular season contests. Butler lost to Georgetown 3-0 when they faced each other back on September 20. Since that time Butler has recorded wins over the likes of Indiana, Providence and Akron

St. John’s is led on the offensive side of the ball by sophomore forward Tani Oluwaseyi (10g, 4a) who has contributed five game-winning goals but the Red Storm has faltered down the home stretch going 1-2-1 in their last four contests including a 3-0 loss to Georgetown, a 1-1 tie with Seton Hall and a 2-0 loss to Providence. A confident Providence side (13-5-0/6-3-0) is peaking at the right time with five straight wins. 

NCAA Tournament Outlook – Georgetown and St. John’s are locks for a berth based on their RPIs.  Providence and Butler are on the bubble with their chances of an at-large berth possibly hinging on a good showing in the conference tournament.


Big South Conference

The top six teams in the conference qualified for the conference tournament. Number one seed Campbell (14-2-2/8-0-0) under head coach Dusin Fonder and number two seed High Point (12-6-0/7-1-0) under the direction of first year head coach Zach Haines earned first round byes.

Campbell is led on the offensive side of the ball by junior forward Thibaut Jacquel and on the defensive side by backs Gideon Betz, Franck Momo, Moses Mensah and Bissafi Dotte and goalkeeper Samuel Lechuga. Campbell topped HIgh Point 2-1 on the road when the two squared off on November 2. 

Number five seed Presbyterian (6-12-1) advanced to face Campbell and number three seed Gardner-Webb (9-7-2) advanced to face High Point in the semifinals on Wednesday, November 13 with the winner of those two games squareing off on Sunday in the championship contest.

Campbell thumped Presbyterian 6-2 back on October 12 but Presbyterian has performed well in the tournament before so Campbell can't afford to take them lightly. High Point could also have trouble getting past a very competitve Gardner-Webb team if they are unable to finish the scoring opportunities that come their way. The Panthers slipped past Gardner-Webb 1-0 with Ilias Kosmidis (6g, 1a) scoring the lone goal of the match in the seventy-seventh minute when the two teams faced each other during regular season play back on October 12.  

NCAA Tournament Outlook -  Campbell has an outside shot at an at-large berth but more likely than not only the winner of the conference tournament will secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  


Big Ten Conference

All nine members of the conference participated in the conference tournament. Four teams remain in contention with number one seed Indiana (13-2-3) facing number five seed Maryland (10-6-2) and number two seed Penn State (12-2-3)  facing number three seed Michigan (10-4-4)  in the semifinals on Friday, November 15 at College Park, Maryland. 

Indiana and Penn State are the frontrunners but there is a good chance that one of them will not advance to the final.  Michigan and Penn State tied when they played on September 27.  Michigan is undefeated in their last five contests with signature wins over Notre Dame and Maryland.   Penn State is undefeated in their last eight matches with notable wins over Pittsburgh and Maryland. This one could easily go either way depending on which team is able to settle into a rhythm and set the pace. 

Indiana has won five straight since they were topped by Maryland in College Park on October 18. Indiana is a young team but the good news is that their freshman now have a season of experience under their belts.  Maryland is always dangerous and they have the advantage of playing at home. The Terps come into this one off losses to Penn State and Michigan before topping Northwestern 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament with a penalty kick by Eli Crognale the difference in the contest.  Maryland also has a lot of freshmen in their starting lineup and as a result are a bit unpredictable.  Defense may rule in this one if both teams play cautiously.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - Indiana, Penn State, Maryland all look to be a lock for an at-large berth with Michigan on the bubble perhaps needing a win to strengthen its case if they don't win the tournament and the automatic berth that goes with it.  


Big West Conference

Six teams qualified for the Big West Tournament.  The field has been narrowed down to number one seed UC Davis (12-4-2/5-1-1) and number two seed UC Santa Barbara (12-3-4/4-1-2) who will square off in the championship contest on Friday, November 15. 

UC Davis advanced by defeating Cal State Fullerton 2-0. UCSB advanced by topping CSUN 2-0.  UC Davis and UCSB tied 1-1 when the two teams faced each other on October 23 so this one easily could go either way.  UC Davis has gained momentum and improved as the season has progressed. They are rock solid on the defensive side of the ball led by senior goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley and have a balanced attack without one dominant goal scorer. 

UCSB has had difficulty at times balancing offensive pressure with stability on the defensive side of the ball and their track record in Big West Conference play is not good. Rodney Michael (5g, 8a) and freshman Finn Ballard McBride (9g, 2a) are the catalysts on the offensive side of the ball for the Gauchos with Ben Roach anchoring the defense in goal. 

This very competitive and interesting conference final could go either way.  

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The Big West should receive two invites. The winner will receive the automatic berth that goes with being the conference champion.  UCSB has an RPI of sixteen. UC Davis has an RPI of twenty-two.  The conference tournament loser looks to be in good shape for an at-large berth. Cal State Fullerton who began the season with an 8-0-1 record and was ranked is a long shot for an at-large berth. 


Colonial Athletic Association

Six teams qualified for the conference tournament with number one seed UNCW and number two seed James Madison earning a bye.  The teams have advanced as projected and the field has been narrowed down to UNCW (12-4-2/7-0-1) and James Madison (10-6-3/5-2-1) who will meet on Saturday, November 16 with the conference championship and automatic berth in the NCAA Tourney on the line.   

James Madison advanced to the finals by topping Hofstra in a contest that was determined by penalty kicks after it was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and overtime.  Manuel Ferriol converted a penalty kick in the ninth minute of regulation for James Madison.and Hendrik Hebbeker scored for Hofstra in the twentieth minute of the match. UNCW advanced by defeating William and Mary 2-1 behind a penalty kick from defender Danny Reynolds and a goal from forward Phillip Goodrum.

UNCW struggled somewhat at the beginning of the season finishing the month of September with a 4-3-1 mark but they have since jelled as a team and are undefeated in their last nine contests including a 1-0 win in overtime against James Madison on the road. Their attack is powered by Goodrum (11g, 4a) who has scored six goals in UNCW's last four contests. Freshman Gabriel Perrotta has been very productive in goal for the Seahawks with a 0.72 goals against average and eight shutouts.  

Manuel Ferriol (16g, 6a) is the go-to guy on the offensive side of the ball for James Madison while redshirt junior netminder TJ Bush anchors a defense that has allowed nineteen goals to date. James Madison is 1-3-2 in their last six contests with losses to Virginia 1-0, UNCW 1-0 and William and Mary 3-2.

Goodrum and Ferriol are both capable of creating havoc for opposing defenses so this one could come down to which one can be contained.  UNCW has momentum and they are playing at home so that gives them a slight edge but this one is too close to call and could come down to which goalkeeper is able to make the big saves.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The tournament winner will punch their ticket via the conference's automatic berth.  No at-large berth will be awarded.    


Conference USA

Six of the teams in the eight member conference qualified for the conference tournament with number one seed Marshall (13-2-3/5-1-1) and number two seed Charlotte (10-2-4/4-0-3) earning byes.  Number three seed FIU (9-2-5/4-2-1) will face number six seed South Carolina (7-8-2/2-5-0) and number four seed Kentucky (11-3-3/4-2-1) will square off with number five seed Florida Atlantic in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, November 13 in Norfolk, Virginia.

The winner of the Kentucky and FAU contest will advance to face Marshall and the winner of the FIU and South Carolina match will move foreward to face Charlotte in the semifinals on Friday, November 15. The championship contest will take place on Sunday, November 17.

This is a very balanced tournament field with all of the participants capable of getting hot and winning it. Marshall, Charlotte, FIU and Kentucky are the most likely candidates but the fact that FAU defeated Marshall and South Carolina topped FIU in regular season play is evidence of the parity in CUSA. 

Marshall tied Charlotte 0-0 and beat Kentucky 1-0, FIU 2-1 and South Carolina 2-0 during regular season play.  Charlotte tied Kentucky 2-2 and Marshall 0-0 and beat FAU 3-1 and South Carolina 4-0 during regular season play.  Kentucky tied Charlotte 1-1, beat FAU 3-0 and lost to FIU 2-1 and Marshall 1-0. FIU  thumped FAU 6-1, beat Kentucky 2-1, tied Charlotte 0-0 and lost to Marshall 2-1. Mix all that together and you have an unpredictable tournament that will be won by the team that is able to maximize its strengths.

Marshall is the most balanced of the teams with an attack led by Milo Yosef (11g, 3a) and Jamil Roberts (6g, 9a) that has scored a total of forty goals and a defense anchored by redshirt senior goalkeeper Paulo Pita that has allowed only fifteen. Charlotte anchored in goal by senior goalkeeper Elliot Panicco is rock solid on the defensive side of the ball having allowed a total of only ten goals to date. Kentucky is as talented as any team in the country but has had trouble on occasion putting together a full ninety minutes of play. FIU is very balanced on the offensive side of the ball but they seem to have peaked earlier in the year and will come into this one with a 0-2-2 record in their last four games. 

NCAA Tournament Outlook - Marshall with an RPI of seventeen and  Kentucky with an RPI of eighteen look to be locks for an at-large berth if they do not win the conference tournament and the automatic berth that accompanies it. Charlotte with an RPI of twenty-nine and FIU with an RPI of thirty-three look to be on the bubble with one of the two likely earning an at-large berth if they don't win the conference tournament depending on how they perform in the tournament and the number of upsets in conference tournaments.  


Horizon League

Six teams in the nine member conference qualified for the conference tournament.  Number one seed UIC (12-5-0/6-2-0) and number two seed Oakland (7-8-3/4-2-2) earned byes. 

Number six seed Milwaukee (10-6-2) upset number three seed Detroit Mercy 2-0 to advance to face UIC and number five seed Wright State (9-8-2) defeated number four seed Green Bay 1-0 with sophomore forward Ids Hannema contributing the game-winner to advance to face Oakland in the semifinals on Thursday, November 14 at Flames Field in Chicago.  The championship contest will take place on Saturday, November 16.

Milwaukee defeated UIC 3-2 when the two faced each other in the last game of regular season play with Milwaukee netting eight goals during an eight minute span. That contest should serve as a wakeup call for UIC.  The winner will have to put together a full ninety minutes of play.  UIC has a potent attack that has produced a total of forty-six goals but they have also allowed twenty-seven. 

Oakland slipped past Wright State 3-2 when the two teams faced each other on October 5.  Oakland netminder Sullivan Lauderdale had seven saves in the win. Both teams have had up and down seasons so this one should be interesting depending on which team brings their A game and is able to get the best of the run of the play and settle in.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The Tournament winner will receive the automatic berth. No at large berths will be awarded.


Ivy League

The Ivy League does not have a conference tournament. The winner of the regular season earns the Ancient Eight's automatic berth.  

Yale (12-2-2/5-1-0) won the regular season title and has punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.  Yale will close out regular season play with a contest with Princeton (10-3-3/2-1-3) on Saturday, November 16.  Yale won the Ivy League title for the first time since 2005. Mark Winhoffer (6g, 10a) and Miguel Yuste (7g, 3a) have been a key part of a Yale attack that has scored a total of thirty-two goals while sophomore Elian Haddock has been solid in goal for a defense that has allowed a total of only ten goals to date.

NCAA  Tournament Outlook - Yale will be the only team from the Ivy League in the NCAA Tournament. Princeton has had a good season but they have an RPI of seventy-eight which precludes an at-large berth.


 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference  

Six teams in the eleven team MAAC qualified for a spot in the conference tournament.  Number one seed Saint Peter's (12-5-0/9-1-0) and number two seed Quinnipiac (9-5-3/7-2-1) led by senior forward Eamon Whelan (9g, 1a) and freshman forward Tomas Svecula (6g, 4a) earned byes.

Marist (10-8-0) topped Manhattan 2-1 to advance to face Saint Peter's and Iona (12-5-1) defeated Rider 2-1 to advance to face Quinnipiac in the semifinals which will be played on Thursday, November 14.

Saint Peter's defeated Marist 3-2 in overtime when they faced each other on October 23. Iona defeated Quinnipiac 2-1 when they played on October 26 so don't count Iona out of it. Saint Peter's one loss in conference play was a 2-1 loss in overtime to Quinnipiac. Saint Peter's led by Dominic Laws (11g, 7a) and Jordan Jowers  (7g, 6a) comes into the tournament with nine straight wins since the loss to Quinnipiac.  The Peacocks are the frontrunner and should prevail but they are vulnerable if they take their foot off the gas on the defensive side of the ball.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The tournament winner will receive the automatic berth. There will be no at-large invites.   


Mid-American Conference  

Six teams qualified for the conference tournament.  Number one seed Akron (6-9-2/4-0-1) and number two seed Western Michigan (11-5-2/2-1-2) earned byes. 

Number four seed Bowling Green (12-6-1/2-3-0) defeated number number five seed NIU 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday night to advance to face number one seed Akron on Friday, November 15 in the semifinals. Junior Achille Robin converted a penalty kick to give the Falcons the edge they needed to survive and advance. Number six seed West Virginia topped number three seed SIUE 1-0 to advance to the semifinal round where they will face Western Michigan. The championship game will be played on Sunday, November 17.

Akron and Western Michigan tied 1-1 when they faced each other on October 20. This has not been a typical year for Akron who lost their first seven games of the year before securing their first win in October. Nonetheless, Akron remains the team to beat in the MAC Tournament.  David Egbo (7g, 4a) looks to be the key to Akron's offensive productivity which had been considerably less this year than in the past. Western Michigan has had a good year but a loss to NIU 3-2 and ties with Akron and SIUE dashed their hopes for a regular season MAC title in a year in which Akron was uncharacteristically vulnerable.    

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The winner of the MAC Tournament will be the only representative of the MAC in the NCAA Tournament.


Missouri Valley Conference

All six teams in the Missouri Valley Conference qualified for the conference tournament.  Number one seed Missouri State (16-0-0/10-0-0)and number two seed Loyola Chicago (10-4-3/6-1-2) received byes.

Number four seed Drake (7-8-1/4-5-1) faces number five seed Valparaiso (4-12-1/3-7-0) and number three seed Bradley (7-6-4/5-3-2) faces number six seed Evansville (2-14-1/0-10-0) on Wednesday, November 13.  The winner of the Drake and Valpo contest advances to face Missouri State and the winner of the Bradley and Evansville contest advances to face Loyola Chicago in the semifinals on Friday, November 15. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday, November 17.

Missouri State is among the most balanced teams in the country with an offense led by forwards Matthew Bentley (13g, 4a) and Josh Dolling (6g, 5a) that is averaging 2.44 goals per game and a defense led by redshirt junior goalkeeper Michael Creek that has allowed a total of only ten goals. The Bears defeated Drake 3-1, Valparaiso 3-2 in overtime, Bradley 2-1 and number two seed Loyola Chicago 2-1 during regular season play.  

Missouri State is clearly the front runner in the tournament but nonetheless their margin for error remains small. It is highly likely that Missouri State and Loyola Chicago will meet in the championship game. 

Loyola Chicago is powered on the offensive side of the ball by Aidan Megally (9g, 3a) and Justin Sukow (8g, 3a) and will have the advantage of playing at home. The Ramblers topped Evansville 2-1 and tied Bradley 0-0 and Drake 3-3 when they faced them in regular season play so they will have to bring their A game in order to have a shot at winning the tournament.  

Forward Gerit Wintermeyer (7g, 1a) is the main weapon in Bradley's attack. If he is on his game, Bradley could make a run to the title game.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - Missouri State has an RPI of eleven and is a lock for an at-large berth if they do not win the conference tournament. Everyone else will have to win the tournament and the automatic berth in order to go dancing.


Northeast Conference

The top four teams in the NEC qualified for the conference tournament. Merrimack won the NEC regular season title with a 9-0-0 mark in conference play. This was Merrimack's first year in NCAA Division I play therefore they are not eligible for post season play.

Number one seed Saint Francis (10-5-0/7-2-0) will face number four seed Fairleigh Dickinson (7-8-2/3-4-2) and number three seed Bryant (8-7-0/5-4-0) will face number two seed LIU (9-7-1/6-2-1) in the semifinals on Friday, November 15.  The championship match will take place on Sunday, November 17.

Saint Francis defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 3-1, Bryant 3-1 and lost to LIU 2-1 during regular season play.  The Red Flash is led on the offensive side of the ball by junior midfielder Lucas Rosa (11g, 2a) and freshman forward Felix Tonne (4g, 4a).  Rosa is an impact player with the ability to shred opposing defenses. LIU defeated Bryant 2-0 and Saint Francis 3-2 in overtime during regular season play.  Look for LIU powered by freshman forward Papa Ndoye (7g, 3a) and senior defender Kyle Parish (5g, 4a) to face Saint Francis in the title match.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The winner of the conerence tournament will be the only team from the NEC in the NCAA Tournament field.  


Pac-12 Conference

The Pac-12 does not have a conference tournament. The winner of the regular season earns the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. 

Washington (14-3-0/7-2-0) is in the driver's seat and will secure the regular season title if they beat Oregon State in their final regular season contest on Friday, November 15. Washington is coming off unexpected losses at home last week in Pac-12 play to California and Stanford. Stanford (13-1-3/6-1-2) is currently in second place and can take over the number one spot if Washington loses or ties Oregon State and Stanford wins their final regular season contest against California on Thursday.  Oregon State (8-5-2/5-2-2) is in the number three spot.  

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The Pac-12 will have two teams in the NCAA Tournament field. Washington and Stanford are both locks for an at-large berth regardless of whether or not they win the regular season title.   However seeding in the NCAA Tournament could be impacted by the outcome of their final games.


Patriot League

The top six teams in the Patriot League in regular season play earned a spot in the conference tournament.  Number one seed Lehigh and number two seed Loyola Maryland (10-7-1/6-1-0) earned byes.

Number six seed Bucknell (6-6-7/2-2-5) topped number three seed Navy to earn the right to face Lehigh and number four seed Lafayette (9-6-4/4-3-2) topped number six seed Colgate to advance to face Loyola Maryland in the semifinals on Tuesday, November 12. The championship contest will take place on Saturday, November 16.

Anything can happen in the Patriot League tournament. Historically seeding is not a reliable predictor of who will win the tournament. Lehigh and Bucknell tied 1-1 when the two teams played each other last Wednesday in regular season play. Bucknell has a balanced attack led by Matt Thorsheim (7g, 5a).  Lehigh (22-4-3/6-0-3) will counter with an attack powered primarily by Josh Luchini (11g, 2a.  Lehigh should prevail if they play to their potential but Brendan Nash will have Bucknell prepared to play so they could pull off the upset and advance to the final.

Loyola Maryland topped Lafayette 4-2 when the two met back on October 5.  Loyola Maryland has momentum and is unbeaten in their last six contests  This one is going to come down to whether or not Lafayette can contain a multi-dimensional Loyola Maryland attack led by Brian Saramago (8g, 9a), Josh Fawole (8g, 2a) and Barry Sharifi (6g, 3a).

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The winner of the conference tournament will be the only team from the Patriot League in the NCAA Tournament.  


Southern Conference

All seven members of the Southern Conference qualified for the conference tournament.  Number one seed Furman and number two seed UNCG earned byes. 

The tournament is down to number four seed Mercer who upset Furman 3-2 and UNCG who squeaked past number six seed Belmont 3-2 in overtime. Belmont advanced to face UNCG after upsetting number three seed ETSU 2-0.  

Mercer (13-6-0/3-3-0) and UNCG (9-8-1/5-1-0) will square off on Sunday, November 17 in Greensboro.  

UNCG defeated Mercer when the two teams met in Greensboro on October 29 in regular season play.  That contest was only the third time this year that Mercer was shutout. In order to prevail Mercer will need to get into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball while remaining organized defensively.  Forward Trevor Martineau (13g, 10a) is among those who Mercer head coach Brad Ruzzo will count on provide offensive punch.   

UNCG struggled during the first month of the year but under the guidance of first year head coach Chris Rich they jelled during the later part of the season and will come into the championship game on a four game winning streak.  Forwards Albert Pedra (10g, 2a) and Micah Albert (7g, 3a) are among those who Rich will look to for offensive firepower.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The conference tournament winner will be awarded an automatic berth. No at-large berths will be extended.


Sun Belt Conference

All six members of the Sun Belt Conference qualified for the conference tournament.  Number one seed Central Arkansas (10-6-1/4-1-0) and number two seed Coastal Carolina (8-7-2/3-2-0) were awarded byes.

The tournament will get underway on Wednesday, November 13 with rivals number five seed Georgia State (10-4-3/2-3-0) and number four seed Georgia Southern (7-8-2/2-3-0) facing each other and number six seed Appalachian State (10-6-1/2-3-0) and number three seed Howard (5-11-1/2-3-0) squaring off. The winner of the Georgia State and Georgia Southern contest will face Central Arkansas. The winner of the Howard and App. State match will tangle with Coastal Carolina.

Central Arkansas lost its first regular season conference contest to Appalachian State 1-0 but won its next four contests to secure the regular season title.  Central Arkansas has an explosive offense lead by Niklas Brodacki (11g, 3a). The Bears are the clear frontrunner but this tournament is wide open with any of the participants capable of getting hot and winning it.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - Central Arkansas is on the bubble but looks to have a good shot at an at-large berth if they don't win the tournament and the automatic invite that goes with it. Everyone else must win the tournament to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tourney.  


Summit League

The top four teams in regular season play qualified for the conference tournament which will begin on Thursday, November 14 with number one seed Western Illinois (5-12-1/4-1-0) and number four seed Omaha (3-8-4/2-2-1) facing each other and number two seed Oral Roberts (13-3-0/4-1-0) and number three seed and tournament host Denver (4-11-3/2-2-1) matching up.  The winners will face each other in the championship match on Saturday, November 16.

Western Illinois began the season with an eleven game losing streak and didn't get into the win column until October 12 when they defeated Denver 4-3. Since that point they have gone 5-1-1 including a win over Oral Roberts 2-1 in their final regular season contest.  Despite that loss, Oral Roberts looks to be the team to beat with a triple pronged attack powered by freshman midfielder Reed Berry (11g, 5a), junior forward Dante Brigida (11g, 2a) and redshirt senior Tanguy Guerineau (3g, 12a).

This has not been a typical year for Denver but if they can find a way to get by Oral Roberts then they could win it all.

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The winner of the conference tournament will be the only member of the Summit League in the NCAA Tournament field.     


West Coast Conference

The West Coast Conference does not have a conference tournament. The winner of the regular season earns the conference's automatic berth. 

St. Mary's with a 15-1-0 mark and a 6-0-0 mark in conference play has secured the regular season title. The Gaels will close out regular season play on Saturday when they host Portland.  The only blemish on St. Mary's record to date is a 4-2 loss at home to UC Davis back on September 26.  Loyola Marymount (10-5-2/5-1-0) is in the number two spot. Portland (9-6-1/3-3-0) and Pacific (6-9-1/3-3-0) currently have the same record in league play.  

NCAA Tournament Outlook - Saint Mary's has claimed the automatic berth. Loyola Marymount with an RPI of twenty looks to have a good shot at an at-large berth.  LMU closes out regular season play with a contest on the road with WCC foe San Francisco on Saturday, November 16.    


Western Athletic Conference

The top seven finishers in regular season play qualified for the conference tournament. Number one seed Seattle (13-3-3/10-0-1) received a bye.

First round play gets underway on Wednesday, November 13 with number five seed San Jose State playing number four seed CSU Bakersfield, number six seed Houston Baptist playing number three seed Air Force, and number seven seed Kansas City taking on number two seed Utah Valley (11-6-1/8-3-0). 

The winner of the San Jose State and CSU Bakersfield match will face Seattle in the semifinals on Friday, November 15.. The winners of the other two first round games advance to face each other in the semifinals on November 15. The championship contest is slated for Sunday, November 17.

Seattle and Utah Valley are the frontrunners but the road to the conference title could be treacherous for both of them. Seattle is 11-0-1 in their last twelve contests since losing to UCSB 1-0 back on September 19. Their lone blemish in conference play is a 2-2 tie with UNLV on October 11. Seattle topped Utah Valley 2-1 when they faced each other during regular season play. Declan McGlyn (10g, 7a), James Morris (8g, 2a) and Noe Meza (8g, 1a) give Seattle a multi-dimensional attack that can be difficult to contain.

Blake Frischknecht (12g, 1a) who can score in multiples adds bite to Utah Valley's attack. The Wolverines have had somewhat of a roller coaster season with ups and downs but are currently on an upswing and will come into the tournament on a three game winning streak.  

NCAA Tournament Outlook - The conference winner will likely be the only representative from the WAC in the NCAA Tournament. Seattle is on the outside edge of the bubble due to their RPI and does not look to be a candidate for an at-large berth should they not win the tournament.