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ANALYSIS: Early postseason projections
by Paul Kennedy, October 30th, 2008 8AM

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The NCAA released its second RPI index this week, ranking the NCAA Division I men's programs from 1-203 through games played Oct. 26. In a surprise, Indiana, not top-ranked and undefeated Wake Forest, is No. 1. St. John's is No. 2 ahead of the defending champion Demon Deacons. In a season during which every Division I team already has at least one win, USC Upstate is last at No. 203. The RPI rankings provide us with an opportunity to see how the tournament field might shake out if the regular season had ended last weekend.

The NCAA released its second RPI index this week, ranking the NCAA Division I men's programs from 1-203 through games played Oct. 26. In a surprise, Indiana, not top-ranked and undefeated Wake Forest, is No. 1. St. John's is No. 2 ahead of the defending champion Demon Deacons. In a season during which every Division I team already has at least one win, USC Upstate is last at No. 203.

The RPI rankings give an early indication of which teams and conferences rank high in the most important of the criteria the NCAA men's soccer committee uses to determine the 48-team field for the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament. They provide us with an opportunity to see how the tournament field might shake out if the regular season had ended last weekend.


The 48-team field will consist of 22 conference champions and 26 at-large selections. Based on the current RPI index, the top 42 teams would in theory be tournament-bound, along with the top-ranked teams of six conferences that fall below the top 42.

The most notable of these six conferences is the West Coast Conference, which has produced such national champions as San Francisco and Santa Clara and other final four teams such as Portland and San Diego.

San Diego is the top-ranked WCC team at No. 62 in the current RPI index. (Defending WCC champion Santa Clara has fallen all the way to 151!)

The Big East, ACC and Big Ten each have six teams in the projected top 48, followed by the Big West, Ivy League and Mid-American with three teams apiece.

The RPI is a mathematical formula designed to objectively compare results and strength of schedule.

On Monday, Nov. 17, the day after the end of the regular season, the NCAA will announce the selection of the 26 at-large teams to go along with the 22 automatic qualifiers. (Click here for NCAA Tournament rules.)

PROJECTED TOP 48
1 Indiana Big Ten 1
2 St. John's Big East 1
3 Wake Forest ACC 1
4 Loyola (Md.) MAAC 1
5 Akron Mid-American 1
6 Michigan Big Ten 2
7 Maryland ACC 2
8 Northwestern Big Ten 3
9 Notre Dame Big East 2
10 North Carolina ACC 3
11 Creighton Missouri Valley 1
12 UC Davis Big West 1
13 South Fla. Big East 3
14 UC Santa Barbara Big West 2
15 Louisville Big East 4
16 Duke ACC 4
17 Connecticut Big East 5
18 Tulsa Conference USA 1
19 Boston College ACC 5
20 Michigan St. Big Ten 4
21 Harvard Ivy 1
22 California Pacific-10 1
23 Oakland Summit 1
24 Boston U. America East 1
25 St. Louis Atlantic 10 1
26 Dayton Atlantic 10 2
27 Brown Ivy 2
28 UCLA Pacific-10 2
29 Virginia ACC 6
30 Buffalo Mid-American 2
31 Wisconsin Big Ten 5
32 Dartmouth Ivy 3
33 Western Ill. Summit 1
34 Drake Missouri Valley 2
35 William & Mary CAA 1
36 Syracuse Big East 6
37 UC Irvine Big West 3
38 Ohio St. Big Ten 6
39 UIC Horizon 1
40 UNC Wilmington CAA 2
41 Northern Ill. Mid-American 3
42 Iona MAAC 2
-------------------------------------
49 Quinnipiac Northeast 1
52 New Mexico MPSF 1
57 Campbell Atlantic Sun 1
62 San Diego WCC 1
71 College of Charleston Southern 1
92 Winthrop Big South 1

BUBBLE TEAMS
43 Cal St. Northridge Big West 4
44 Binghamton America East 2
45 Georgetown Big East 7
46 Charlotte Atlantic 10 3
47 Towson CAA 3
48 Albany America East 2

*WHERE ARE YOU?
54 Massachusetts Atlantic 10
55 SMU Conference USA
110 Virginia Tech
111 Central Conn. St.
151 Santa Clara
*Teams in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25.



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