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MORNING BRIEFING: Powerhouses claim top seeds
by Paul Kennedy, November 11th, 2008 8AM

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Top-ranked Notre Dame (21-0-0) heads the 64-team NCAA Division I Women's Tournament field. UCLA, Stanford and North Carolina, ranked 2-3-5 in the final Soccer America Women's Top 25, are the other No. 1 seeds in one of the most competitive fields in women's history.

Top-ranked Notre Dame (21-0-0) heads the 64-team NCAA Division I Women's Tournament field. UCLA, Stanford and North Carolina, ranked 2-3-5 in the final Soccer America Women's Top 25, are the other No. 1 seeds in one of the most competitive fields in women's history.

North Carolina is the only team who has been invited to the tournament every year since its inception in 1982. For the first time ever, Connecticut was not invited. The Huskies needed to win the Big East Tournament to get in, but they fell to Notre Dame, 1-0, in overtime in Sunday's final.

The No. 2 seeds include Portland, ranked No. 4 in the Soccer America rankings, and last year's runner-up Florida State. Defending champion USC is a No. 4 seed.

The ACC leads all conferences with eight teams in the tournament. Six teams will represent the Big 12, SEC and Pacific-10.

Of the 34 teams Soccer America predicted to get at-large bids, only East Carolina did not get in. The Pirates were edged out by James Madison (two places below them in last week's RPI rankings) despite winning the Conference USA regular-season title and two conference tournament games.

Seven teams are making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament: Army, Belmont, Long Beach State, Morehead State, Northern Arizona, Northeastern and South Dakota State.

SCHEDULE:
*Host for preliminary-round games

Notre Dame Bracket
1-Notre Dame* (21-0-0) vs. Toledo (16-4-1)
Michigan St. (13-6-3) vs. Milwaukee (18-2-2)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Minnesota (20-3-0)* vs. Marquette (11-7-3)
4-Colorado (14-4-4) vs. South Dakota St. (14-4-1)

3-Boston College* (13-5-2)  vs. Central Conn. St.  (12-6-4)
Northeastern (13-8-1) vs. Harvard (10-3-4)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Auburn* (11-8-2) vs. Belmont (13-6-3)
2-Florida St. (14-2-3) vs. Mississippi Valley (9-10-0)

Stanford Bracket
2-Portland* (17-1-0) vs. Northern Ariz. (12-6-3)
Washington St. (10-5-5) vs. Texas (12-3-4)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Georgia (11-10-1) vs. James Madison (12-6-2)
3-Wake Forest* (12-7-0) vs. Morehead St. (10-8-2)

4-Oklahoma State (17-1-3) vs. Fairfield (15-4-3)
Rutgers* (12-6-1) vs. Penn State (16-7-0)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Kansas (12-7-2) vs. Denver (19-2-2)
1-Stanford* (18-1-1) vs. UC Santa Barbara (12-6-3)


UCLA Bracket
1-UCLA* (18-0-2) vs. Fresno St. (11-8-2)
San Diego (14-4-2) Long Beach St. (14-3-4)
-----------------------------------------------------------
BYU* (17-5-0)  vs. Virginia Tech (10-8-4)
4-USC (15-4-1) vs. Boston U. (15-5-1)

3-Duke* (12-5-3) vs. Radford (14-1-6)
William & Mary (14-5-1) vs. South Carolina (11-6-4)
-----------------------------------------------------------
West Virginia (13-2-6) vs. Princeton (12-2-2)
2-Virginia* (13-4-3) vs. Army (12-5-3)

North Carolina Bracket
2-Florida* (17-3-1) vs. California (10-8-1)
UCF (13-5-3) vs. Miami (Fla.) (10-8-3)
-----------------------------------------------------------
LSU (14-3-2) vs. Washington (14-5-1) vs.
3-Texas A&M* (15-4-1) vs. Texas St. (12-4-4)

4-Missouri* (15-5-1) vs. Evansville (13-4-2)
Memphis (15-4-2) vs. Illinois (11-8-1)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Charlotte (17-3-1) vs. Tennessee (10-10-2)
1-North Carolina* (19-1-2) vs. Western Carolina (16-4-3)

DATES:

-- All first-round matches except those hosted by BYU will be played Friday and second-round matches will be played Sunday.  The matches hosted by BYU will be played Thursday and Saturday.

-- Third-round games will be played Nov. 21-23.

-- Quarterfinal matches will be played Nov. 28-30

-- The Women's College Cup will be played Dec. 5-7 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.



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