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by Paul Kennedy, November 20th, 2008 8AM



San Francisco and UNC Greensboro, two legendary programs, sneaked into the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament. USF won the WCC (9-9-1 overall), while UNCG, the Southern Conference champion, is the only team in the men's field with a losing record (8-11-2).

USF's berth in the NCAA Tournament was its 31st, putting it fourth among all programs behind only St. Louis (45 appearances), UCLA (36) and Indiana (33). It won four national titles (1966, 1975, 1976 and 1980) and had a fifth taken away from it in 1978 because of the use of an ineligible player.

The Dons started out the 2008 season with four straight losses but recovered to win the WCC. They benefited from a down year in the WCC. Gonzaga was the only team to have a winning record (9-8-2). Defending champion Santa Clara finished last in the conference and was 4-9-7 overall.

USF has been powered by junior Conor Chinn, who captured WCC Player of the Year honors after he shattered the conference record with 14 goals in WCC matches and 17 goals overall. He has scored in seven consecutive matches.

UNCG won the Southern Conference Tournament as the No. 7 seed, the lowest seed to ever win the tournament. The Spartans defeated second-seeded Furman, 2-1, away in the quarterfinals and then got past Georgia Southern in penalty kicks, 3-2, after a scoreless 110 minutes in the semifinals. The Spartans defeated College of Charleston in the championship game, 2-1, on Sunday.
This will be UNCG's 18th trip to an NCAA Tournament, the ninth as a Division I member and the fourth trip in the last five years. The last three bids have resulted in trips to the round of 16. The Spartans won five NCAA Division III titles in the 1980s.

UNCG coach Michael Parker is the only active men's coach in Division I with 25 or more years having never suffered a losing season.

Both USF and UNCG share more in common than a long history of success on the field.

They have two of the oldest soccer facilities in the country.

USF's Negoesco Stadium, named after soccer legend Stephen Negoesco, was opened in 1982 and now has a capacity to 3,000.

The UNCG Soccer Stadium was opened in 1990. It has permanent seating for 3,540 spectators in the grandstand along the east sideline and another 2,428 bleacher seats in four other sections.

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