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Three thoughts on the draw
by Paul Kennedy, November 18th, 2013 5:32PM

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TAGS:  college men

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[NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S TOURNAMENT] The Pac-12 dominated the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament draw with three of the top four seeds: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Washington and No. 4 California. After having just one team seeded in 2012, six West Coast teams -- the three Pac-12 teams and UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge from the Big West -- were seeded. For more on the West Coast's rise, plus men's soccer parity and Sunday's costly conference tournament losses.

NCAA Division I Men: Draw

WEST COAST'S RISE. The Pac-12 dominated the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament draw with three of the top four seeds: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Washington and No. 4 California. (ACC regular-season co-champion Notre Dame is the No. 3 seed.)

After having just one team seeded in 2012, six West Coast teams -- the three Pac-12 teams and UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge from the Big West -- were seeded.

Since it had six seeds in 2003 -- the first year the NCAA had 16 seeds -- the West Coast has never had more than three seeds until this year.

There are four teams from the West Coast in the entire 2012 field; there are nine in 2013 -- the six seeds, plus Stanford, WCC champion Loyola Marymount and WAC champion Seattle.

(Seattle is one of two postseason newcomers along with Quinnipiac, which won the MAAC.)

PARITY REIGNS. This fall's college season has been marked by parity. Five of the six ACC teams come into the postseason with five or more ties.

USF won the new American Athletic Conference championship in a shootout over UConn for its eighth tie of the season. Quinnipiac won both its MAAC games in shootouts to also finish the regular season with eight ties.

That parity is reflected in the tournament draw as traditional powerhouses Akron, Indiana, UConn and North Carolina all play first-round matches with a Akron-Indiana matchup Thursday's marquee first-round  matchup.

UCLA's No. 1 seed landed the Bruins in a 12-team bracket that also includes Akron, IU and UConn and three other former NCAA champions.

SUNDAY LOSSES COSTLY. Among the teams that did not get tournament bids were UIC (16-4-0) and Saint Louis (14-5-2), which both fell in conference finals on Sunday. Both had won their conference regular-season titles.

UIC was perfect in the Horizon League and carried a 10-game winning streak into Sunday's final against Milwaukee. SLU was unbeaten (7-0-2) in the Atlantic-10.

UIC and SLU will want to quickly forget what was a miserable weekend. Both teams played in finals that had to be moved to new locations because bad weather made it impossible to play at the scheduled tournament venues.

Parity meant that there were lots of close calls in 2013. Saint Louis (ranked No. 21) was one of two teams in last week's Soccer America Top 25 along with No. 25 UAB to not get a postseason bid.

Six teams in last week's RIP Index top 40 did not get in: Gonzaga, Furman, N.C. State and Xavier, plus UAB and UIC.

Conference tournament wins by USF, Indiana and Drexel were costly to bubble teams. USF might not have otherwise made the NCAA Tournament. Drexel came into the week ranked No. 94 in the RPI even though it won the CAA regular-season title. IU's only hope was winning the Big Ten title because of its losing record.

They all beat teams assured of making the postseason 48: UConn, Michigan State and William & Mary.

Men's Bracket

FIRST ROUND
Thursday, November 21
Elon vs. Clemson
Connecticut vs. Quinnipiac
Akron vs. Indiana
Delaware vs. St. John's
Wisconsin vs. Milwaukee
VCU vs. Navy
Louisville vs. Denver
Old Dominion vs. Drexel
Penn vs. Providence
North Carolina vs. USF
Coastal Carolina vs. ETSU
Northwestern vs. Bradley
William & Mary vs. George Mason
Penn State vs. St. Francis (N.Y.)
Stanford vs. Loyola Marymount
Creighton vs. Seattle

SECOND ROUND
Sunday, November 24
(1) UCLA vs. Elon/Clemson winner
(16) UMBC vs. Connecticut/Quinnipiac winner
(9) Marquette vs. Akron/Indiana winner
(8) Virginia vs. Wisconsin/Milwaukee winner
------------------------------------------------
(3) Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin/Milwaukee winner
(14) Wake Forest vs. VCU/Navy winner
(11) Michigan State vs. Louisville/Denver winner
(6) Georgetown vs. Old Dominion/Drexel winner
------------------------------------------------
(5) Maryland vs. Penn/Providence winner
(12) UC Irvine vs. North Carolina/USF winner
(13) Charlotte vs. Coastal Carolina/ETSU winner
(4) California vs. Northwestern/Bradley winner
------------------------------------------------
(7) New Mexico vs. William & Mary/George Mason winner
(10) UC Santa Barbara vs. Penn State/St. Francis (N.Y.) winner
(15) CSU Northridge vs. Stanford/Loyola Marymount winner
(2) Washington vs. Creighton/Seattle winner


2 comments
  1. Gregg Mullen
    commented on: November 18, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
    Time to expand the tournament to 64.

  1. Bill Glaves
    commented on: November 18, 2013 at 7:45 p.m.
    Umm. Delaware made the tournament and you mentioned them twice as not making it. Oops. Apologies in order. SLU not making it is a crime. Makes no sense.


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