- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 19, 2009
- 0 Comments
The 2009 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament kicked off earlier today and while games are going on right now I felt it was worth previewing a little bit to give you all a heads up about who and what is out there to see. Some players have been mentioned on here for the 2010 SuperDraft watch and we may end up seeing others emerge as big names for the draft in January.
For those who don’t follow college soccer as much there are a few conferences that rule the pack. Typically the ACC and Big East seem to have solid squads but never sleep on a west coast team like UCLA or UC Santa Barbara.
Seeded Teams With Nice Paths To Final Four:
Akron: The Zips are the top seed and for good reason. They’ve easily been the best squad in the nation all year long and they are rewarded with a nice path to the Final Four. They’ll either get Stetson or South Florida first in the second round. Being familiar with USF I’d love to see that matchup but I know the Bulls sometimes forget to show up. After that they’ll get either the 16th seed UC Irvine or one of two other west coast teams in Stanford and St. Mary’s. Nothing like getting games at home against teams that have to travel a couple time zones.
UNC: Nothing like a ACC team getting a good path to the Final Four. Some may argue that Brown could give them challenges in the second round but I think the Tar Heels have a nice path to Cary with their bracket if the chips fall in the right order.
Unseeded Teams To Watch Out For:
UCSB: It seems like each year this bunch comes out of no where to make a deep run. While they didn’t win the WCC this year I still think they are a dangerous side to make some noise this year. A potential third-round match with UCLA just sounds like fun too.
Maryland: Never count out the Terps in this tournament. They aren’t nearly as deep as they’ve been in years past but they are still loaded with quality talent that could surprise a few. I definitely like their potential second round match with Penn State, could be an upset there. Same if they end up getting Harvard in the following round.
Dartmouth: Few know of this group but watch out for a guy I mentioned last week in my SuperDraft watch, New Zealander Craig Henderson. With him leading the way in the middle of the pitch this team could definitely shock a few. They’ll get Boston College first and then potentially Big East power St. John’s.
Louisville: How a top 10 ranked team didn’t get a seed is weird but that is the NCAA tournament for you here. While their first round match against Indiana is no cake walk but this team is fun to watch. Their route to a Final Four is no cake walk either but believe me this team is tough enough to get there.
Questions Going Into Tournament:
1. Will Akron run the table?
That’s been the question all year long surround this team. They made it through 20 games unbeaten so why not a few more? I think their road is simple enough to get to at least the Final Four but one has to wonder if they are actually good enough to beat a team from the ACC. With guys like Teal Burbury leading the way you’d have to think they have a good shot.
2. Will UVA give up a goal?
Their impressive run in the ACC tournament got people wondering if their defense was truly unstoppable here. They’re the 2 seed for a reason and some could argue they are the hottest team going into this tournament. We may not see them actually get tested until the quarterfinals anyways with a potential matchup against Harvard and their big time scorer Andre Akpan.
3. Is the ACC that good?
Uh yes they are. Some are calling for an all-ACC final here this year with the likes of UNC, Virginia and Wake leading the way. While we won’t get an all ACC Final Four this year there is still a hope of a title game between two of those schools. I don’t want to come across as an ACC snob here but damn the talent is rich in that conference.
4. One underdog that could surprise folks?
Well we already got one big upset to kick things off with Monmouth beating UConn. Monmouth’s 18-1-1 record proved they deserved to be there and knocking off a strong side like UConn is fairly impressive. I’d say look out for this bunch.
5. Who are the favorites?
By now you should know Akron, Wake Forest, UNC, Virginia and UCLA are favorites. The talent is deeper with those schools and in college sports talent just wins out the majority of the time. My money is riding on Wake Forest to make a run this year. I just like what the Deamon Deacons have done this season with Corbon Bone, Ike Opara and company.