2011 College Cup: Top First and Second Round Matches

2011 College Cup: Top First and Second Round Matches

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 15, 2011
  • 2011 College Cup

WVU faces a tough challenge in the opening round.. (All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo)

The 2011 College Cup kicks off later this week with plenty of good match-ups and potential second round pairings. With no clear cut favorite in this year’s tournament, several teams could go the distance to win this year’s tournament.

North Carolina enters the tournament as the top seed and does have a decent path to the Final Four in Alabama. The Tar Heels face the winner of Elon and Coastal Carolina. Should they advance they will likely get the 16th seeded Hoosiers from Indiana. The other seeds in UNC’s bracket are UC Irvine and St. Johns, both capable teams of doing some damage and causing some issues for the Tar Heels.

The real fun is else where in the bracket though. Here are some of the best early round match ups and potential second round games that would make this tournament special.

Akron v. Northwestern – This one jumps out on paper more so than any other first round match. Northwestern was one of the best teams in the Big 10 this season and Akron is the defending champions. Losing in the MAC semifinals on penalty kicks was a shock for the young Zips but it could light a fire in Caleb Porter’s team. They do still have guys like Darron Mattocks to do damage but look out for this Northwestern team to give them a serious challenge.

Wake Forest v. South Carolina – The Demon Deacons had an up and down year but got hot enough late in the year to sneak into the NCAA tournament. The Gamecocks were one of the best teams in C-USA this year, just narrowly losing out to SMU in the conference tournament last week. Expect this one to be a tough, physical match that could go right down to the wire.

Xavier v. WVU – This one could be a tough match for the Mountaineers, on their home turf. Xavier is a good enough team that won the Atlantic 10 this season and pulled off upsets all along the way to their conference title. WVU has the talent to win this one if they play their style of soccer.

Best Potential Second Round Match-ups.

Akron/Northwestern v. SMU – This little pod really, really jumps out at you. The defending national champions or an up and coming Big 10 team against a pretty good SMU side that won Conference USA this season. SMU has plenty of talent and will get this game in Dallas. No doubt this will be a game to watch come Sunday.

WVU/Xavier v. Maryland – This could be a rematch from earlier in the year when WVU and Maryland faced off or it could be Xavier looking for another upset. Either way there will be plenty of talent on the field with Maryland involved, even though they are riding a four game winless streak going into this tournament.

Duke/George St. v. New Mexico – It is very interesting to see the only undefeated team left in the country get the 10 seed. New Mexico had an impressive season to say the least but got little respect when it mattered most for this tournament. More than likely they’ll get a Duke team that has the talent and skill to pull off an upset. It will be one of the first true tests that we’ll see out of this New Mexico squad this season.

Delaware/Virginia v. UCLA – A pretty good pairing for a 13 seed. The Bruins had plenty of expectations going into the season but now must face a pretty stiff challenge in the second round. Thankfully for them they’ll get a team from the east coast in this bracket.

Fl. Gulf Coast/UCF v. USF – If it ends up being USF-UCF it will be a rematch of last year’s tournament opener where UCF upset the Bulls. These two Florida teams do not like one another and would be a huge match in the second round. USF has been pretty good as of late and has the talent to go deep into this tournament but UCF could pull another upset.

Monmouth/Stony Brook v. UCONN – While the Huskies have the talent, and lots of it, we don’t know how deep they’ll actually go in this tournament. The last couple of seasons they’ve been upset in the second round by a small school like Stony Brook or Monmouth. It wasn’t too long ago (2009) where Monmouth upset the Huskies in this tournament.