When the bracket was announced Monday for the NCAA women’s soccer tournament, no doubt there was some head-scratching, as well as some gnashing of teeth. And maybe some muttered expletives under the breath.
Those would all be natural reactions to some of the selection committee’s selections.
Several results look like somebody threw a dart at the bracket to place teams. Here are the most notable ones:
And while we’re at it, why are Florida State and UNC Nos. 1-2 in the same region? Why set up a possible conference rematch when it would have been easy to avoid? The top eight seeds comprised three teams from the ACC, two from the Pac-12, two from the SEC and one from the Big Ten. Nos. 1 v. 2 pairings of UCLA-Florida, FSU-Penn State, Stanford-UVa and Texas A&M-UNC would have avoided regular-season rematches.
Had Duke beaten No. 1 Syracuse last Sunday in the ACC quarterfinals, that might have been enough to get in. North Carolina’s upset loss to Louisville on Sunday also hurt Duke, because a long ACC tournament run by UNC would have increased the value of the Blue Devils’ regular-season win over the Tar Heels.
The Terrapins were 3-5-2, and coach Sasho Cirovski had been fined $10,000 and suspended for one game by the Big Ten for chasing the officials from the field after the controversial conclusion of Northwestern’s 3-2 overtime victory on Oct. 5. Various media accounts of the game reported that the ball may have been out of bounds and a foul could have been called on Northwestern on the play where the golden goal was scored.
Since then, Maryland has reeled off nine consecutive victories, the longest winning streak in the country. Their notable wins in their streak were a 4-0 rout of then-No. 3 Penn State and a 2-1 victory at then-No. 5 Indiana.
Their most recent win came at home Sunday, 2-0 over Rutgers in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The top-seeded Terps will host the semifinals and final Friday and Sunday. Maryland is ranked eighth in this week’s coaches poll, and if it adds the Big Ten tournament title to its resume, it looks like a top contender in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Sunday’s FSU-Virginia final in Greensboro drew 928, while the UVa-UNC and FSU-Notre Dame semifinals had a combined 1,239.
The 2013 final at WakeMed drew 3,319 fans for Florida State-Virginia Tech and 5,192 for the FSU-UNC and UVa-Virginia Tech semifinals.
In 2012 at WakeMed, there were 1,227 for the UVa-Maryland final and 1,472 for the UVa-FSU and Maryland-Wake Forest semifinals.