NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament Explained

The Men’s Soccer Committee of the NCAA has just released the official bracket for 2014. Notre Dame was predictably awarded the number one seed after last year’s championship.
With soccer growing in popularity after this year’s World Cup, the hopes are that this year’s NCAA tournament will have record audiences. There’s still a barrier to entry for the average sports fan, having to learn the ins and outs of a new tournament. Here’s what you need to know…
There are 24 conferences in NCAA men’s soccer. Each conference’s champion is automatically qualified.
The top 16 teams receive first-round byes.
2014’s first round begins November 20th (this Thursday!), and the final (the ‘Men’s College Cup’) will be December 12th and 14th in Cary, North Carolina.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has the most teams in the tournament, with Notre Dame, Syracuse, Louisville, Virginia, North Carolina, and Wake Forest all making the cut. The Big Ten Conference has six teams, including Michigan State, Maryland, Indiana, Penn State, Northwestern, and Ohio State.
There are no new-comers in the tournament this year. Saint Louis is making it’s 48th appearance – that’s right, this isn’t a new tournament, folks!
Games are played at universities all over the country. Securing a spot in the top four means a team gets to enjoy all home games until the quarterfinals.
For some, this tournament is a very big deal, but it still lacks the press coverage and editorial coverage enjoyed by larger tournaments. Since there’s not a lot of material online to give you a great idea of what teams to bet on, your best bet will be to watch the games.
The top 16 teams are…
Notre Dame
Michigan State
Tournaments are always more fun when you fill out a bracket with some predictions before it starts. The NCAA supplies a great interactive bracket that can be printed. []