Nov. 3, 2010

EASY AS 1, 2, 3: The Atlantic Coast Conference annually fields some of the nations best field hockey teams, and this year is no different as Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia are ranked No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, heading into this weekends conference tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C.


The Terrapins went 5-0 in ACC play for the second straight season to earn the top seed in the tournament, while North Carolina is the second seed. Both squads earned first-round byes, and will play the winners in semifinal action on Nov. 7. Virginia is seeded third for the second straight season.


Maryland won last years championship, while North Carolina took the title in 2008. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. ACC squads have claimed 15 of 27 NCAA titles since 1983, including the last eight championships (Wake Forest, 2002-04; Maryland, 2005-06, 2008; North Carolina, 2007, 2010).


The championship game on Nov. 7 will be broadcast live by the ACCs regional sports network (RSN-TV), which includes FSN South, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, and New England Sports Network.


BIG TEN SET TO BATTLE:
No. 5 Ohio State is the top seed of the Big Ten Tournament after sharing the regular season title with Michigan as both squads finished with 5-1 marks. The Buckeyes earned the No. 1 seed and a bye in the first round by virtue of head-to-head results.


Three first round games will be played on Nov. 4 in Evanston, Ill., including No. 2 Michigan versus No. 7 Iowa. The Buckeyes are riding a nine-game winning streak heading into the weekend and will face the winner of No. 4 Michigan State-No. 5 Northwestern on Nov. 5. Ohio State has outscored foes 39-4 during its nine-game streak.


The semifinals and championship game (Nov. 7) will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Michigan State is the defending league champion.


ORANGE CRUSH: Seventh-ranked Syracuse concluded the BIG EAST regular season with a 2-0 victory over Villanova last weekend, securing the top seed in the league tournament with a perfect 6-0 record. The Orange has won a league-record 14 straight BIG EAST regular season games. They have outscored league foes 26-4 on the year.


The Orange puts their six-game winning streak on the line against fourth-seeded Rutgers in the BIG EAST semifinals on Nov. 6, followed by the second semifinal between No. 2 Louisville and No. 3 and host Connecticut. The winners will clash for the trophy on Nov. 7.


POISON IVY:
Princeton has clinched at least a share of the Ivy League title for the sixth straight season, but Yale still has hopes of earning a piece of the crown as well. If Penn defeats Princeton on Friday, and Yale beats Brown on Saturday, the Tigers and Bulldogs would share the title.


‘CATS ON THE PROWL:
New Hampshire claimed the America East regular season title for the first time since 2000, earning the top seed and hosting rights for the four-team league tournament on Nov. 5-6. The Wildcats are the first team to go undefeated in America East play since Boston University in 2007.


UNH takes on Maine, while No. 2 Albany and No. 3 Boston U. meet in semifinal action on Friday. The winners will tangle the following day in the championship game. The America East tournament champion will host the winner of the Northeast Conference in an NCAA play-in game on Nov. 9. The Terriers are the defending champions.


EAGLES SOAR:
American University claimed its eighth straight Patriot League regular season title, and will host the conference tournament as the top seed on Nov. 5-6. The Eagles have gone unbeaten in league play in seven of the last eight years.


The Eagles take on Colgate in the semifinals on Nov. 5, followed by No. 2 Lafayette and No. 3 Bucknell. The winners will meet on Nov. to decide the championship.