The NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee announced its top 16 rankings with about two weeks until selection Monday. Results through Oct. 26 were used.
The top 16 correspond to the number of teams that are seeded in the 48-team NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship bracket. The tournament bracket will be released on Monday, Nov. 15, so teams have time and games to make potential moves and earn seeds.
Before jumping into analysis, here's a look at the poll:
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Oregon State claiming spot number two is a testament to the successful season the Beavers have pulled off so far. After starting unranked in preseason, the Beavers have been in the United Soccer Coaches poll in seven of nine weeks since then, with its highest ranking coming at No. 3. This top-3 rank follows Oregon State's recent upset of then-No. 1 Washington to claim its first-ever win against the No. 1 team. Oregon State's rise was not foreshadowed before the season started, but has been proven throughout game play, with three wins over ranked opponents (No. 23 UCLA on Sept. 30, No. 13 San Diego State on Oct. 3, and No. 1 Washington).
Indiana sneaking in to the second to last spot is also a surprise. Not because we didn't expect to see the Hoosiers on this short list, but because they were the preseason No. 2 overall team, and even the No. 1 team after week one. The national runner up from last season is in fact more than 10 spots below Marshall — the team that beat IU in the national championship last season.
Stability at the top
Unsurprisingly, Georgetown is the top-ranked team with a record of 13-1. The 2019 national champions won their first 10 games of the season and are leading the Big East (7-1) after compiling an unbeaten 6-0 record in non-conference competition.
Oregon State, Washington and defending national champion Marshall claimed the next three slots. Keep in mind that the top four seeds have the potential to host quarterfinal round matches with a berth to the Men's College Cup on the line.
Reigning national champ Marshall has looked like a strong contender to reclaim the men's soccer throne after starting the season off with a loss to Virginia Tech. Since then, the Herd has been on a six-game win streak and has not been beaten since August.
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The ACC continues to show its strength, with five of the 16 teams coming from the conference. The Big East, Conference USA and the Pac-12 each have two. The WAC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, American and the American East each have one team in the top 16.
The ranking is based on the criteria used to select and seed the 48 teams for the Division I Men’s Soccer Championship and includes strength of schedule, Rating Percentage Index, head-to-head competition, results versus common opponents and significant wins and losses.
The 2021 championship bracket will have 48 teams, with 23 automatic qualifiers and 25 at-large selections. The tournament bracket will be announced Monday, November 15 at 1 p.m. on NCAA.com. The top 16 teams will be seeded and receive first round byes before hosting second round games.
The tournament starts on Thursday, November 18. Games will take place at campus sites through the quarterfinals before the men’s College Cup.