Top 10 Preview: Conference tourneys pit top teams against each other
Top-10 teams participating: No. 1 Virginia, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 6 Virginia Tech
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- All four top-seeded teams in the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament are headed to the semifinals, as the tournament got under way on Sunday.
Sunday's quarterfinal action at the campus sites of the higher seeded teams found No. 1 Virginia defeating No. 8 Maryland 6-1, No. 2 Florida State blanking No. 7 Duke 2-0, No. 3 North Carolina edging No. 6 Boston College 1-0, and No. 4 Virginia Tech topping No. 5 Notre Dame 2-1 in double overtime.
The tournament now moves to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., which will be host site for the semifinals and finals for the sixth consecutive year and the 10th time in 11 years.
Friday's first semifinal matchup finds Virginia (20-0-0) facing Virginia Tech (15-3-2). The second semifinal matches Florida State (16-1-3) against North Carolina (17-3-0).
The winners advance to Sunday's championship match.
North Carolina seeks its 22nd ACC championship, while defending champion Virginia is looking for its third title and Florida State its second tournament crown. Virginia Tech, who is making its first semifinals appearance since 2009, looks for its first ACC championship title. The Cavaliers earned the top seed for this year’s championship by finishing league play with an unblemished record of 13-0-0. The regular-season title is the first in Virginia program history.
The Seminoles edged the Tar Heels 1-0 in the two teams’ regular season meeting in Tallahassee on Sept. 18, while Virginia shut out Virginia Tech 2-0 in Charlottesville on Oct. 31.
Top-10 teams participating: No. 5 Florida, No. 9 South Carolina
The SEC tournament, held in Orange Beach, Ala., will start on Wednesday with four quarterfinal matchups. Florida and Texas A&M shared the conference regular-season title, but the Gators have the tiebreaker due to a win on Oct. 27. The second-seeded Aggies, ranked 21st nationally, will kick it off as it takes on 10 seed Auburn. The Tigers defeated LSU in overtime on Monday to get there.
The next game on Wednesday will feature No. 9 South Carolina, the three seed in the tournament, taking on six-seed Georgia. South Carolina (15-2-2, 8-2-1) comes in having won its past three games.
That game will be followed by top tournament seed and defending champion Florida, ranked fifth in the country, taking on Arkansas.
The Razorbacks handled Missouri 4-0 in the first round on Monday. The Gators (15-3-1, 8-2) have won their past seven games, with six of those being shutout victories.
The final quarterfinal match will be between four-seed Mississippi and five-seed Kentucky. The semifinals will be played on Friday, and the finals on Sunday afternoon.
Big 10 championship
Top-10 teams participating: No. 7 Michigan
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- After winning its first Big Ten regular-season championship, Nebraska earned the No. 1 seed in the 2013 Big Ten tournament. The tournament will be hosted by Illinois in Champaign, Ill., beginning Wednesday, Nov. 6. The tournament champion will automatically qualify to the NCAA championship.
Nebraska finished its conference slate with a 10-1-0 record, including a 3-1 win against Indiana in its final conference game on Nov. 1. The Cornhuskers will face No. 8 Minnesota in the tournament's third game on Wednesday.
Michigan garnered the No. 2 seed in the tournament after concluding the regular season with a 9-1-1 record. The Wolverines will collide with No. 7 Iowa in the second game on Wednesday. The two teams previously met on Sept. 22, with Michigan defeating the Hawkeyes, 2-1.
Penn State finished with a 7-4-0 conference record and earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament. The Nittany Lions will face No. 6 Wisconsin in the tournament's opening match on Wednesday.
Indiana earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament with a 6-5-0 mark and will face No. 5 Illinois in Wednesday's final game. The two teams previously met on Oct. 6, with the Hoosiers defeating the Illini 3-2.
The Big Ten tournament semifinals will begin on Friday, while the tournament will conclude with the championship game on Sunday.
Top-10 teams not in tournaments:
No. 2 UCLA
The second-ranked Bruins will conclude their regular season when they matchup with Southern California on Thursday. UCLA, which has not lost a conference game (8-0-2) and last was on the losing end against North Carolina on Sept. 6, has already wrapped up the Pac-12 regular-season crown and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Bruin goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland has 10 shutouts this year and a goals-against average of 0.32. Darian Jenkins leads the offensive attack with 10 goals, six more than any other UCLA player.
Southern California comes in having won its past two games in overtime. The Women of Troy are 8-9-2 overall and 3-6-1 in the conference, featuring a win at No. 10 Stanford.
No. 8 Santa Clara
Santa Clara has two games remaining on its schedule, as it will play at No. 12 Portland on Thursday night and at Gonzaga on Saturday afternoon. The Broncos are on a nine-game winning streak and have outscored opponents 18-2 in their past three games. They are in first place in the WCC with 21 points and a 7-0-0 conference record, but automatic bid to the NCAA tournament is still up for grabs, as Portland and BYU are tied at three points behind.
Portland beat Saint Mary’s 2-1 last weekend to rebound from a 1-0 loss to BYU, its first loss in 11 games. Gonzaga is eighth in the WCC with a 2-5-0 conference record.
No. 10 Stanford
The Cardinal fell to No. 10 in this week’s poll after a 1-0 loss at Washington State, which snapped a 26-match road winning streak in Pac-12 play. Stanford is 6-4-0 in the conference this year and 13-4-1 overall, which puts it at third place. It will play its last game of the regular season on Wednesday night when it hosts California. The Cardinal are led by Taylor Uhl and Courtney Verloo, who have 10 and nine goals, respectively.
The Bears dropped out of the NSCAA top 25 this week. They had been as high as eighth in mid-October, but then went on a six-game winless streak. They are in eighth place in the conference at 3-4-3 and 10-4-5 overall.