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Alberto Camargo | NCAA.com | October 25, 2022

DI women's soccer tournament bracket predictions, 2 weeks from selections

College soccer storylines and postseason predictions

For the first time, the NCAA Women’s Soccer Committee released a midseason top-10 ranking on Oct. 16, indicating which teams the committee sees as the best in DI women’s soccer. This comes with just three weeks until selections — which are Monday, Nov. 7 — when the full 64-team bracket will be revealed at 3:30 p.m. ET on NCAA.com.

So I’m taking a crack at predicting the full bracket, a task that has made me even less envious of the people who actually have to make the final decision next month. These picks are based on a few principles: how I think the remainder of the regular season and conference tournaments will go, the committee’s selection criteria and its bracketing strategy, which has been revised this season.

This NCAA’s Competition Oversight Committee’s new strategy increases the number of seeded teams from 16 to 32. Here’s the statement from the NCAA:

“Fifty percent of the bracket will be seeded in four groupings of 1-8. Published seeding will be in four sets of 1-8 and the pairings will honor a 1-8 seed assignment. The committee will identify the top 32 teams. The top 16 teams will be identified in rank order and assigned a seed grouping from 1 to 4. The balance of the ranked teams, in turn, are assigned to one of the remaining seed groupings (i.e., 5 to 8). Once the seed assignment is finalized, it remains unchanged while placing the teams into the championship bracket. First and second-round conference matchups will be avoided.”

What this means for the purposes of this prediction is that I will project the top 16 seeds and seeds 17-32. This includes the 31 automatic qualifiers from each conference and the remainder of the field selected by a combination of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), results versus common opponents and head-to-head competition.

Note: all projections were made based on results through Oct. 20.

2022 DI women's soccer bracket predictions, two weeks from selections

Star denotes automatic qualifier*

(1) North Carolina* vs. Campbell*   (1) Alabama* vs. Grambling State*
Georgia vs. (8) UCF*   Oklahoma State vs. (8) NC State 
     
(5) South Carolina vs. Lamar*   (5) Pittsburgh vs. Cal State Fullerton*
Texas State* vs. (4) Texas*   San Diego State* vs. (4) BYU*
     
(3) Virginia vs. Fairfield*   (3) Northwestern vs. South Dakota State*
California vs. (6) Xavier*   Wake Forest vs. (6) Arizona State
     
(7) Clemson vs. Buffalo*   (7) Southern Cal vs. LSU
Milwaukee* vs. (2) Michigan State    Chattanooga* vs. (2) Florida State
     
(2) Stanford vs. Utah Tech*   (2) Duke vs. Liberty*
Pepperdine* vs. (7) Portland   Mississippi State vs. (7) Georgetown
     
(6) Ohio State vs. Washington State   (6) Harvard vs. Maine*
Missouri State* vs. (3) Arkansas   Army* vs. (3) Penn State*
     
(4) Rutgers vs. Central Connecticut State*   (4) Saint Louis* vs. Vanderbilt
Monmouth* vs. (5) Brown*   UAB* vs. (5) TCU
     
(8) Tennessee vs. Wisconsin   (8) Texas A&M vs. Santa Clara
Tennessee Tech* vs. (1) Notre Dame   Idaho* vs. (1) UCLA*

Here's my bracket (click or tap to open in new tab or window).

Alberto Camargo's projections for the 2022 DI women's soccer bracket Alberto Camargo's projections for the 2022 DI women's soccer bracket

Top 16 teams predicted (overall seed in parentheses)

One seeds: 
(1) North Carolina
(2) UCLA
(3) Alabama
(4) Notre Dame

Two seeds:
(5) Stanford
(6) Florida State
(7) Duke
(8) Penn State

Three seeds:
(9) Michigan State
(10) Rutgers
(11) Virginia
(12) Northwestern

Four seeds:
(13) Arkansas
(14) BYU
(15) Saint Louis
(16) Texas

These seedings are a projection of the committee's seeding at the end of the season, based on results through Oct. 20. Which means it also includes a little projection of how I think the final weeks of the regular season and conference tournaments will go. You'll notice I have Penn State one spot higher than Michigan State (which results in a two seed versus a three seed), and that's because even though the Spartans won their first Big Ten regular-season title in program history, I think the Nittany Lions have a better chance of winning in knockout soccer.

As for the Pac-12 (one of three conferences that do not hold a postseason tournament, along with the Ivy League and WCC), yes UCLA lost to Stanford, but the Bruins still hold first place. They do not meet again, and I anticipate that the Bruins will win out. 

Five-eight seeds

Five seeds:
Pittsburgh
TCU
South Carolina
Brown

Six seeds:
Arizona State
Ohio State
Harvard
Xavier

Seven seeds: 
Clemson
Portland
Georgetown
Southern Cal

Eight seeds:
Texas A&M 
NC State
Tennessee
UCF

31 Automatic Qualifiers

Projecting the winners of every conference, here are 31 AQs in the DI women's soccer tournament field. The remaining spots are given at-large bids. 

CONFERENCE AQ RPI (as of 10/20)
America East Maine 141
American UCF 32
ACC North Carolina 3
ASUN Liberty 79
Atlantic 10 Saint Louis 12
Big East Xavier 30
Big Sky Idaho 176
Big South Campbell 92
Big Ten Penn State 8
Big 12 Texas 27
Big West Cal State Fullerton 71
CAA Monmouth 74
C-USA UAB 65
Horizon League Milwaukee 111
Ivy League Brown 23
MAC Buffalo 48
MAAC Fairfield 66
Missouri Valley Missouri State 127
Mountain West San Diego State 124
NEC Central Connecticut State 191
Ohio Valley Tennessee Tech 143
Pac-12 UCLA 2
Patriot League Army 167
SEC Alabama 1
SoCon Chattanooga 72
Southland Lamar 50
Summit League South Dakota State 57
SWAC Grambling State 309
Sun Belt Texas State 55
WAC Utah Tech 106
WCC Santa Clara 39

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