We are less than three weeks away from the selection show for the 2022 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament, where The 48 Team Tournament Field Will Be announced.
The 48 Team Field Will Consist Of The 23 Conference Champions Who Are Awarded An Automatic Berth And 25 Teams That Will Be Awarded An At-Large Berth.
Each conference has its Own way of determining Its conference Champion, so let’s take a look at how each of the twenty-three auto bids will be decided. By Brian Ludden
The ACC will undoubtedly have multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament, but teams who are long shots to get at-large bids will still have a chance to play their way in. Eight ACC teams earned a berth in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The ACC Tournament involves all 12 teams, with divisional champions and two wild cards getting a first round bye. The tournament begins on November 2nd, with the first round being hosted at the higher seed. Quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be hosted at campus sites, and the final set to be played at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
We could have a repeat of last season’s America East championship, as Vermont and New Hampshire are the clear top-two teams in the conference and have clinched a spot in the 6-team conference tournament. The top two teams get a bye to the semifinals, and it’s hard to argue that Vermont or New Hampshire will lose a semifinal at home, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see another Vermont-New Hampshire matchup to decide the America East’s automatic bid. The America East tournament begins with the first round on November 5.
American Athletic Conference
There was plenty of reshuffling and conference realignment in the American Athletic Conference this offseason, but it is founding member SMU who sits at the top of the AAC standings. Six teams will qualify for the AAC tournament, with the top two seeds getting a bye. First round matchups (6 seed vs. 3 seed, 4 vs. 5) will be hosted by the higher seed. The semifinals and final are hosted by the number 1 overall seed. The tournament begins on November 6.
The top six teams in the Atlantic Sun conference qualify for the ASUN tournament, which kicks off on November 5th. The top two seeds will host a first round match, as well as the semifinal match that they are playing in. The highest remaining seed will then host the Atlantic Sun final. It is important to note that the two schools in the transition process from DII to DI, Bellarmine and Queens, are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. However, they may still compete in the conference tournament.
The A-10 tournament will see the top eight teams from the regular season compete for the conference’s automatic bid. And you can’t really have more drama than the drama we have in the A-10, as the conference enters its final matchday this weekend. Places 3rd through 11th are separated by only two points, meaning a lot can change in the conference standings between now and the first round of the tournament. The tournament begins with the quarterfinal round on November 4th/5th.
The top six teams qualify for the Big East conference tournament, which kicks off on November 5th. As of press time, Georgetown is the only team to have secured a spot in the tournament, but Seton Hall is also on the verge of qualifying. The first round (3 seed vs. 6 seed, 4 seed vs. 5 seed) is hosted by the higher seed, with the semifinals and final taking place at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
With each team having one, two, or even three conference matches left, plenty of movement that can still occur in the Big South standings. Only four teams qualify for the Big South Tournament, with the top two seeds hosting their semifinal match. The Big South championship will be hosted by the highest remaining seed. The Big South tournament begins on November 6th. High Point and Campbell are the current frontrunners.
As a multi-bid conference, the Big Ten tournament might not be as important for the conference’s top teams, but it’s still set to be exciting regardless. The top eight teams qualify for the tournament, and with nine teams in the conference, only one team will miss out on the conference tournament. Michigan and Northwestern are the last two teams competing for the final spot, it will come down to Sunday’s matchups to determine who misses out on the conference tournament. For all three rounds, the highest seed in each matchup will host their respective matches. The first round kicks off on November 4th.
As with multiple other conferences, the Big West competes in a six-team tournament with the top two seeds getting a bye to the semifinal round. The highest seed in each matchup will play at home. With the final matchday set to be played on Saturday night, there are still 7 teams competing for 5 spots in the tournament. The first round begins on November 2nd. UCSB and UC Riverside face each other on Saturday in a regular season contest that could determine who earns the number one seed in the tournament.
Colonial Athletic Association
Six teams will compete in the CAA tournament, which begins on November 3rd. Elon, UNC Wilmington, Hofstra (last year’s champion), and Drexel have all secured their spots in the tournament, with Elon clinching a bye to the semifinals. The top two seeds will each host a first round and semifinal matchup, with the final being hosted by the highest remaining seed.
Of the ten teams in the Horizon League, the top six will compete for the conference’s automatic bid. With teams having either one or two matches remaining, Cleveland State is the only team that has clinched a spot in the tournament so far. As for the tournament itself, the 3 seed and 4 seed each host their first round matchup on November 6th. The top overall seed will host both the semifinals, as well as the final.
The Ivy League is one of the few conferences that does not have a conference tournament. Instead, the regular season champion will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. With three matches remaining for each team, Pennsylvania has a three-point advantage at the top of the conference standings. The final matchday is November 12th, but the earliest that Pennsylvania can clinch the conference title is November 5th.
Six teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will qualify for the conference tournament, which begins on November 6th. Most teams still have three conference matches left, meaning that no team has secured a spot just yet. As will the rest of the six-team tournaments, the top two seeds will have byes through to the semifinals. Each match is hosted by the higher seed.
With only five teams in the conference, the MAC soccer “tournament” is just a one-game playoff between the top two seeds. The top four teams in the conference are separated by four points, with each team having three conference matches left. The only team eliminated from contention is Chicago State, who is winless in conference play. The MAC championship will be played on November 12th, hosted by the top seed.
All 7 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference qualify for the MVC tournament, with the top seed earning a bye to the quarterfinals. Missouri State currently sits at the top of the conference standings, and can secure the first-round bye if they beat Drake on Friday night. The first round matchups are hosted by the higher seed in each matchup, while the semifinals and final are hosted by the #1 seed. The tournament begins on November 6th.
In the nine-team Northeast Conference, the top six teams qualify for the NEC tournament. The top two seeds will receive a bye. Fairleigh Dickinson is the only team to have clinched a spot so far, and they have also secured the regular season title and top overall seed. With most teams still having at least two conference matches remaining, everyone is still in contention to get into the field of six, and five teams still competing for the last first-round bye. The Northeast Conference tournament begins on November 6th, with all matches being hosted by the highest seed.
Keeping with the theme of other tournaments, the Patriot League tournament features six teams, with the top two teams receiving a bye to the semifinals. Army currently sit as the top team in the conference, and can secure a bye (and the regular season title) with a win on Saturday. Meanwhile, places 3rd through 8th are only separated by three points, meaning that everything can change between now and the first round, which kicks off on November 5th. The Patriot League tournament almost always features an upset or two.
The Pac-12 is another conference that does not have a conference tournament, so it will be the regular season champions who get the conference’s automatic bid. Washington (13 points from 5 matches) currently holds a one point lead over Stanford (12 points from 7 matches) at the top of the Pac-12 standings, but both teams will likely earn at-large bids if they don’t secure the conference’s automatic bid. UCLA are behind them in third, with ten points. Nevertheless, Washington and Stanford will face off on Sunday in Stanford in what could be a pivotal match in deciding the Pac-12 champion.
All six teams in the Southern Conference qualify for the conference tournament, with the top two seeds getting a bye to the semifinals. The top two seeds will also host a first round match, and then their respective semifinal match. The final is hosted by the highest remaining seed. UNC Greensboro, East Tennessee State, and Wofford are all competing for a bye with just one match to go. The tournament begins on November 4th.
The top four teams in the Summit League qualify for the Summit League tournament, which begins on November 10th at Denver Soccer Stadium. As of press time, no one has secured a spot in the tournament, but Oral Roberts is on the verge of qualification with a 5-1-0 mark in league play. Oral Robert’s lone loss in conference was to Denver. Denver, Omaha and Kansas City can clinch a spot depending on some other results.
The top 8 teams in the Sun Belt qualify for the conference tournament, meaning that only one team will miss out. Georgia Southern will likely be the only team to not qualify, as they sit six points back of 8th-placed James Madison with just two matches left. As for the tournament itself, the number one seed will host two first round matches and a semifinal, while the number two seed will host the other two first round matchups and the other semifinal. The highest remaining seed will then host the final. The conference tournament begins with the quarterfinals on November 6th. Kentucky and Marshall who tied 1-1 back on September 16 are the frontrunners and could meet again in the tournament final.
West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference is the final conference that does not have a tournament, so the regular season champion will earn the conference’s automatic bid. Portland currently sits atop the conference standings, but they are closely followed by San Diego and Loyola Marymount, so a Portland slip up could open the door for one of those other teams to steal the conference’s automatic bid. The final matchday is November 12th, but Portland could secure the title as soon as Saturday if they get a few results to go their way.
And last but not least, our final conference tournament is the Western Athletic Conference. Six of the ten teams will qualify for the WAC tournament, meaning that the top two seeds receive a bye to the semifinals. As of now, Air Force, at a perfect 6-0 in conference play, is the only team to have secured a spot in the WAC tournament. But with three games left for some teams, everyone else is still fighting for the remaining five spots. The entire tournament will be played at CBU Soccer Stadium in Riverside, California, and begins on November 9th.
Brian Ludden is a contributing writer for College Soccer News. He can be reached at email@example.com