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Questions and Answers – NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament

Question and Answer Time.  Things you might want to know if you are new to College Soccer.  It is still early in the 2015 season and there are a lot of games yet to be played but you may find the following information regarding the Men's NCAA Tournament to be of interest and value.  


What is the NCAA Men's Division I Tournament?

A forty-eight team single-elimination tournament that determines the National Champion.  


Who won the Men's Division I NCAA Tournament in 2014?


Virginia. The Cavaliers topped UCLA in the national championship game in a contest that was decided by a penalty kick shootout. 



What are the key dates for the 2015 Men's Division I NCAA Tournament?

The tournament field, the seeds, and the brackets will be announced on November 16 at 1 p.m.

The first round of play will begin on November 19 at campus sites throughout the country

The second round will be on November 22

The third round (Round of 16) will be played on November 28 or 29

The quarterfinals (Elite Eight) will be played on December 4 or 5

The College Cup (Final Four) will be played on December 11 and 13 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas




Where will the 2015 Men's Division I Tournament Be Played

All rounds of the tournament, except the College Cup (Final Four),will be conducted on the campus of one of the participating schools.  The College Cup will be played at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas.


How many teams earn a spot in the Men's NCAA Tournament?

Forty eight teams. Twenty-three conference champions receive automatic berths.  The remaining twenty-five teams are at-large berths.



Which conferences receive automatic berths?

America East, American Athletic, Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlantic Sun, Big East, Big South, Big Ten, Big West, Colonial Athletic  Association, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Pacific-12, Patriot League, Southern, Summit League, Sun Belt, West Coast


How do individual conference's determine who receives their automatic berth? 

The regular season winners of the Ivy League, Pacific-12, and West Coast Conferences receive the automatic berth.  All the other conference hold a conference tournament and the winner of the conference tournament earns the automatic berth. 


Do all teams in each conference earn a spot in their conference tournament? 

No.  In some cases they do but in most they do not.  The number of teams that qualify to play in conference tournaments varies by conference.   For example, ten of the twelve teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference earn a berth in the ACC  tournament and six of the eight teams in the Big West Conference earn a spot in the Big West Conference tournament. .


What criteria is used to select the at-large berths?

The NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Committee selects the twenty-five at-large berths.  To qualify for consideration of an at-large berth a team must have an overall won-lost record of .500 or better.  The Committee considers won-lost record and strength of schedule.  The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is the primary factor. 


What is the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and how is it calculated?

The RPI is a numerical rating system that includes the won-lost record of a team.  Opponents' strength of schedule and  opponents' opponents' strength of schedule is factored in.  Head to head competition is also taken into consideration as well as results vs. common opponents. 

The NCAA will begin publishing the RPI's of all Division I schools in October and updates it to reflect the results of games played through the end of the season.     


Are teams seeded in the NCAA Tournament? 

Teams are divided into four geographical regions with twelve teams in each region. Sixteen seeds are awarded with four seeded teams in each of the four regions. The remaining thirty-two teams are paired according to geographical proximity with each other.  The sixteen seeds receive a first round bye and have the advantage of playing at home.  Games are normally played at the location of the higher seed as the tournament progresses.   With the exception of the Final Four (College Cup) which is played at a single location, the top seeded team in each region has the potential to play all of their games at home.  


What is the College Cup? 

The Final Four.  It will be played December 11 and 13, 2015 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.





What impact do the polls issued by various publications or organizations have on who gets into the NCAA Tournament?

None of the polls have an impact on the teams selected. 




What is bracketology?

Bracketology is a term used for projecting the teams, the seeds, and the composition of the brackets that will comprise the forty-eight team NCAA Tournament Field using the same criteria that the NCAA Tournament selection committee will utilize.  Projections of the field are always impacted by the fact that there are upsets in the conference tournaments resulting in teams unexpectedly winning their conference's automatic berth.


Does College Soccer News participate in bracketology?

Yes, approximately five weeks before the end of the regular season, College Soccer New's experienced bracketologist begins issuing projections utilizing the same criteria that the selection committee will use to project the forty eight team NCAA Tournament field.  The bracketologist's projections provide insight regarding the impact of the RPI on the tournament selections.  



Who will win the 2015 National Championship?

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