At twelve noon today, Monday, November 18, the NCAA makes the decision on who is going to be in this season's tournament. Those who are aware of the NCAA Basketball tournament March Madness, the soccer tournament is very similar. However, instead of 64 teams it is 48, with the top 16 ranked schools getting a first round bye. I maintain my own form of RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) which takes into account team records, as well as strength of schedule, since all schools don't play even fixtures.
The NCAA produces their own RPI which they update weekly and in the past many teams who got in, or missed the tournament, was based on their RPI. The problem is they use the same RPI as in basketball, which doesn't treat ties fairly, as well as the geographic scheduling that is used in soccer, more than other college sports, creates issues regarding proper analysis of strength of schedule.
So far I have 42 schools in the tournament with 19 other schools on the bubble, and each could be one of the remaining At-Large spots depending on the direction the tournament committee takes. Twenty-Two schools automatically made the tournament for winning their conferences, either through the regular seasons or conference tournament.
The Horizon Conference had weather issues so the games have been delayed, although both schools should make the tournament. Due to a number of upsets in the conference tournament, as well as weaker conferences, there are schools who will be playing in the tournament who are ranked below the top 48 schools this season. This means a large number of quality schools this year will miss out. According to my analysis these are the spots that are already filled.
1. Washington (14-1-4 Pac-12 Champion)
2. UMBC (16-1-2 America East Champion)
3. UCLA (11-3-4 Pac-12 At-Large)
4. Maryland (13-3-5 Atlantic Coast Champion)
5. Notre Dame (12-1-6 Atlantic Coast At-Large)
6. Marquette (12-5-2 Big East Champion)
7. California (12-4-2 Pac-12 At-Large)
8. Georgetown (13-4-2 Big East At-Large)
9. Virginia (10-5-5 Atlantic Coast At-Large)
10. Akron (16-3-1 Mid-American Champion)
11. UC Irvine (14-4-3 Big West Champion)
12. Charlotte (12-5-3 Conference USA Champion)
13. Connecticut (11-2-6 AAC At-Large)
14. Coastal Carolina (17-4-0 Big South Champion)
15. Penn State (11-5-2 Big Ten At-Large)
16. Navy (15-3-2 Patriot Champion)
17. UC Santa Barbara (12-5-3 Big West At-Large)
18. New Mexico (11-5-2 Conference USA At-Large)
19. Elon (15-4-2 Southern Champion)
20. Wake Forest (9-5-5 Atlantic Coast At-Large)
21. Ill. Chicago (16-3-0 Horizon TBD)
22. Louisville (11-4-3 AAC At-Large)
23. George Mason (12-2-5 Atlantic 10 Champion)
24. Michigan St. (12-5-3 Big Ten At-Large)
25. Providence (12-5-3 Big East At-Large)
26. CS-Northridge (15-6-1 Big West At-Large)
27. South Florida (8-3-9 AAC Champion)
28. Wisconsin (13-4-2 Big Ten At-Large)
29. St. John's (10-6-2 Big East At-Large)
30. North Carolina (8-5-5 Atlantic Coast At-Large)
31. William & Mary (11-5-2 Colonial At-Large)
32. Milwaukee (14-2-2 Horizon TBD)
39. Loyola Marymount (13-4-2 West Coast Champion)
40. St. Francis Ny (11-5-1 Northeast Champion)
41. Bradley (13-6-2 Missouri Valley Champion)
42. Denver (13-3-3 Summit Champion)
43. Indiana (8-11-2 Big Ten Champion)
44. East Tennessee (10-5-4 Atlantic Sun Champion)
45. Quinnipiac (9-4-7 Metro Atlantic Champion)
46. Drexel (8-7-3 Colonial Champion)
47. Penn (8-8-1 Ivy Champion)
48. Seattle (10-8-4 Western Athletic Champion)
This leaves six spots open for one of the following schools Butler (11-8-1), Clemson (11-7-2), Creighton (9-8-2), Delaware (14-4-1), Duke (8-5-6), Furman (11-5-2), Gonzaga (9-6-3), Hartford (13-4-4), NC State (8-5-4), Northwestern (10-7-3), Old Dominion (10-5-1), Saint Louis (14-5-2), Stanford (9-6-3), Temple (10-4-4), Tulsa (11-6-3), UAB (12-5-1), UCF (8-5-5), VCU (11-7-2), Xavier (10-7-2).
In terms of having an effect on MLS and the 2014 Superdraft, hopefully the bubble teams that get in are Xavier, St Louis, Tulsa and Duke, as they have the most players of interest in terms of prospects, while Duke is also led by Canadian and Whitecap's homegrown freshman striker Brody Huitema.
We will know tomorrow afternoon with the tournament beginning its first round later in the week. I will be posting a preview of the tournament before it begins in terms of who are the favorites although in a knockout tournament with games going to penalty kicks upsets are always bound to happen.