UCLA now knows its next opponent- Elon. It took kicks from the penalty spot after 2 overtimes, but Elon won at home. In the most recent rankings (done before today's play-in matches), Elon moved into the top 25, at #24.
One thing that is not at all clear, looking at the brackets, is how the NCAA rewards the #1 overall seed in terms of the path to get to the College Cup.
The #1 seed should not be playing the #24 team in the country in the round of 32. Assuming UCLA can beat Elon, an even bigger problem is in the round of 16. UCLA would play the winner of UConn (unranked) at University of Maryland Baltimore County. UMBC is ranked #5 in the most recent rankings, but somehow was dropped to a 16 seed. And it can't be a focus on RPI, because UMBC is #5 in RPI also.
So if the favorites win, the #1 overall seed will play the #5 team in the country in the round of 16.
By comparison, Washington is the #2 overall seed. Their opponent on Sunday is unranked Seattle (-0- points in most recent poll, who beat Creighton, who had 1 vote in the most recent poll). And if Washington wins that game, and if the seeding holds up, they would then play Cal State Northridge, who is ranked #20. That seems like an easier draw in the round of 16.
Notre Dame is the #3 overall seed. Their opponent on Sunday is #19 Wisconsin. This again seems like a tough match in the round of 32 for the #3 seed. If the 2 seeds advance, then Notre Dame would play Wake Forest, who is ranked #12. This is certainly harder than Washington's path, but it seems fairly close to expected for the round of 16 opponent for the 3 seed.
Cal is the #4 overall seed. Their opponent on Sunday is unranked Bradley (-0- points in most recent poll, who beat Northwestern, also -0- points in most recent poll). If the seeds advance as expected, Cal's opponent in the round of 16 would be #23 ranked UNC Charlotte. Cal seems to have a super easy path compared to the other top 4 seeds.
Obviously, you eventually have to play the top teams to win the title. But I don't quite see the logic in having the #1 seed potentially having to beat the #5 team in the country in the round of 16 just to advance to the regional finals.
Somebody suggested that I was pushing a conspiracy theory in my notes on the women's bracket, where UCLA was gipped out of their rightful spot in the top 4. I actually don't believe that there is a conspiracy.
But it is hard logically to see how UCLA's men's and women's teams did not come out on the short end, even with a #1 seed for the men. Others can debate the reasons, but it is hard to argue with the results- hose job.
Go Bruins, just sooner than otherwise might have been expected