The UCLA Men’s soccer team (10-8) made the postseason today as an at-large team. The NCAA selection committee picked the Bruins as part of the final 48 despite the fact that UCLA lost four of their last five games. Here is the entire bracket if you would like to see how UCLA fits into the larger picture.
UCLA will first face the University of Portland Pilots (11-3-3) on my birthday this Thursday, November 15th, at 4 p.m. If the Bruins manage to beat Portland, they would then travel to Lexington, Kentucky (who has a first round bye) to play the #3 overall seeded Wildcats on Sunday, November 18th.
It is a tall order for the Bruins, who actually have played better on the road and played better against better competition this season, with wins at Maryland (seeded #11 in the postseason) and at Coastal Carolina (who did not make the postseason).
UCLA can thank its RPI (#21 before the San Diego State loss) for this postseason birth. The Bruins join Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington as the four PAC 12 representatives in the postseason. Note: For the uninitiated, there are only six PAC 12 Men’s soccer programs in the PAC 12.
UCLA did not make the postseason last year after posting a 7-10-1 record and, frankly, many fans might have hoped UCLA did not make the tournament this year in order to try to force Athletic Director Dan Guerrero’s hand to give underachieving Head Coach Jorge Salcedo his walking papers.
Let me put it this way: I am happy for the players that they have an opportunity to prove their worth in the postseason, even though it gives Guerrero an excuse to keep Salcedo another year after another mediocre regular season. I am sure that there are those that would rather bite the bullet this year in exchange for the future under a different coach. Does any of this sound familiar? Cough, cough, . . . hoops, cough, cough . . .
Check back later this Thursday for a preview of the game versus Portland.
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