Technically, Beat $c week won’t actually start until sometime around 10pm tonight when UCLA’s football game against Arizona State actually ends.
But, that doesn’t change the fact that the UCLA Men’s Water Polo team will kick things off this afternoon at 1 pm PT when they host #2 Southern Cal in the Crosstown Splashdown at the Spieker Aquatics Center.
It’s the regular season finale for the Bruins and it could carry some added weight as the team looks to the postseason. That’s because UCLA has slipped to #4 in the most recent CWPA Top 20 Poll after losing last weekend to Stanford.
It’s concerning because the team could now be in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. Normally, the #4 team wouldn’t expect to miss the tournament, but only 6 teams make it into the tournament and the number of at-large bids is very limited.
UCLA needs a win today to boost their seeding in next weekend’s MPSF Tournament, which in turn can help their chances of making, and/or potential seeding in, the NCAA Tournament two weekends later.
Stanford and UC Berkeley have both finished conference play with 2-1 records, but Stanford should get the #1 seed because they beat UC Berkeley this past week. If UCLA can win today, they would tie Southern Cal at 1-2 in the conference, making UCLA the #3 seed due to head-to-head play.
At the point, the Bruins will need to play well next weekend to either earn the automatic bid by winning the MPSF Tournament or finishing second to claim one of the at-large bids. If they fail to finish at least second next weekend, they may not make the NCAA Tournament.
But, all of those scenarios aside, there’s only one thing that matters and that’s the Bruins need to focus and “Beat $C!”