I’m not quite sure how the Bruins got the number 1 seed of the NCAA Men’s Water Polo bracket, but, somehow, they did. That’s despite finishing the MPSF regular season in third place and finishing the MPSF Tournament in second place.
It certainly helped that the MPSF Tournament champion Southern Cal only received the number 3 seed. Meanwhile, the third place team in the MPSF Tournament UC Berkeley was awarded the number 2 seed.
Well, frankly, at this point, it just doesn’t matter.
On Saturday, the Bruins will face the number 5 seed Pacific whom they have beaten twice during the regular season. Unfortunately, both of those wins were very close games with UCLA edging the Tigers 9-8 in the first game that was a part of the Mountain Pacific Invitational back in September and again in the second game about a month ago at home.
The Tigers edged the 4th seeded UC Davis Aggies 13-12 this afternoon to advance to Saturday’s semifinal against the Bruins. Of course, the winner of the UCLA-Pacific game will play for the National Championship on Sunday.
Who will they play?
Well, most likely, it will be the winner of UC Berkeley and Southern Cal, but, before the Trojans can set their sights on the Golden Bears, they must first beat the Harvard Crimson tonight in the final first round match. The Crimson qualified for the Tournament by winning the Northeast Water Polo Conference Tournament, beating Princeton, 12-11.
But, hey, there’s a reason they play the games. If Harvard can beat Southern Cal, it could go down as one of the biggest upsets ever.
Regardless, the winner of tonight’s game advances to Saturday’s semifinal against the Golden Bears and the winner of that game will play the winner of UCLA-Pacific for the title on Sunday afternoon.
Overall, I like the Bruins’ chances of bringing home another NCAA Water Polo National Championship. Of course, if they are able to, the only question which would remain is “Will it be NC #114 or NC #115?”
One thing is certain, however, Stanford which did not make the tournament, in large part due to a fourth-place finish in the MPSF Tournament, won’t be adding this year’s Men’s Water Polo title to their list.