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NCAA Roundup

Few surprises as the top four seeds in the Division I women's tournament -- combined record of 92-2-5 -- reached the final four and most of the men's favorites advanced to the quarterfinals.

WOMEN
Friday in Cary, N.C.
Notre Dame (25-0-0) vs. Stanford (22-1-1), tba
UCLA (22-0-2) vs. North Carolina (23-1-2), tba

The 5:30 p.m. game will be shown on ESPN2, the 8 p.m. game on ESPNU. The final is Sunday at 2 p.m. (ESPN2). UCLA advanced with a 6-1 laugher over Duke on Saturday night.

MEN
(7) Creighton at (2) Maryland, Saturday, 1 p.m.
(6) Indiana at (3) St. John's, Saturday, 5 p.m.
(8) South Florida at (1) Wake Forest, Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Northwestern at (13) North Carolina, Saturday, 2 p.m.

The defending champion Demon Deacons lived up to their favorite's status with a 7-0 rout of Dartmouth on Sunday. For the full bracket and match details, click here.

How closely are you following the college game?

By Steve Goff  |  November 30, 2008; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  College Soccer  
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Comments

I just watched the second half of Northwestern's win over Akron. Akron dominated the second half and were unlucky to give up a classic counterattack goal. Also unlucky that the weather forced the game to be moved from Akron to Evanston. Similar situation with the UIC - UNC game, but the game's only being switched to Cary, NC. Haven't followed the other games so much.

But the weather delays and moves don't really make the argument for a longer MLS season sound so great - not on grass at least (Northwestern has a brand new fieldturf surface).

Posted by: Modibo | November 30, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Not very much. If there was more TV media coverage, I'm sure I'd follow the games.

But reading about it, isn't as stimulating as watching it. Imagine the NCAA basketball tournament covered primarily through written reports--nobody would have a reason to care.

That's the cost of living in a society where soccer isn't loved like the rest of the world. =(

Posted by: redskinsux | November 30, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I follow the games fairly closely...most of the major conference tournaments were on TV here so that got me started on following the tournament itself. I've been to college cup twice before, even though I had no attachment to any of the schools that were there, so I like to follow the schools that are trying to get to there.

As far as how much I pay attention during the regular season, I usually get out to 3-4 division I games each season.

Posted by: kebzach | November 30, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It's been my methadone since the MLS season ended. Without soccer channels, I'm weaning off til the Hex games start up.

The games have been fun, decent level of play. I wish I knew something about the players.

Posted by: eadc | November 30, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

In the WCC its going to be Stanford over UND, and UNC over UCLA. Stanford will upset the favored Tar Heels to take the Cup.

On the mens side its all Wake Forest even though Maryland is really rounding into form. Wake is just way too good.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 30, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the regular ESPN or ESPN2 don't show more of the early rounds.

Posted by: Juan-John | November 30, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Wish I could follow a bit more, and I really appreciate the heads up on the matches... Thanks.

Sean Taylor Rest in Peace

Posted by: DadRyan | November 30, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Like most here, I'd be following much closer if the games were televised.
The few games I saw of the BIG10 tourney on the BIG10 network were good games.
Although the college game needs to get rid of the screwy substitution rules and time-outs.

Posted by: Washago | December 1, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

There's no reason for the tv timeout in this time and day. It only exists in a handful of games all season and the College Cup features it. As much as I don't like the Big 10, the Big 10 network is quality. I was weary of the idea originally, but now wish there were another FOX network for the ACC, especially since ACC Select is all part of CBS' CSTV now.

Posted by: sitruc | December 1, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

I am following the college soccer tournament very closely this year. I enjoy going down to College Park to catch a few Terps games and had a few friends who played D-III soccer so it's interesting to see how things play out.

Posted by: mellon02 | December 1, 2008 6:39 AM | Report abuse

I would normally not follow but being from Omaha, I love Morrison field and hope the Bluejays make it to the final four!!!

Posted by: arswift24 | December 1, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Interesting website with facts on womens tourney, including home states of every player in womens final 8 -- 40% are from CAL or TEX

http://www.collegesoccer360.com/ncaa_notebook.html

One stat I'd like to see is graduation statistics, womens soccer vs. mens soccer, mens soccer versus mens football and basketball.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 1, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

But reading about it, isn't as stimulating as watching it. Imagine the NCAA basketball tournament covered primarily through written reports--nobody would have a reason to care.

Posted by: redskinsux | November 30, 2008 5:08 PM
__________________________________________

Watching games versus reading written reports is a false dichotomy, and it certainly does not accurately depict how most people follow the NCAA basketball tournament, In fact, it is impossible for most people to watch more than a small percentage of the games, especially in the early rounds. Rather, most people follow the tournament through real-time updates, usually online, on the scores of ongoing games. Guess what? The NCAA soccer tournament site that Goff provided above permits you to do just that. If six or eight games are in progress on a given Friday evening or Sunday afternoon, you can monitor them all on a single computer screen. Further, if Internet video or audio streaming is available for any given match, links thereto are provided from that same screen.

To answer Goff's question: Yes, I follow the college game closely, just as I've done since I was first exposed to it as a college freshman decades ago, I followed the NASL a bit, but this was before that league's peak years, there was no NASL club anywhere near me, and there was very little coverage of the league in the media outside NASL cities. There was no reason for me to develop much of an interest in any particular overseas league.

I suspect that I am not atypical. People follow familiar models. Most American sports fans are used to following domestic pro leagues and Division I college action in their favorite sports. That is why even the most pedestrian midweek MLS match at RFK easily outdraws, say, a USOC championship game. The NCAA soccer tournament offers a lot of same elements that make the basketball tournament so intriguing (e.g., a single-elimination format that usually produces a Cinderella team or two), I wish the soccer community would play up these elements more.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 1, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Interesting website with facts on womens tourney, including home states of every player in womens final 8 -- 40% are from CAL or TEX

Posted by: OWNTF | December 1, 2008 9:03 AM
__________________________________________

But that may simply reflect the fact that those are large states. I'd like to see someone put this on a per capita basis. Arizona and Colorado, for instance, might leapfrog ahead of a few other states.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 1, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

In the 80's, NCAA was the only game in town. George Mason, Howard, America, Maryland and GW were consistantly in the top 20 or better. I still keep tabs (I find the scores) but I don't know the players by name. During the Tourny, I use game trackers or listen on a radio link of these teams.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 1, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

How closely are you following the college game?
_________________________________________

An additional thought: It tells us something, although I'm not sure what, that that such a question needs to be asked. Would anyone ask such a question on a basketball blog?

Posted by: universityandpark | December 1, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to have a team of the quality of Maryland in the area, and I admit I'm biased as an alumni. I think without them I wouldn't follow the college game that closely, at least until United started taking the draft seriously again.

That said, I think the top teams MD and Wake this year, and usually UCLA, UVA, Indiana, Notre Dame, have enough players near that could go pro that they provide a pretty good product. Jeremey Hall's goal in the game was pure class and Maryland has started to become a goalkeeper factory all of which certainly made Saturday's game enjoyable.

Posted by: M__N | December 1, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@universityandpark

no you wouldn't ask it on a basketball site, but you very well might on a baseball or hockey site. college hockey and baseball are also fun to watch, but have a much more limited following than their pro counterparts. part of this is the existence of minor leagues for these sports (soccer has this too with USL1 and USL2) and the fact that many players come from foreign countries to play professionally without playing in college. by contrast, the vast majority of players in the NFL and NBA come through the college system, though that number is diminishing in the NBA with the influx of European and South American talent.

this time of year, college soccer isn't competing with MLS or USL, but it is competing with the European Leagues, as well as Champions League, the FA Cup and some World Cup Quyalifying, all of which are widely available on TV and which get lots of attention online as well. even if soccer were the #1 or #2 sport in this country, i still think the college game would get less attention for these reasons.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 1, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

also, did anyone hear about this controversy surrounding the Akron/Northwestern game? why does the NCAA always end up seeming shady?

http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/2008/12/zips-soccer-team-screwed-and-beaten.html

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 1, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

At least one of the women's teams has a local connection. Starting goalie for Stanford is sophmore Kira Maker who played at Wooten High School in Montgomery County and the Bethesda Extreme for her club soccer.

Posted by: RobSmith1 | December 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

also, did anyone hear about this controversy surrounding the Akron/Northwestern game? why does the NCAA always end up seeming shady?

http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/2008/12/zips-soccer-team-screwed-and-beaten.html


Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 1, 2008 2:15 PM
__________________________________________

Actually, I mentioned it on Sunday at about noon, in a post to the "Terps Advance" thread. However, the link you provided offers more details. Thanks. The tournament organizers have an awful lot of discretion to mess with home-field advantage, using all kinds of excuses, of which this is just one. If they ran the men's and women's basketball tournaments this way, people would take those competitions a lot less seriously.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 2, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

this time of year, college soccer isn't competing with MLS or USL, but it is competing with the European Leagues, as well as Champions League, the FA Cup and some World Cup Quyalifying, all of which are widely available on TV and which get lots of attention online as well. even if soccer were the #1 or #2 sport in this country, i still think the college game would get less attention for these reasons.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 1, 2008 1:47 PM
__________________________________________

This is quite true. However, there are a lot of people out there who do not follow soccer played in far-off places, but who are interested in the athletic teams of their alma maters, the universities their kids attend, the conferences in which these institutions compete, etc. They're the people whom the college game should be targeting.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 2, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

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