No first-round NCAA bye for men's soccer
USF's men's soccer team got what certainly looks like a rough draw Monday as the NCAA unveiled its bracket for its 48-team postseason tournament. Not only did the Bulls -- ranked as high as No. 3 in polls this season -- not get a top-16 seed and first-round bye, but they drew a second-round match against undefeated Akron, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
The Bulls open the tournament at home on Thursday night against Stetson, which is coached by former USF men's and women's coach T. Logan Fleck. If the Bulls win that match, they'll travel to play Akron on Sunday.
It's a difficult path given to a Bulls team thought by some to be capable of a deep NCAA run, as USF had last year in winning a Big East championship and reaching the NCAA Elite Eight.
The Bulls' postseason looks a lot like its preseason did -- USF played an exhibition at Akron, losing 3-1, then played an exhibition at home against Stetson, winning 3-0.
It's clear that the NCAA didn't think as much of the Big East as some of the polls do. Consider the latest poll at Collegesoccernews.com -- Louisville is No. 6, yet the Cardinals are on the road in the first round, a draw befitting a team not in the top 32; the same is true for Connecticut, which was No. 12 in the same poll, one spot behind No. 11 USF. The coaches poll has Louisville seventh, Connecticut ninth and USF 13th.