By the Pac-12 Conference
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The regular season is in the books, and the Pac-12 will be represented by six teams in the NCAA Tournament, the second most of any conference. Defending national champion Stanford, which earned the top overall seed in the field of 64, paces the Conference. Pac-12 runner-up UCLA is one of four No. 3 seeds in the tournament, while California, Arizona State, Washington State and Washington received at-large bids. UCLA, which has participated in 15 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, has been seeded among the top 16 teams in the field in seven of the last eight seasons. During that same span, Stanford has failed to advance to the third round just one time (a first round exit in 2005). California, which makes its ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, and Washington State advanced to the second round of the tournament in 2011. First round fixtures will play out over three days this weekend (Nov. 9, 10, 11), and Conference teams cannot play each other in the first or second rounds.
(Times local to site)
Friday, November 9
Idaho State at Stanford, 7:00 p.m. PT
Baylor at Arizona State, 7:00 p.m. MT
Washington State at Portland, 7:00 p.m. PT
Auburn at Washington, 7 p.m. PT
Saturday, November 10
Wisconsin at UCLA, 5:30 p.m. PT
California at Pepperdine, 1:00 p.m. PT
Friday, November 16
NCAA Second Round, TBA
Sunday, November 18
NCAA Third Round, TBA
Fri.-Sun., Nov. 23-25
NCAA Quarterfinals, TBA
Friday, November 30
NCAA Semifinals, TBA
Sunday, December 2
NCAA Final, 1 p.m. PT
AROUND THE LEAGUE
•The Pac-12 has placed at least one team in the College Cup in each of the last nine seasons (since 2003) and has produced two semifinalists on three occasions. During that span, the Conference has posted a winning record in the tournament. Additionally, the Pac-12 has been represented in four of the last five National Championship games, with two teams (USC and Stanford) taking home titles.
•Stanford (17-1-1) grabbed the top overall seed after posting its fourth consecutive perfect Conference record and notching wins against eight ranked opponents. This is the program’s 15th-straight and 21st overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal has made four straight College Cup appearances, finishing as the NCAA runner-up in 2009 and 2010 before winning the NCAA Championship a season ago. The defending national champs host Idaho State on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
•UCLA (15-2-2) is one of four No. 3 seeds after a regular season in which it was a fixture in NSCAA top five and was the last unbeaten team in Division I. This is the program’s 15th straight and 17th all-time appearance in the tournament. The Bruins have advanced to the College Cup eight times—including a seven-year streak from 2003-09—and finished as the runners-up in 2000, 2004 and 2005. UCLA hosts Wisconsin in the first round at Drake Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. PT. The Bruins beat Wisconsin, 2-0, at home on Aug. 31 during a stretch in which they shut out four ranked opponents in as many weeks.
•California (15-5-0) earned an at-large bid after finishing third in the Pac-12 and occupying a spot in or just outside the NSCAA top-25 for the final month of the season. It closed out the season on a 13-3 run and was in the hunt for the Pac-12 Championship until the final week of the season. This is the ninth consecutive and 20th all-time appearance for the Golden Bears. Cal takes on Pepperdine in the first round in Malibu, Calif. on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. PT.
•Arizona State (10-8-2) also received an at-large bid after reeling off four straight wins to end the season and finishing tied for fourth in the Pac-12. This marks the Sun Devils’ sixth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and their third in the last four years. ASU hosts Baylor in the first round at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. MT.
•Washington State (12-6-1) also finished tied for fourth in the Conference to earn another at-large bid for the Pac-12. This marks the second-straight and seventh all-time NCAA Tournament berth for the Cougars, who have appeared in three of the last four. They open with a road match against Portland on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. PT.
•Washington (10-7-3) will make its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance after missing the cut in 2011. The Huskies, who finished sixth in the Pac-12, have qualified eight times since 2000 and made quarterfinal runs in 2004 and 2010. This marks the 12th tournament appearance for Washington, which hosts Auburn at Husky Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m. PT.
• Streak Tracker: UCLA saw its 25-game unbeaten streak (and its 10-game road unbeaten streak) snapped with a loss at USC on Friday. Meanwhile, Pac-12 champion Stanford, hasn’t lost a true road match since October 31, 2008 when it fell to UCLA at Drake Stadium. The Cardinal also rides a 42-game Conference winning streak, having posted perfect records in league play in each of the last four seasons. The Cardinal has one 15 straight entering the NCAA Tournament.