USC Men's Water Polo Bound For 16th Straight NCAA Tournament
The USC men's water polo team enters familiar territory with its 16th consecutive selection to the National Collegiate Men's Water Polo Championship. An at-large pick for this season's tourney, the Trojans are also hosting the event. On March 18, opening round games will be held at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. PT at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center on March 18, with semifinals and championship action held March 20-21. The NCAA released the bracket tonight (March 7) on NCAA.com.
This year's tournament is unique in that the 2020 men's water polo season was pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. USC carries a 6-8 record into the tourney after claiming third place in the MPSF Tournament, topping rival UCLA 11-7 in the third-place game. The Trojans have earned an at-large bid into the NCAA tourney, and will face Bucknell (4-1) in an opening round contest on March 18 in home waters.
Under the direction of second-year head coach Marko Pintaric, USC is making its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, with championships won in eight of those last 15 runs. In all, USC has won 10 men's national championships, the last coming in 2018. In 2019, USC fell in a sudden-death loss to Stanford in the semifinals.
This year's NCAA semifinals are set for 2 p.m and 5 p.m. on March 20 at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The NCAA championship match will be held at 2 p.m. on March 21. Also making the tournament are automatic qualifiers Stanford, Bucknell and Cal Baptist. With California, USC and UCLA earning at-large bids.