Written by: Billyle Alman
The Michigan Wolverines found out their NCAA fate Monday, November 13th in what became a historic day for this Men’s Soccer program. Coach Chaka Daley’s side earned a 13th overall seed, which gives them a round 1 bye. They now await the winner of Colgate and UMass.
The news has to come as a moral boost as the Wolverines are fresh off a disappointing result against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Semi-Final. Those same Badgers went on to win the Big Ten Tournament outright, making the November 10th loss not so damaging.
The selection committee showed their respect for Michigan with a valuable 13 seed. Looking back at our season preview, we noted that this fall’s schedule was slated very nicely for this group. Though Michigan didn’t play host to many marquee nonconference opponents, they did host 7 non Big Ten games for a 5-1-1 record. Two narrow nonconference road loses (Western Michigan, Notre Dame) did not damage Michigan’s resume either as both of those sides also earned first round byes in the College Cup. Seven of Michigan’s seventeen regular season opponents earned a NCAA bid, giving the wolverines one of the strongest strengths of schedule in the entire nation.
UMass will host Colgate on Thursday, November 16th. The winner will then immediately travel to Ann Arbor as Michigan will host its second round game on Sunday, November 19th at 5pm. The winner will advance to the College Cup’s Sweet 16. Should Michigan win its match on Sunday, experts would predict the Wolverines to travel to Louisville for round 3. The Louisville Cardinals await the winner of Cal vs San Francisco. If one of those west coast sides were able to upset the Cardinals, Michigan would be in play to host a 3rd round match.
With one of the Big Ten’s youngest rosters, Coach Daley has to be excited and more-so relieved with his team’s NCAA draw. They can eliminate the taste of a Wisconsin loss with a win this Sunday. This Michigan team has the talent to do so. As we understand the college overtime rules, there must be a winner in this tournament match. Look for the Wolverines to apply pressure early as the home favorite in search for a goal. It would be foolish for this Michigan team to sit in with superior talent as unpredictable penalty kicks would loom. Standouts Francis Atuahene and Jack Hallahan can turn a game upside down on their own, but eyes should should be on the depended on youngsters Ybarra, Zakyi and Osman as these freshman will be looked to by their teammates in this elimination game.
MSN will have a match preview once Michigan’s November 19th opponent is finalized. Tickets for Sunday’s 5pm home NCAA match can be found here.