Men's DI Tournament Third Round Preview

Men's DI Tournament Third Round Preview
by Victor Olorunfemi
November 24, 2023

Here is a preview covering everything you need to know ahead of the men's college tournament sweet sixteen.

Marshall Region 

No. 4 Stanford (10-3-5) at No. 1 Marshall (18-2) - Sunday, November 26th, 1 PM Eastern, ESPN+

Stanford has the type of playing style that could pose issues for Marshall. A compact, low block, with pressing traps and athletes on the break, all traits Stanford possesses, has proven to be a formula that could work. The problem is Marshall will have so much of the ball that it will push a relatively young Stanford team to the edge. Fitness will not be the issue here, but will the Cardinals have the concentration needed to survive the Herd onslaught?

No. 3 Clemson (11-3-5) at No. 2 New Hampshire (13-2-4) - Sunday, November 26th, 5 PM Eastern, ESPN+

After knocking out the 2022 champions, New Hampshire gets a chance at the 2021 winners in another home game. Opportunities like this are rare in college soccer, and the Wildcats have the experience to capitalize. But as Clemson has increasingly mastered the 3-back system over the season, this is a team in form and chemistry.


Notre Dame Region

No. 5 Western Michigan (17-1-3) at No. 1 Notre Dame (12-2-4) - Sunday, November 26th, 5 PM Eastern, ESPN+

This game will be a ton of fun to watch. Notre Dame is exceptional on the break, but so is Western Michigan. Perhaps the key here will be the nation’s top scorer, Charlie Sharp, who relishes the role of an antagonist in frustrating the opposition. Or could it be Eno Nto of Notre Dame who has shown he can catch fire at any moment? This matchup will be full of fascinating battles.

No. 6 Indiana (14-4-4) at No. 2 Virginia (11-3-4) - Sunday, November 26th, 1 PM Eastern, ESPN+

Two historic powers meet, yet again, as Indiana travels to Virginia for a Sweet Sixteen matchup. The Hoosiers will be tough to break down, particularly with Hugo Bacharach protecting the back four and closing down the pockets Mouhameth Thiam looks to exploit. But if Virginia can bypass the Indiana midfield and find Stephen Annor Gyamfi, it has an avenue for success. But if the Hoosiers take advantage of set-piece opportunities as they have all season, they may only need one chance.


North Carolina Region

No. 4 Hofstra (14-3-4) at No. 1 North Carolina (11-3-6) – Sunday, November 26th, 5 PM Eastern, ESPN+

It is easier said than done, but the key for North Carolina is shutting down Eliot Goldthorp and Ryan Carmichael, who have 24 of the team’s 36 goals between the two. But if the Tar Heels find a way, they could buy enough time to snag a game-winner.

No. 6 Oregon State (9-5-5) at No. 2 SMU (14-2-2) - Saturday, November 25th, 8 PM Eastern, ESPN+

As a 5-2-2 road team, Oregon State will not be intimidated by traveling to SMU, especially considering that the Beavers are undefeated through six since making some line-up changes in late October. And where the Mustangs are concerned, the objective is simple- exploit Oregon State in transition and defend home turf as they have all season to the tune of 11-1-1.


Georgetown Region

No. 6 Vermont (13-5-2) at No. 2 West Virginia (15-2-4) - Saturday, November 25th, 4 PM Eastern, ESPN+

Bringing a real physicality that will pose a problem for West Virginia, the Catamounts have every chance of upsetting the Mountaineers. The key will be disrupting West Virginia early and often, as Marcus Caldeira only needs a half chance.

No. 9 James Madison (10-4-5) at No.5 Loyola Marymount (9-4-6) - Saturday, November 25th, 10 PM Eastern, ESPN+

James Madison could not have wished for a better Sweet Sixteen matchup. Of course, traveling clear across the country is far from ideal, but considering where the postseason started, playing a fifth seed is not a bad proposition, especially knowing shutting down Tyger Smalls would likely lead to victory.

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