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Men’s Preview: Conference Tourneys End Run

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: November 12, 2015

This weekend is the end of the season for the majority programs in division I. The men’s selection show is on Monday when the 24 conference winners and 24 at-large teams will find out what’s next as the rest of the programs look on wishfully at what could have been. The 48 teams are far from decided as only Stanford, Dartmouth, and Rider are into the NCAA Tournament as of Nov. 11. 

The rest will be decided this weekend. Check out some of the top games to watch this weekend. 

Games to Watch

Tulsa (7-6-4, 3-3-2) vs. No. 10 SMU (13-2-3, 7-0-1), Friday, Nov. 13 4:30 p.m. 

This is the AAC semifinal in Tampa. The conference has been dominated by SMU and South Florida this season and that is likely going to be the final on Sunday. However, Tulsa is playing for everything on Friday. A loss will likely push the Hurricane out of the picture for an at-large berth regardless of the quality of the out of conference schedule. Tulsa will need another standout performance from goalkeeper Jake McGuire if they hope to pull the upset. SMU has played some quality soccer this season and will be in the NCAA Tournament regardless of the result on Friday. The Mustangs are playing for a chance to get a higher seed in the tournament and avoid some of the tricky teams in the early rounds, which could be a huge benefit for a relatively inexperienced SMU side. 

American (13-4-3, 5-2-2) vs. Boston University (12-4-2, 6-1-2), Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m. 

The Patriot League semifinal showdown on Friday is a meaningful clash for both sides. American is on the outside of the bubble for an at-large berth right now (despite the 13 wins) and needs a victory over the Terriers. Boston’s RPI is at No. 30 heading into the game, which might keep the Terriers in the mix for an at-large spot if the bid for the Patriot League title comes up short. Felix De Bona scored the lone goal in the first meeting this season between the teams. Boston goalkeeper Matt Gilbert made eight saves in a winning effort. American is undefeated in its last nine games since then and has only let in three goals during that period. 

Saint Louis (8-6-2, 4-2-2) vs. Rhode Island (9-7-2, 4-3-1), Thursday, Nov. 12, 8 p.m. 

The season has not gone to plan for either Saint Louis or Rhode Island this season. Both programs came into 2015 with much promise on paper, but neither has reached the preseason expectation. The silver lining of the college season is that all can be forgotten with a few weeks of winning soccer. Both teams need those wins to start on Thursday as this is a loser goes home game with neither program in a good spot in terms of RPI for an at-large bid. Emil Jesman Sunde and Faik Hajderovic scored the goals in a 1-1 draw between these teams earlier this season. 

No. 5 Stanford (13-2-2, 6-1-2) vs. California (9-5-2, 4-3-2), Thursday, Nov. 12, 6 p.m. 

Stanford already has the Pac-12 title locked up for a second consecutive season. Thursday’s game is a celebration of another great season for the Cardinal. It is also a chance to perhaps end the season of a rival. California is sitting in a precarious spot heading into the weekend. The Golden Bears would received an at-large berth if the season ended on Wednesday, but there are still a number of automatic berths to hand out, which could push the Golden Bears out if the results don’t go as expected. California could eliminate that nervous wait for a team on the bubble with a win on Thursday. 

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