Michigan State hosts Oakland Saturday as four Big Ten teams begin NCAA tournament play
PARK RIDGE – Ill. – Four Big Ten teams earned berths to the 2007 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship as announced Monday, Nov. 19, by the Division I Men’s Soccer Committee. Michigan State will both host and compete in first round action, while Indiana, Northwestern and Ohio State received a first-round bye.
Indiana (13-4-4) was awarded the No. 4 seed and will host a second round game after winning its eleventh regular season title in the past 12 years. The Hoosiers are making their 21st straight NCAA appearance and will square off against the winner of first-round action between DePaul (12-7-0) and Missouri Valley Tournament Champion Bradley (14-5-3). IU touts a Big Ten-best NCAA Championship record of 72-20-2 that includes seven first-place finishes.
Ohio State (13-3-5) enters NCAA play garnering the No. 5 seed fresh off its thrilling shootout victory over the Hoosiers to claim the Big Ten Championship. Conference Player of the Year Xavier Balc paces the Big Ten in points with 24 (12 assists and five goals) in all regular season games. The Buckeyes will match-up against either Duke (11-7-1) or Louisville (10-6-4) in second-round action.
Northwestern (12-4-3) begins the tournament carrying the No. 9 seed after suffering a 1-0 loss to Ohio State in Big Ten semifinal play. The Wildcats have allowed the fewest goals out of Big Ten squads only giving up 12 scores in all games. NU is led by the talented trio of Piero Bellizzi, David Roth and Carl Pett, who all rank in the conference’s top six for points. The Wildcats will play host to either Illinois-Chicago (11-5-5) or Saint Louis (12-2-4) in the second round.
The only Big Ten team competing in first-round play will be Michigan State (11-5-4). The Spartans face Oakland (11-6-3) at Old College Field on the campus of MSU. If victorious, the Spartans will travel to South Bend to encounter No. 10 seed Notre Dame (12-4-5).
The 2007 Men’s College Cup will be played December 14 and 16 at SAS Soccer Stadium in Cary, N.C.