The No. 20 UCF Knights Women’s Soccer team will host the AAC Semifinals and Championship game starting on Thursday night, hosting long-time rival Memphis at 7 p.m. following the first semifinal between SMU and South Florida.
The winner of the tournament gets the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The good news is UCF is likely in the NCAA Tournament even if they don't win the AAC Tournament, but that does not mean there are not huge stakes this week.
Here is UCF's resume going into the AAC Tournament:
- Overall Record: 9-2-4
- American Conference ranking: 8th
- RPI: 21
- Schedule strength: 36
- Record vs. RPI top 50: 1-1-3
The top 50 win is over SMU, to go along with good draws at Texas, LSU, and Utah Valley. That will likely carry the Knights to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.
The NCAA Tournament in Women's Soccer and Volleyball will seed the top 32 teams (up from 16 in the past) by seeding 1-8 through the four regionals.
Chris Henderson, who covers Women's Soccer daily, showed how brackets would look like with the new seeding rules in his projection of the field of 64.
NCAA WoSo Tournament bracket projection through Sunday, October 30.— Chris Henderson (@chris_awk) October 31, 2022
Surprise Cal, you don't have to face Santa Clara! Instead, you get a cross-country flight to Columbia, SC. pic.twitter.com/wx47eTLVRj
In Women's Soccer, the Top 32 seeds would also host a first-round game. The Knights are likely to have a good shot to host.
Let's go through all UCF scenarios:
If UCF Wins the AAC Tournament
The Knights would lock up the auto bid, a top-32 seed, and enter the conversation for consideration as a top-16 seed.
If UCF Loses in the AAC Tournament Final
This scenario would give SMU or South Florida the auto-bid and make the AAC a two-bid league. A loss to South Florida, with an RPI of 128, would knock UCF down the seed line more than a loss to SMU, who is on the bubble with an RPI of 41.
If UCF Loses to Memphis in the AAC Semifinals
This would make it a long weekend for UCF until Selection Monday.
UCF still would get into the tournament but would stress it out a little bit on if UCF will still be seeded or go on the road for the first round. Memphis' RPI is 87.
Keep in mind that, if the Knights lose via penalty kicks in the semifinal or final, it’s officially considered a draw in the resume, which softens the blow somewhat.
UCF hopes to make it a moot point by finishing their last AAC Tournament the same way they did the first AAC Tournament back in 2013, by hoisting the trophy at home.
Their journey begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday night at the UCF Track and Soccer Complex.