NCAA field hockey season underway
How it works: Seventy-nine NCAA programs play through the end of October with the nation’s top 18 teams earning a national tourney berth. Ten of the 18 teams are determined by winning conference championships, but only six of those automatically qualify for the bracket.
- The bottom four conference champs must compete in the two play-in matches. The other eight bracket spots are selected by a committee.
- Those two play-in games determine the 16-squad single-elimination bracket before the final four teams travel to UConn to try and hoist the trophy on November 20th.
- The Big Ten is one to watch this year. Including No. 1 Northwestern, the conference boasts four schools in the top five rankings with No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Maryland and No. 5 Iowa. And Rutgers, Penn State and Ohio State clock in at Nos. 8, 11 and 22, respectively. Show-offs.
- Watch out for some Week 1 movement, though, because No. 8 Rutgers already dropped a double overtime and penalty shoot-out nailbiter 2–1 to No. 18 Duke as well as a shocking 5–0 blowout to No. 16 St. Joseph’s. Yikes.