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The brackets are out and the Terps are seeded fifth in the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament

Conspiracy theorists break out your ammo. Notre Dame is seeded third while Maryland is seeded fifth. Falling outside the top four gives the Terps a potentially long road to reach the College Cup.

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The NCAA released the brackets for the Men's Division I Soccer Championships on Monday. Four of the six teams from the ACC that made the field of forty-eight earned first round byes including Maryland which enters the tournament as the fifth seed. Notre Dame is the highest seeded ACC squad at number three. Virginia received the eighth seed and Wake Forest is slotted as number fourteen. North Carolina and Clemson will each play first round games Thursday night.

As a seeded team, The Terps will host at least two rounds of the tournament beginning Sunday November 24. Maryland's first opponent will be the winner of the game between Penn and Providence. North Carolina is also in Maryland's bracket but will have to get by South Florida and UC Irvine to set up a possible round of sixteen matchup with the Terps. Should form hold Maryland will again travel west to face the fourth seeded California Bears in a rematch of an early season game in Berkeley that Cal won 3-2 in overtime.

If the Terps get by Cal to reach the College Cup, their likely opponent will be the top overall seed - the UCLA Bruins. UCLA will host the winner of the game between Clemson and Elon in their first match. The Bruins would then face a potential Sweet Sixteen matchup against my alma mater the UMBC Retrievers. (Hey, I had to work that in somehow, right?)

The Terrapins non-conference schedule included five NCAA bound teams. In addition to Cal, the Terps traveled to Stanford and hosted Drexel, Old Dominion, and VCU. The Terps came out of those five games with a record of 1-2-2. In league play (including the ACC Tournament) Maryland was 3-1-3 for an overall record of 4-3-5 against tournament teams.

In other tournament news, Maryland's new conference home, the B1G placed five schools in the tournament though Michigan State at number eleven was the conference's only seeded team. Defending champion Indiana will play Akron in a first round game and will face ninth seeded Marquette should they advance. In addition to the Spartans and the Hoosiers, Northwestern, Penn State, and Wisconsin will also represent the Big Ten.

The Terps first round matchup is currently scheduled for a 5 pm start on Sunday. Philadelphia will host this year's College Cup on the weekend of December 13.