Trojans Lock Up Top Seed For 2016 NCAA Championships|
Nov. 20, 2016
The USC men's water polo team will ride a wave of 15 straight victories into the 2016 National Collegiate Championships, having secured an automatic berth and direct trip to the semifinals after claiming the MPSF Tournament title today. With a 23-1 overall record, the Trojans are on the prowl for a 10th NCAA championship for the USC men's program, which has made 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA title match while collecting seven crowns in that run.
The No. 1 team in the nation, USC is set up with an NCAA semifinal spot, awaiting its opponent for that semi -- set for 3 p.m. on December 3 at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley. The 2016 national championship game will be held at 3 p.m. on December 4.
In the opposite NCAA semifinal will be UCLA, which has been dealt back-to-back losses by the Trojans in their last two meetings, including today's 9-6 decision in the MPSF Tournament title match. The Bruins have secured an at-large berth into the NCAA tourney, as has host California, which placed third at the MPSF Tournament. The rest of the field is comprised of conference champions Harvard (Northeast Water Polo Conference), Bucknell (Collegiate Water Polo Association), UC Davis (Western Water Polo Association) and Pomona-Pitzer (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).
In the first play-in game, Harvard (24-6) will host Bucknell (23-4) on Nov. 26. The winner will advance to the second play-in game on Dec. 1 to play UC Davis (23-5), with the winner advancing to the championship bracket to play USC in Berkeley on Dec. 3. In the third play-in game, California (20-4) will host Pomona-Pitzer (21-8) on Dec. 1, with the winner advancing to semifinals against UCLA (25-2) on Dec. 3
USC's last NCAA title came in 2013, capping a historic run of six consecutive championships for the Trojans. The last two titles have gone to UCLA in wins over USC.