NCAA Fall championship season is underway
The GIST: The hunt for the first NCAA ’ship of 2023–24 is officially on, so lock in your brackets, and let’s dive in.
🏑 Field hockey: Fockey’s the first sport to kick off its natty with 18 teams — 10 conference champs and eight at-large selections — making the bracket. Leading the charge? The tourney’s only seeded squads: defending champ No. 1–seed UNC, 2021 champ and 2022 runner-up No. 2 Northwestern, No. 3 Duke, and No. 4 Maryland.
- Today’s two play-in games will determine the 16 teams who’ll face off in Friday’s (official) first round for a shot at Sunday’s quarter-finals.
- The tourney path to watch? Northwestern’s, whose bracket quadrant also includes Iowa and Louisville — all of ’em Top-10 teams in the last national poll. Spicy.
⚽ Women’s soccer: This bracket’s way bigger than fockey’s — 31 conference champs and 33 at-large squads make up the 64-team field (nearly the size of a March Madness bracket). But half of those squads will be sent packing in this weekend’s first round, which kicks off on Friday. Brutal.
- Half the teams are seeded, with each bracket quadrant containing a No. 1 through No. 8 seed. Snagging the four coveted No. 1 spots are Florida State, BYU, Clemson, and reigning champ UCLA. Notably, not a top seed? Bruised 2022 runners-up No. 3 UNC.