NCAA men's championships: Breaking down every team in the field

NCAA men's championships: Breaking down every team in the field

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NCAA men's championships: Breaking down every team in the field

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The NCAA Championship begins May 24 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., with 30 teams and six individuals competing at Blessings Golf Club.

This year marks the fifth consecutive year, the men’s championship is being played immediately following the women’s championship on the same golf course. 

Last year was the first time in the match play era we saw the team that won the stroke play portion of the championship go on to win the national title.

With Duke winning a thriller on the women’s side on Wednesday and the men’s team in the field this week, the Blue Devils will seek to do what only Arizona State in 1990 accomplished: win a women’s and men’s national title in the same season.

Past champions

(The NCAA championship switched to match play in 2009)

Year NCAA Champion Seed Golfweek rank Stroke Play Winner Golfweek rank
2018 Oklahoma State 1 1 Oklahoma State 1
2017 Oklahoma 2 14 Vanderbilt 1
2016 Oregon 5 22 Texas 1
2015 LSU 3 11 Illinois 1
2014 Alabama 2 1 Stanford 3
2013 Alabama 3 2 California 1
2012 Texas 3 1 Alabama 2
2011 Augusta 7 8 UCLA 3
2010 Augusta 6 5 Oklahoma State 1
2009 Texas A&M 7 14 Oklahoma State 1

Prediction time:

Top 8 after 72 holes

Oklahoma State – Clear favorite and not a lot to say here that you don’t already know. Defending champs have been No. 1 all season and have the best two players in college golf in top-ranked Viktor Hovland and No. 2 Matthew Wolff. Only 10 schools have beaten the Cowboys in stroke play this year and they only did so once. 

Arizona State – Sun Devils have the most head-to-head wins in college golf this year with a win-loss record of 147-12-2. Arizona State has four wins and has finished first or second in 10 of its 12 tournaments this year. 

Georgia Tech – Five-time winner this year has had a few downs as well, but finding a spot in match play should be in play for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets should not lack motivation after missing the national championship the last three years.

Wake Forest – Outstanding spring season for the Demon Deacons with five wins and a second-place finish prior to a third-place at ACC Championship and NCAA regional play. 

Oklahoma – Nothing worse than a third-place finish for the Sooners this spring with a spotlight victory at the Southern Highlands Collegiate. Blaine Hale and Brad Dalke remain in the Sooners lineup from the team that won the 2017 title at Rich Harvest Farms. 

Duke – Not exactly making headlines, but don’t forget this team was the 54-hole leader in Stillwater last year before earning the No. 2 seed and losing in the semifinals. The Blue Devils return four players from last year’s lineup and that should prove to be valuable again this week. 

Auburn – Somewhat of a roller coaster ride this spring, but when the Tigers are clicking we see the what it can be. Auburn was the stroke play champions at the SEC and finished second to Oklahoma State after leading after 36 hole at NCAA regional play.

South Carolina – Had to win a playoff in NCAA regional play just to have a tee time this week. But, the Gamecocks had a strong spring season winning three times and have had time to regroup after NCAA and SEC performances.

Just missing the cut

Stanford – Confident group with four wins in a row including Pac-12 title and regional title.

Texas – picked up first win of the season at home in regional play.

Vanderbilt – If Commodores find match play, trio of Will Gordon, John Augenstein and Patrick Martin could carry Vanderbilt deep into the championship.

Don’t be surprised …

Georgia – Freshman of the year candidate Trent Phillips leading the way for a Bulldog team that is starting to roll downhill.

Illinois – Maybe one of Mike Small’s better jobs of getting a team to be a contender. Can this team make a run? 

SMU – With Noah Goodwin back, SMU is better than the numbers say.

Keep an eye on …

Pepperdine – WCC champs have played very well this year despite the abscense of All-American Sahith Theegala who is out for the year due to injury. 

LSU – Rallied in regional play to get to finals. Will need help at bottom of lineup at Blessings GC. 

Baylor – No superstars in the Bears’ lineup, but come in playing well after third-place at tough Louisville Regional.

California – Been in the Stanford shadow a bit this spring, but Golden Bears have three players in top 50 led by player of the year candidate Collin Morikawa. 

North Florida – Four seniors led by Philip Knowles should be ready for any test they face. 

Going for the green in two …

USC – Certainly have the ability to make a run led by Justin Suh, but is there enough depth and consistency? 

Clemson – Senior Bryson Nimmer needs to play his best to help the Tigers have a shot at making any run this week.

Louisville – Sophomore Matthias Schmid leads the Cardinals to the finals for the first time since 2016. 

Liberty – Senior Gabe Lench leads the Flames to the championship for just the second time in program history. 

TCU – Horned Frogs playing well with runner-up showings at Big 12 Conference Championship and NCAA Austin Regional. 

Texas A&M – Aggies won program’s second NCAA regional title to spark trip to finals. 

North Carolina – Tar Heels making third consecutive trip to NCAA championship, but still in search of first appearance in match play. 

Hoping to play on Monday …

BYU – All-American candidate Peter Kuest hoping to help his team make headlines with their play instead of when they play.

UNLV – Rebels making third trip to the finals in last three years. 

Ohio State – Head coach Jay Moseley guides Buckeyes to first finals appearance since 2011.

Georgia Southern – All eyes on Steven Fisk. Can he win here on this stage? 

Streaks

Texas extends its NCAA championship streak to 13 – the nation’s longest when it comes to advancing from regional play to the national championship.

13 – Texas

12 – Illinois

9 – Oklahoma

8 – Auburn

7 – Oklahoma State

6 – Stanford

6 – Vanderbilt

5 – Arizona State

5 – Clemson

4 – Baylor

Format

May 24-27 (Friday-Monday) – 72 holes of stroke play (with BYU playing its Sunday round on Thursday, May 23, while the rest of the field plays practice rounds).

Low 15 teams, top nine individuals advance to stroke-play final round to determine eight teams for match play and the individual champion. 

May 28 (Tuesday) – Quarterfinal and semifinal matches

May 29 (Wednesday) – Championship match

The field

(Golfweek/Sagarin rankings)

1. Oklahoma State

2. Arizona State

3. Texas

4. Georgia Tech

5. Vanderbilt

6. Wake Forest

7. Duke

8. Oklahoma

9. California

10. Southern California

11. Georgia

12. Stanford

13. Auburn

14. South Carolina

15. LSU

16. Pepperdine

17. North Florida

18. Clemson

19. Baylor

20. Louisville

21. Illinois

22. Liberty

24. TCU

25. Texas A&M

26. North Carolina

33. BYU

34. UNLV

42. SMU

43. Ohio State

47. Georgia Southern

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