Cal Women's Water Polo vs. Arizona State in MPSF Tournament 3rd Place game Open Thread

The Bears will look to end their MPSF tournament on a high note (and 3rd place). - Cal Women's Water Polo Twitter

Cal Women's Water Polo plays the 3rd place game in the MPSF Tournament against Arizona State today at 12:30 pm. Can the Bears ends the MPSF Tournament on a high note before a possible berth in the NCAA Tournament?

California Golden Bears (18-8) vs. Arizona State - MPSF 3rd Place Game

When: 12:30 PM PT

Online Stream: Pac-12 Digital (USC)

Game Updates: Twitter (@CalWWPolo)

Like Jon Snow, apparently I know nothing about this whole NCAA Women's Water Polo tournament. Regular reader would know that I had written with confidence that the No.4 ranking for the Golden Bears will be sufficient for the Bears to make the NCAA tournament back in my Next Cal NCAA Title post. In this past week, I backtracked a bit on the odds of the Bears making the NCAA tournament after seeing how out of the 8 teams in the field (as of last year), 6 went to automatic bids. Given the No.4 Bears are in the same MPSF conference as the top 3 teams (Stanfurd, USC, and UCLA), I thought the Bears need to win the MPSF to get a NCAA berth. Judging from the language in the game recap and the Daily Cal article on the MPSF tournament, apparently I am dead wrong. I apologize for writing down some misleading information about this, especially given the lack of information on the subject and how my posts may be one of the first result to pop up on a search about this. Oops.

From CalBears.com:

The Bears (18-8) will meet sixth-seeded Arizona State at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Win or lose, Cal is expected to earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth when the selections are announced Monday evening.

From the Daily Cal article on Thursday:

A win Friday would mean the Bears advance to the semifinals Saturday for a rematch of the Big Splash, against No. 1 Stanford. But, more importantly, a win means that Cal will, at the very worst, be No. 4 in the MPSF, regardless of what happens in the rest of the tournament.

And that’s what the Bears are going to need: a top-four finish, which will almost certainly be enough for a ticket to the national championship. At this point, the only goal is to put the Spartans away.

Apparently, the Bears only needed to beat San Jose State on Friday, which they did in OT behind the hat trick by senior Ashley Young. Now I don't know if the tournament has been expanded this year (it did for the men in December...which I also did NOT realize until the last couple of games before the draw was announced) or if one of the automatic bid is revoked so that there are now 3 at-large bids (this is probably the most likely scenario as the NCAA schedule pretty clearly imply that the tournament size is still 8 teams), but I guess the Bears may be dancing after all. This news also explained why the Bears did not play Saturday's semifinal and Big Splash rematch with 'Furd with more of a sense of urgency.

The NCAA Tournament this year is hosted by USC two weekends from now (5/9-5/11), in the same pool that these MPSF Tournament games are taking place. So today's game would be a good practice, if nothing else. Bears would also like to get revenge on ASU for a 5-6 loss earlier in the year.

GO BEARS!

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