MARIETTA, Ga. – By virtue of being ranked eighth nationally in the final NAIA Men’s
Soccer Modified Ratings Percentage Index (MRPI) of 2012, the Southern Polytechnic
State University men’s soccer team claimed an at-large spot and the No. 8 seed in
the NAIA national tournament. Southern Polytechnic hosts an NAIA Men’s Soccer National
Championship Opening Round game this Saturday.
Southern Poly, rated No. 11 in the country according to the final regular-season edition of the 2012 NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, earned one of eight at-large bids to the NAIA national event and hosts the Spring Arbor (Mich.) College Cougars at 1 p.m. this Saturday on Nuesoft Technologies Field. The Hornets are making their fourth straight appearance at the NAIA nationals in the six-year history of the program while Spring Arbor also earned its fourth trip, but first since 1979.
The 32 teams in the NAIA national tournament are comprised of 24 automatic qualifiers awarded to conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournament and regular-season champions. The rest of the field is made up of eight at-large teams, selected by the final MRPI.
SPSU posted a MRPI of .77916 in the final index. Defending national champion Lindsey Wilson College is atop of both the MRPI (.915027) and the NAIA coaches’ poll.
The MRPI consists of a team’s modified winning percentage, its opponents’ winning percentage and the cumulative ranking points from the NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Each of the three values has a weighted percentage calculated in the MRPI. The MRPI modifies the value of home/away/neutral results and adds more value for games against opponents ranked in their respective national polls. First adopted in 2010, the MRPI is also used to seed the 32-team field.
The 32 qualifying squads play at 16 on-campus locations in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round this Saturday. The 16 opening-round winners advance to the 54th annual NAIA national championship final site from Monday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex in Montgomery, Ala., the same venue for last week’s Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament.
More information about NAIA men’s soccer, including the full list of national tournament qualifiers, the tournament bracket, the final MRPI and the coaches’ poll are available at naia.org.
Southern Poly is 13-5-1 overall and finished tied for fourth place in the SSAC at 7-3-1. The Hornets, as the No. 5 seed, were the SSAC Tournament runners-up.
The Cougars are back in the NAIA national event after winning the Crossroads League Tournament championship and getting an automatic berth as the No. 2 seed. SAU, which is riding a five-game winning streak, is 16-3-2 overall and went 6-1-2 for second place in the Crossroads League. Spring Arbor is 29th in both the MRPI (.545353) and the latest NAIA coaches’ poll (39 points).