Arizona soccer has suffered a setback after weeks of rising up the RPI.
The Wildcats fell three spots, from 34 to 37, after battling to a scoreless draw with Utah on Friday in Salt Lake City. The Utes are 54th in RPI.
It sets up a critical homestand for Arizona (8-4-1, 2-3-1) this weekend against Oregon and Oregon State. The Ducks (4-5-5, 0-4-2) are one of two teams still searching for their first Pac-12 win (ASU being the other).
At 49th in RPI, a loss or even a draw to Oregon would send Arizona further down the rankings. Same if the Wildcats fall short against Oregon State, though to a lesser extent since the Beavers (9-3-2, 1-3-2) are 33rd in RPI.
The top 32 teams host the first round of the NCAA Tournament, so Arizona needs a strong finish if it hopes to earn an additional home game. The Wildcats still have work to do to secure their place in the field of 64 too.
Arizona is 6-0 against Oregon State in the Tony Amato era. The Beavers’ resurgence has been one of the feel-good stories in college soccer this season after they won two games all of last season.
Arizona is 3-3 against Oregon during that same stretch. The Ducks won last year’s match in Eugene, and the home team has been victorious in each of the last five matchups.
Three of Arizona’s final five games are at home, where it is 4-2 this season, but 1-2 against Pac-12 opponents. After hosting the Oregon schools, the Wildcats head to the Bay Area for road games against Cal and Stanford.
The CardinaI (13-1, 6-0) boast the nation’s No. 1 offense (by a lot) and are likely to run the table in Pac-12 play, having already dispatched second-place Washington, third-place USC, fourth-place Washington State, and fifth-place UCLA.
Just playing against Stanford will boost Arizona’s RPI since the Cardinal rank No. 1 in that category.
Cal, like Oregon State, has experienced a major turnaround since last season. Its 10 victories are double its 2018 win total.
The Wildcats conclude the regular season at home against a struggling ASU team that they have beaten three years in a row. With the Sun Devils currently ranking 100th in RPI, it figures to be a must-win game for Arizona—bragging rights aside.
For a glance at the Pac-12 at large, check out my latest weekly recap on TopDrawerSoccer.com.