__OOLTEWAH, TENN.—__After 54 holes of stroke-play competition at the NCAA Championship, we're set to make the switch to match play to determine the 2010 team champion.
Well almost, that is.
While the third round at The Honors Course Thursday did finish (albeit with no sunlight to spare), the identity of all eight schools that will make up the brackets for the head-to-head competition set to take place the next three days haven't quite been finalized.
San Diego (final-round 292), Arizona State (290) and Stanford (288) must return Friday morning for a playoff to determine the eighth and final team, each of the schools finishing at four-over 868.
Before going to bed Thursday, two of the three schools had to wrestle with the fact they could have avoided this fate had they only played their final hole better. Stanford, finishing on the ninth hole, counted two bogeys on its last hole while San Diego made four bogeys on the 18th.
"We'll try to keep things loose [tonight]," said San Diego coach Tim Mickelson. "We don't want them to dwell too much on what might have been, but just get them focused for tomorrow."
"I know our guys are tired, so I don't think they've have much problem getting to sleep," noted Stanford coach Conrad Ray. "But we've got a fresh slate tomorrow, and we'll go out and get to it."
The winner of the 8 a.m. playoff earns the right to face Oklahoma State when the match-play quarterfinal begins. The Cowboys shot a third-round five-under 283 to pass second-round leader Florida State and secure the No. 1 seed for the second straight year with a 14-under 850. Of course, that's where OSU hopes the comparisons to 2009 end as they were bounced in the quarterfinal round a year ago by Georgia.
"We know what happened to us last year," said OSU sophomore Peter Uihlein, one of three players who experienced the 2009 loss first hand. "We'll be ready."
"I don't think you have to say anything [about last year]," added Cowboy coach Mike McGraw. "I think they know what they need to do. They remember what the feel was like in that locker room a year ago and they don't want to feel that way again."
Florida State earned the No. 2 seed, finishing four shots back of Oklahoma State, and will face Texas Tech, Friday. The Red Raiders were the only school to qualify for match play that played during the morning wave of the third round. With a eight-under 280, the low score of the third round, coach Greg Sands' squad vaulted into seventh place.
Interestingly, while match play is a rarity during regular-season competition, Florida State and Texas Tech have played once before in the formet: the 2009 Callaway Match Play Championship, where the Seminoles won 3-1-1.
No. 3 seed Georgia Tech will face an in-state foe in No. 6 seed Augusta State, while Pac-10 rivals Washington and Oregon will square off in the other quarterfinal match.