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It's dancin' season, already.

Both Michigan and Michigan State earned at-large berths into the NCAA men's soccer tournament, with the bracket unveiled Monday.

Michigan (12-5-2) will host Princeton (10-5-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday, with the winner advancing to play Notre Dame in the second round.

Michigan State (10-4-4) will host Horizon League champion Illinois-Chicago (12-5-2), also at 7 p.m. Thursday. The winner will move on to face Louisville.

"I'd say it's a privilege; I mean it's hard. It is really hard to get into the NCAA Tournament." Michigan State coach Damon Rensing said in a release by the university. "I did the math the other day I mean you've got 48 teams out of 206, but in a conference like the Big Ten you've got to win the automatic (bid) which is really difficult. Basically you have to focus on getting an at-large, which is 24 out of 206 so little over 10 percent of Division I college teams get to play.

"For us to be in there the three of the last four or eight of the last 10, I think, is awesome. It's a privilege, and we're very proud."

For the Spartans, led by standout red-shirt senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague, this is their eighth NCAA bid in the last 10 years. Last season, they beat Virginia Tech and Western Michigan.

Michigan State and UIC met in the NCAA Tournament in 2008, too, with the Flames winning on penalty kicks.

For Michigan, it has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the second time in program history (2003-04). Michigan lost to Colgate, 3-2, in its NCAA Tournament opener last season. 

This year, the Wolverines lost in the Big Ten tournament championship game, 3-0, to Indiana, a No. 2 seed in the NCAAs. Maryland also made the field from the Big Ten.

The Wolverines are led by Big Ten offensive player of the year Jack Hallahan, a junior forward from Redditch, England.

Western Michigan (9-5-3), which lost to Akron, 3-0, in the Mid-American Conference title match, missed out on the NCAA field.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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