We have five matches left in the Big East women's soccer regular season. Heading into the final match day on Friday, no one has clinched a Big East tournament seed, although we know which six teams will be in the field. Four teams can still end up with at least a share of the regular season title or even just get a bye to the semifinals. Three teams can still end up with the #1 seed. Five teams can end up finishing sixth. All six teams could end up hosting one of the two quarterfinal matches by the end of the day on Friday.
What I'm saying is that there's a lot of moving parts. Let's try to explain what's on the line on Friday.
1) St. John's (6-1-1, 19 points)
Final Match: at Providence, 6pm Central, BEDN
As always, if you hold the top spot by yourself at the start of the final day, you control your own destiny. If St. John's beats Providence, they win the regular season title and the #1 seed in the Big East tournament. Things get slightly more complicated from there, but the Red Storm has the advantage of playing after the second and third place teams already will have finished their matches. A loss could send the Red Storm as low as third place, because they'd still end up winning a tiebreaker with Marquette. If St. John's happens to draw with Providence, they could end up tied with Georgetown and/or DePaul. Georgetown holds the tie breaker against SJU courtesy of a 3-1 win, while tying with DePaul earlier this year means it's hard to say which tiebreaker will end up creating the difference in that scenario.
2) DePaul (5-1-2, 17 points)
Final Match: vs Marquette, 2pm Central, BEDN
Ok, now we get goofy. DePaul needs a win over Marquette and a St. John's loss to take the top seed in the tournament. If DePaul and Georgetown both win, the Blue Demons will stay in front of the Hoyas, regardless of how anyone else performs.
There is still a possibility that DePaul falls as far as sixth place. If they lose, the possibility exists that Georgetown, Marquette, Butler, and Providence would all pass them. Obviously, MU would pass them since the Golden Eagles are only one point back, but the Bulldogs and Friars are only two points back, and their wins wouldn't affect anyone else. That 2-0 loss to Providence back on October 22nd looms very large for DePaul right now.
3) Georgetown (5-1-2, 17 points)
Final Match: vs Creighton, 1:30pm Central, BEDN
Pretty much everything that I just said about DePaul applies to Georgetown. They're still alive for the league title, but they would need a win over Creighton, a SJU loss or draw AND a DPU loss or draw to get there. If GU wins and SJU draws then the Hoyas would be the #1 seed, but they'd have to share the league title with the Red Storm. If that all happens PLUS DePaul wins, then it all gets very confusing as to who ends up getting the top seed.
As is the case with DePaul, Georgetown could still end up as far south as sixth. The three teams below them in the standings currently all have games against teams that are either out of the picture or in front of Georgetown already, so wins by those three combined with a Hoyas loss will send GU tumbling down to the bottom of the playoff picture.
4) Marquette (5-2-1, 16 points)
Final Match: at DePaul, 2pm Central, BEDN
Here we have our final team that's still eligible for the regular season title. IF Marquette beats DePaul, and IF St. John's loses to Providence, and IF Georgetown either draws with or loses to Creighton, then the Golden Eagles get to share the regular season title with the Red Storm. They can't end up as the #1 seed, as St. John's defeated Marquette 3-0 earlier this season, but it would still mean a bye into the Big East semifinals in Omaha.
That scenario is the only way that Marquette gets their way into a bye to the semifinals. Wins by Georgetown or St. John's would keep the Golden Eagles in the four pack of teams that will play in the quarterfinals, but they do have the inside track on hosting a quarterfinal match. If MU's match with DePaul ends in a draw or a loss by Marquette, then they could end up falling down as far as the sixth and final spot, so pretty much anything is up for grabs on Friday afternoon in Lincoln Park.
5) Butler (5-3-0, 15 points)
Final Match: vs Xavier, 6pm Central, BEDN
The Bulldogs can not win the Big East title. That's off the table. Also off the table: getting a bye to the semifinals. While Butler has a tiebreaker with Georgetown, they'd also need a DePaul loss to get there because they don't have the advantage against the Blue Demons. A DePaul loss means a Marquette win, which keeps the Golden Eagles a slight step in front of Butler.
The best that Butler can do is host a quarterfinal match. They'll need to defeat the Musketeers first of all, and then need a Marquette or a Georgetown loss for that to happen. That's actually kind of a likely scenario, as DePaul would have to be favored against Marquette. Marquette gets the advantage in case of a MU loss and Butler draw courtesy of Sunday's 1-0 win. Funny how that works. Sixth place is still on the table for BU if they lose or draw and Providence bumps off St. John's.
6) Providence (5-3-0, 15 points)
Final Match: vs St. John's, 6pm Central, BEDN
As the Friars are tied with Butler right now, we can basically take everything position related that we just figured out about Butler and just apply it to Providence. There are only two differences: Butler will stand in front of Providence if both teams end up winning or drawing in their matches, and Providence has the head-to-head tiebreaker with DePaul, but not with Georgetown. In fact, DePaul is the only team in front of PC in the standings that the Friars do own the tiebreaker against, and they can't end up in a tie with St. John's if they pull of the home win in their season finale.