There’s just one final match day on the Big East men’s soccer schedule, which means we can finally get down to brass tacks in terms of seeding for the conference tournament. The top six teams in the league qualify, while the bottom four teams will watch their season end on Wednesday night.
In fact, Seton Hall, Butler, and Villanova are all eliminated already. Seton Hall can pull into a tie with Xavier for sixth place with some help, but the Pirates lost to the Musketeers last time out, and thus would lose the tiebreaker as well. If they’d lose a tiebreaker for sixth place, that means they’d finish in seventh and out of the field at best. Rather conveniently, Seton Hall and Villanova play each other on Wednesday, so they won’t even have the opportunity to play spoiler for anyone.
That leaves us with seven teams competing for six spots. We’ll go team by team here to figure out what’s what in terms of best case and worst case scenarios for their seedings along the way. All of the matches on Wednesday will be broadcast on the Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go, but be advised: all the matches that we’ll be talking about here are all on at mostly the same time on Wednesday night.
Creighton Bluejays - 7-0-1, 22 points
They’ve already secured the regular season title and the #1 seed. They’re six points clear of everyone else. They’ll host one of the two semifinal matches and wait to see who wins in the quarterfinals and advances to play them. I like it when these are simple.
Georgetown Hoyas - 5-2-1, 16 points
Final Match: at Creighton, 7pm Central, Big East Digital Network
We go straight from a very easy one to a very tricky one. First, the easy part for the Hoyas: If they win and become the only team in the league to beat Creighton this year, they clinch the two seed and a bye to the semifinals. Providence can tie them, but Georgetown beat PC this year, thus holding the tiebreaker.
If Georgetown loses or draws, which is the more likely possibility given they’re playing Creighton, things get weird. They could fall as far as fourth place, possibly. Providence can pass them with a win, and if GU loses, Marquette can tie them. Those two went to a draw earlier this season, so that means we have to head further down the tiebreaker sheet to see who ends up on top, and that’s a crapshoot at that point. There is a possibility of a three-way tie for second at 16 points, but that’s actually good for Georgetown, as they’re 1-0-1 against Providence and Marquette.
Providence Friars - 5-2-1, 16 points
Final Match: at St. John’s, 6pm Central, Big East Digital Network
The Friars are playing for a chance to skip the quarterfinals completely. With a win and a Georgetown loss or draw, they’ll be the #2 seed and will host the other semifinal match. They can still get there with a draw and a Georgetown loss, too. A Georgetown win locks the Friars into third place and hosting a quarterfinal match no matter what.
In fact, I believe it’s either second or third place for Providence. They would end up winning a two-way tiebreaker with Marquette thanks to a 90th minute goal against the Golden Eagles, and they have a 1-1-0 record against MU and Georgetown. If it turns into a three-way tie for second, PC comes out of that “mini-conference” with the second best record, which would mean third place.
Marquette Golden Eagles - 4-3-1, 13 points
Final Match: vs DePaul, 7pm Central, Big East Digital Network
The best possible result for Marquette with a win on Wednesday night is being able to say they finished second in the league this year. However, that would mean a three-way tie, and with a 0-1-1 record against Georgetown and Providence, that makes MU third best in the group and thus in fourth place and hosting a quarterfinal match.
There’s a chance of officially finishing third with a win, a Providence win or draw, and a Georgetown loss, but that involves deep tiebreakers with the Hoyas, and there’s really no difference between third and fourth other than getting to say you were third.
Still, a win locks up hosting a quarterfinal match for Marquette, and that’s a good thing. A draw and a St. John’s draw or loss would do it as well. The Golden Eagles will head out on the road for the quarterfinals if they don’t win and St. John’s does, but they can’t finish lower than the #5 seed, no matter what Xavier does.
St. John’s Red Storm - 3-2-3, 12 points
Final Match: vs Providence, 6pm Central, Big East Digital Network
Here’s what we know for sure about the Red Storm right now: They’re definitely in the six team field. DePaul can’t catch them. There’s a possibility that they could host a quarterfinal match as well, but they’re going to need help to get there. They need to beat Providence to get to 15 points, and then also hope DePaul wins or draws against Marquette to freeze the Golden Eagles at either 14 or 13 points.
A draw isn’t definitely helpful for St. John’s, as it exposes them to tiebreakers with Xavier. Those two went to a 1-1 draw in late September, so it’s hard to say what ends up as the tiebreaker to decide who would be fifth or sixth in that situation. There is a possibility of a three-way tie at 13 points with a Marquette loss and win by Xavier, but Marquette beat both the Johnnies and the Musketeers, so that would clinch fourth for the Golden Eagles and still send the other two out to deeper tiebreakers.
Xavier Musketeers - 3-4-1, 10 points
Final Match: vs Butler, 6pm Central, Big East Digital Network
A spot in the field is not locked up for the Musketeers at this point. They would clinch it with a win, but would need help from Marquette with a draw or a loss. DePaul beat Xavier 1-0 this season, so XU needs to avoid the 11 point tie for sixth place, as that would send DePaul into the field over them.
No matter what, if they make it in, Xavier will be playing a quarterfinal match on the road. With a loss to Marquette on the books, they’re not going to finish better than fifth place.
DePaul Blue Demons - 2-4-2, 8 points
Final Match: at Marquette, 7pm Central, Big East Digital Network
The Blue Demons are on the outside looking in right now, and they have to beat Marquette to get in. That’s their only path, as they need all three points to provoke a positive standing against Xavier. From there, they need help from Butler, but only a little bit. A loss or a draw by Xavier combined with a DePaul win would put the Blue Demons into the field. Either they get in straight up 11 points to 10, or they get in by way of a tiebreaker thanks to their win over the Musketeers earlier this season.