[BIG EAST MEN] South Florida and St. John's -- two traditional national powers -- will have to spend the next week and a half sweating it out before they'll find out whether they've earned bids to the 2010 NCAA Men's Tournament. Losses in the first round of the Big East Tournament -- the biggest conference tournament with 12 qualifiers and four rounds culminating with the final four Nov. 12-14 at Red Bull Arena -- have left the Red Storm and Bulls on the proverbial bubble.
USF, 35th in this week's RPI index, fell at West Virginia, 2-1, on Wednesday night. Sophomore Eric Schoenle's third game-winning goal of the season was the difference for the Mountaineers, who won their first conference tournament game in three years.
St. John's, 37th in the RPI rankings, lost at home to Marquette, 3-1, in Wednesday's biggest upset. The win was the first for the Golden Eagles in the conference tournament since they joined the Big East in 2005.
Marquette recovered after conceding the tying goal right before the end of the half. Senior Anthony Colaizzihad the eventual game-winning goal in the 75th minute for Marquette, which snapped St. John's goalkeeper Rafael Diaz's six-game shutout streak.
Providence all but wrapped up an NCAA bid with a 3-0 win over Villanova -- its fifth win in a row this season. It marked the third consecutive season that the Friars and Wildcats met in the first round and the Friars have prevailed each time to advance to the quarterfinals. Freshman Greg Davis scored late in the first half, while senior Matt Marcin added two goals in the second half.
Connecticut, ranked 9th in the Soccer America Men's Top 25, had its first-round game against DePaul pushed back until Friday because of bad weather. The winner will play at Cincinnati on Sunday.
In Saturday's quarterfinal action: No. 4 Louisville vs. West Virginia, No. 12 Notre Dame vs. Marquette and No. 20 Georgetown vs. Providence.