NCAA Tournament berths may have been on the line Wednesday when the Big East Tournament began with first-round action.
St. John's (9-6-5) improved its chances with a shootout victory
over Seton Hall.
Probably needing two victories to return to the NCAA Tournament, Cincinnati (9-9-1) pulled the day's big upset with a 2-0 win at Providence.
At least eight Big
East teams should make the NCAA Tournament -- that's the number that ranked in the top 35 in last week's RPI index.
West Virginia (13-5-1) and South Florida (12-4-2) looked safe before
their wins over Villanova (2-0) and Georgetown (4-0), respectively.
Connecticut (15-2-1), Notre Dame (10-3-5), DePaul (11-6-0) and Louisville (10-5-3), who all had first-round byes, have
wrapped up NCAA Tournament berths.
The losses will leave Providence (9-7-2) and Villanova (10-9-1) with 10 days to fret whether they'll get at-large NCAA Tournament berths.
losing records, Georgetown (7-11-1) and Seton Hall (7-11-1) have no postseason hopes.
St. John's keeper Neal Kitson, made two saves in the shootout session;
South Florida's German Simon Schoendorf had three
West Virginia's Englishman Dan Stratford and Cincinnati's Kenny Anaba each contributed a goal and
Providence 0 Cincinnati 2
UC-Baxter (Komitsch, Anaba) 34
UC-Anaba (Telting) 87
St. John's 2 Seton Hall 2
(St. John's wins 3-1 on penalties.)
SJ-Alfonso (Stepan) 10
SH-Cameron (McGrath) 13
SJ-Stepan (Gustafsson) 27
SH-Salazar (Cameron) 31
West Virginia 2 Villanova 0
WV-Bristol (Stratford) 15
WV-Stratford (Carroll) 29
South Florida 4 Georgetown 0
SF-Taylor (Schoendorf, Anor) 39
SF-Neaves (Schoendorf, Seabrook) 58
SF-A.Marshall (Schoendorf) 87
Saturday's quarterfinal meeting with UConn will be the first time the two have met in postseason since the
Huskies down USF 1-0 in the conference championship game in 2005. Connecticut handed the Bulls their only home loss this year, as USF went 8-1-0 at the USF Soccer Stadium in 2007.