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UConn’s soccer teams on the outside of the NCAA Tournament picture

The men’s and women’s soccer programs each secured a place in the Big East Tournament, but they both likely need to win it to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The soccer season is rapidly coming to a close. UConn women’s soccer plays its final game Thursday on the road against Seton Hall while the men’s squad will host Xavier on Saturday afternoon as part of a World Cup-style shotgun start across the conference.

Could women’s soccer break through to the NCAA Tournament?

The Huskies are No. 47 in the RPI as of the start of play on Monday. Margaret Rodriguez’s team is 8-3-5 overall and 5-1-3 in Big East play, which is good enough for third in the conference standings headed into the season’s final day of games.

UConn can’t fall lower than third with 18 points but can reach second should the Huskies beat the Pirates while Xavier, which is one point ahead, loses to or draws with Marquette at home. Second place would mean a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament, but they have secured at least a home game in that round, which would take place on Sunday.

At No. 150 in the RPI, Seton Hall is unlikely to push UConn much further from where it is now, but a road win can’t hurt its standing as it jockeys on the outside of the bubble. Since there are 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament with 31 automatic bids, the Huskies will need a run in the Big East Tournament — and perhaps even a conference championship — to make the field.

Auto bid or bust for men’s soccer

The Huskies have a better record in Year 2 under Chris Gbandi but still will require an automatic bid to enter the 48-team NCAA Tournament. As of the start of play on Monday, UConn is at No. 60 in the RPI, which puts it well out of range from one of the 25 at-large bids available.

Gbandi’s crew has an 8-6-1 overall record and a 4-3-0 mark in league play. That puts the Huskies tied for third with St. John’s in the Big East’s East Division and tied for third overall with the Red Storm and Xavier.

With the addition of Akron as an affiliate member in men’s soccer, there are 12 teams and eight get entrance to the conference tournament. The division winners earn the top two seeds while the remaining six are seeded by points, regardless of division. The top four will host a first round game Nov. 4 before the semifinals and final are played at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

If the tournament were to start today, UConn would be the 4-seed and would host St. John’s, which it beat earlier this year, in the first round. The winner of that game will take on the victor between Georgetown and Seton Hall in the semifinals. The Huskies can’t take the East Division title from the Hoyas, but they can reach the 3-seed if they beat Xavier and Providence loses to Seton Hall. If UConn loses, then it can fall as far as low as the 6-seed behind the winner of Creighton and St. John’s, as well as Akron, if it beats Butler.

Seven of the eight spots are accounted for, but there are plenty of teams bunched up, with six teams between 10 and 14 points. Every team is technically still alive for the 8-seed, which is held by Seton Hall at the moment.