Forget Christmas, This Is The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

These volleyball players need a win to make the Big East tournament tomorrow. Sorry women's soccer, couldn't find an AP Wire Photo of you, so had to dip into the Voodoo archives here.

In reality, each of the things discussed here most likely deserves its own post, but this is the busiest time of year for an intercollegiate athletic department.  The Olympic fall sports are heading towards or are in postseason, basketball is just starting, and football is still football.  But until SB Nation starts picking up benefits and our 401(k), we just don't have the time to cover these the way we'd like.  So start buying some t-shirts, people.

The #25 women's soccer team continues their breakthrough season tomorrow at 1 p.m. AGAINST THE BLATANT CHEATERS OF FSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  Yes, the Seminoles left their starters home instead of bringing them to the ACC Tournament to be more rested for the NCAA's and got their ass smacked down by John Swofford.  And you thought it was just free shoes and academic fraud in Tallahassee.  Au contraire, mon ami.

Edit: And congrats to USF Athletics for getting this match on Sun Sports tomorrow.  Broadcast starts at 1 p.m.

USF's 3-1 victory over Auburn on Friday was the first NCAA appearance and win for the Bulls.  Two goals for Taylor Patterson gave the Bulls the advantage, and a tally from Sharla Passariello put away an insurance goal in the 79th minute to ice it.  Their dream season under Coach Denise Schilte-Brown continues, and with only one senior in the starting lineup, the experience from this outstanding run bodes well for a program with national aspirations in the future.

The Bulls pattern so far in the postseason has been to bend but not break, and capitalize on all opportunities.    Counting Big East Tournament play, in every postseason match USF has conceded more shots (65 to 36 cumulatively), more shots on goal (22 to 13), and more corners (30 to 6) than their opponent, but the Half Hoops have been incredibly efficent with their scoring chances.  Of their 21 shots on goal, seven have found the onion bag. 

In #15 Florida State, the Bulls get an opponent that was 7-2-1 in a tough ACC, and averages 2.00 goals per contest.  They got to Sunday via a 3-0 win over the Sun Belt automatic qualifier Middle Tennessee State.  Senior striker Janice Cayman lead all Seminoles with nine goals on the campaign.  FSU has been a traditional power, with four College Cup (soccer's Final Four) appearances from 2003-07, with three coming under their BLATANT CHEATER AND DIRTBAG OF A HEAD COACH.  There is no pressure on the Bulls tomorrow, so let's hope our ladies play fast and loose, and that the Karma Gods smile on us. 

More on a huge match for volleyball tomorrow, men's soccer's chances for the NCAA's as the selection show comes around on Monday, as well as some information that is AVAILABLE NOWHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET after the jump:

After a 6-4 start in conference play, USF Volleyball has dropped their last four matches, including three in the Big East.  The young team is maddeningly inconsistent; pushing likely #2 seed Louisville to five sets on the road, but also falling at home to 2-10 Rutgers as well.

With a win tomorrow over Villanova at 2 p.m., the Bulls will assure themselves a trip to the eight team Big East Tournament for the fifth year in a row. They can also get in with a loss and the right breaks (discussed extensively below).  The question mark coming in is the status of junior libero Janice Rivera missed the last match with a concussion, and her status for Sunday is unknown. Villanova is assured the #4 seed in the Big East tournament no matter the result, so let's hope the Wildcats decide to enjoy the Florida sun before heading to Pittsburgh for postseason.

Despite the up and down season, the one constant has been senior right side Allie Boaz, who has been a dominant workhorse for the Bulls all season.  Her five weeks on the Big East Honor Roll are just a small testament to the leadership and offense she's provided all season.  Sunday will be Senior Day for the Bulls three seniors, Boaz, setter Mariana Thon, and defensive specialist Christine Knoechel.

So that thing about being able to still make the tournament even if they lose?  Well, since LITERALLY NOWHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET do the tiebreaker scenarios exist because someone in Providence is slacking, I'll do the math.

If USF wins and Seton Hall loses to Notre Dame, no matter all other results the Bulls will be the 6th seed.  If USF wins and Seton Hall wins, the Bulls will be the 7th seed.  After that, we need to get our nerd on.  Shall we?

If two teams end up at 6-8, the head to head regular season meeting will determine the higher seed and/or corresponding tournament berth.  The Bulls sit in seventh holding the direct tiebreak over the lone 7-6 team Seton Hall, as well as the only 6-7 team in Pittsburgh.  They also have the direct tiebreak over one of the three 5-8 teams in Syracuse, but lost to the other two in St. John's and West Virginia. St John's and Pitt also play each other.

If multiple teams end up at 6-8, they'll form a mini-conference, and the best record against all other teams will determine the highest seed.  If three teams end up at 6-8, and with 1-1 against each other, which seems to be a likely scenario if USF loses tomorrow, it comes down to percentage of sets won against sets played across all league matches.

Oh, you want the set coefficients for the teams in case the nightmare tiebreaker comes to fruition? I GOT YOU BECAUSE I AM THAT BLOGGER!

Seton Hall 7-6 (@ Notre Dame) 29-26 0.527
USF 6-7 (vs. Villanova) 26-29 0.473
Pittsburgh 6-7 (vs. St. John's) 24-28 0.462
Syracuse 5-8 (vs. Louisville) 25-28 0.472
St. John's 5-8 (@ Pittsburgh) 24-28 0.462
West Virginia 5-8 (@UConn) 22-27 0.449

So if the Bulls want to avoid having their season hinge on random accounting, and so I don't burn a hole in my cell phone's data plan after the match, USF should just beat the Wildcats tomorrow on Senior Day.  First serve is at 2 p.m. at The Corral.  Be there.

*****

As for men's soccer, it's almost too soon to tell.  The Bulls sit 39th in the RPI entering the weekend, but unable to improve due to their first round loss at West Virginia in the first round of the Big East tournament.  48 teams make the NCAA's, but remember all conference tournament winners are included in that number.  The advantage in losing early in the postseason is that you DON'T HAVE TO CHEAT TO REST YOUR PLAYERS.  The disadvantage of course is that it's impossible to do anything but sit and wait for the Selection Show on ESPNU Monday at 4:30 p.m. 

Five Bulls made the Big East All-Conference teams; midfielder Bernardo Anor and left back Javed Mohammed made second team, and keeper Jeff Atinella, forward Hasani Sinclair, and midfielder Leston Paul all ended up on the third team. 

The Bulls are currently outside the NSCAA poll, but are receiving votes in the SoccerTimes.com poll.  Until someone finds me an accurate bracketology site for men's soccer, we can't cue up our Lady Gaga clip yet, but it certainly looks promising.

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