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Decision-Day Postseason Scenarios For Penn State Men’s Soccer

Penn State men’s soccer will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey this weekend for its final regular season match against Rutgers on Sunday. The Nittany Lions (10-2-3, 5-1-1 Big Ten) are in second place, just two points from No. 10 Indiana atop the Big Ten standings.

All nine teams in the conference qualify for the playoffs, but seeding will be important for the in-form Nittany Lions. Penn State is four points ahead of third-placed Michigan, so its spot in the top two is secure entering the end of the regular season.

In order to win the regular season title, Penn State must beat Rutgers and get some help from Michigan State. If the Nittany Lions prevail in New Jersey, they’d end the season on 19 points in conference play. Michigan State would need to find a way to beat Indiana in a home fixture for the Hoosiers to stay at 18 points.

An Indiana win in East Lansing would result in the Hoosiers claiming the No. 1 seed outright. An Indiana draw coupled with a Penn State victory would force the tie-breaking procedure. Unfortunately for Penn State, Indiana would win due to the head-to-head result between the two, a 3-1 victory for the Hoosiers and the last defeat for Cook’s side to date.

The most likely scenario, however, is the Nittany Lions finishing in second place. A loss or tie against Rutgers ends their title chase, and an Indiana draw or win against Michigan State, and the title race is over. In all likelihood. Penn State will host the Big Ten’s No. 7 seed in the first round of the tournament, but who could that be?

Three teams have identified themselves as lower-tier Big Ten sides thus far. Decision day opponent Rutgers sit seventh — tied with Ohio State on four points. Wisconsin rounds out the conference standings one point behind the Buckeyes. Regardless of Penn State’s placement, it’ll host one of these three teams in two Sundays.

The most likely No. 7 seed is Ohio State, which currently holds a tiebreaker advantage on Rutgers, meaning the Scarlet Knights will need to get a better decision-day result than the Buckeyes to avoid the play-in match.

Rutgers hosts 5-1-1 Penn State. Ohio State hosts 0-4-3 Wisconsin.

Of course, should the Badgers pull off an upset in Columbus, they’ll be the team that travels to Jeffrey Field instead.

We can only hypothesize about tournament placement until the results across conference play have finally been counted on Sunday afternoon. All matches will kick off simultaneously at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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