Setting the scenarios

From Wisconsin's perspective, the only thing decided on the second-to-last weekend of play in the Big Ten men's soccer season is that the Badgers have been eliminated from contention for the regular-season conference title.

UW's 2-1 loss to Penn State on Saturday removed the Badgers from the list of contenders, a result made all the more disappointing when Indiana and Northwestern both fell on Sunday. Had the Badgers managed a win against Penn State, those results would have handed the crown to Wisconsin for the first time since 1995.

Still, with three Big Ten games left on the slate this weekend, there's still the matter of seeding for the Big Ten tournament.

Several scenarios are in play when it comes to the Badgers' potential seed for the tourney, which is set for Nov. 12-15 in Bloomington, Ind.

The Badgers will end up seeded somewhere between third and fifth for the tournament, based on the results of Friday's match between Penn State and Indiana and Saturday's matchups between Michigan State and Northwestern and Michigan and Ohio State.

Wisconsin currently stands second in the Big Ten standings with nine points but, regardless of the outcome of their match Saturday, either Ohio State or Michigan will jump the Badgers.

That's because the Buckeyes (3-2) currently are tied with the Badgers for second place with nine points. A win over Michigan would net the Buckeyes three points, and a tie would give them one point -- either of which moves OSU ahead of the Badgers.

Conversely, a win by Michigan (2-3) would give the Wolverines nine points on the season, and U-M holds the tie-breaker over UW thanks to a 3-0 win on Oct. 4

With that in mind, here is a look at the scenarios for seeding based on potential outcomes of the weekend's other two matches:

Wisconsin earns No. 3 seed if:
- Penn State earns a win or draw against Indiana
AND
- Michigan State earns a win or draw against Northwestern

Wisconsin earns No. 4 seed if:
-Indiana wins over Penn State, and Northwestern loses to/draws Michigan State
OR
- Northwestern wins over Michigan State, and Indiana loses to/draws Penn State

Wisconsin earns No. 5 seed if:
- Indiana wins over Penn State
AND
- Northwestern wins over Michigan State

Get all that?

Basically, for Badgers fans, it boils down to pulling for Michigan State and Penn State this weekend.

It's not the advantage of having a first-round bye that's afforded to the No. 1 seed, but being seeded third would maximize the Badgers' recovery time between Thursday's opening round and a potential semifinal matchup on Friday.

The No. 3 seed plays the No. 6 seed in the first quarterfinal game, at 10 a.m. Thursday and, if able to advance, would have the luxury of playing in the second semifinal game at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Even with the Badgers idle on the last weekend of conference play, there is plenty for UW fans to pay attention to.
ON WISCONSIN