The men’s soccer team (11-4-5 overall, 4-2-2 Big Ten) has earned the No. 3-seed overall in the . The Spartans will play the winner of this Thursday’s Kentucky (10-5-4 overall, 5-1-2 Conference USA) vs. Oakland (9-6-3 overall, 5-0-3 Horizon) matchup on Sunday.
“We’re really excited to come away with the No. 3-seed overall in the tournament,” head coach Damon Rensing said. “I think its a credit to the players, a credit to the Big Ten Conference, a credit to our schedule and to the results against those teams on the schedule.”
The placement in the bracket gives MSU home-field advantage up until the Final Four.
Should the Spartans make it that far, the Final Four would be in Cary, North Carolina.
“Any time you can sleep in your own bed, guys can be comfortable, you know your surroundings, you know your routine this time of year,” Rensing said.
“I think we’re definitely capable of making a deep run (in the tournament),” Rensing said. “There’s a lot of teams in that field that are capable of doing that ... if we’re in that Final Four we have a chance to win a national title.”
Rensing stated that there are plenty of good teams in the field of 48 and that the Spartans are capable of losing to or beating anyone in the tournament, but if they can make a deep run they have a chance of winning a championship.
“If you look at our schedule we went out and played and beat teams that are seeded very high, we tied at Notre Dame (the No.-1 seed), we won at Maryland who’s the (No. 4-seed), we won at Indiana who’s the (No. 5-seed).”
“We also lost to Oakland who’s RPI (ranking is No. 82), (and) Valparaiso (who’s the No. 96-ranked team in the RPI) ... I think what we should know as a team is that we can beat anybody, but we can certainly lose to anybody in these 48 teams.”
The team is one of three Big Ten teams to earn a seed in the tournament and one of six to make it overall. Maryland (13-5-3 overall, 5-2-1 Big Ten) earned the No. 4-seed and Indiana (12-4-5 overall, 3-3-2 Big Ten) earned the No. 5-seed. Ohio State (9-7-4 overall, 5-3-0 Big Ten) , Penn State (12-5-1 overall, 5-3-0 Big Ten) , and Northwestern (9-3-6 overall, 4-1-3 Big Ten) also earned tournament berths but were not seeded.
“Another thing that I would like to point out (is that) the Big Ten is one of the top conferences in the country,” Rensing said. “I think (the selection show) showed it with three teams seeded in the top five, six of the nine Big Ten soccer teams are in the field.”