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Breaking Down The Big Ten Baseball Title Race

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The Huskers head to Penn State needing help

Gallery: Nebraska Baseball Wraps Up Regular Season

Let’s go Purdue!

After Minnesota steamrolled Rutgers on Tuesday afternoon, Nebraska officially fell to second place in the Big Ten on percentage points.

Big Ten Baseball Standings

Place Team Conference Record Conference Win % Games Back Overall Record Overall Win % RPI Last Ten Streak Weekend Opponent
Place Team Conference Record Conference Win % Games Back Overall Record Overall Win % RPI Last Ten Streak Weekend Opponent
1 Minnesota 14-6 0.7 - 32-17 0.653 69 7-3 2 Wins Purdue
1 Nebraska 14-6-1 0.69 - 32-17-1 0.65 38 8-2 2 Wins Penn State
3 Michigan 14-7 0.667 ½ 40-12 0.769 32 8-2 4 Wins Michigan State
4 Maryland 15-9 0.625 1 33-17 0.66 35 5-5 2 Losses High Point
5 Iowa 13-8 0.619 30-18 0.625 97 7-3 2 Wins Illinois
6 Indiana 12-8 0.595 2 30-19-2 0.608 30 7-3 3 Wins Ohio State
7 Purdue 10-11 0.476 27-24 0.529 125 4-6 1 Win Minnesota
7 Northwestern 10-11 0.476 21-28 0.429 201 5-5 2 Wins Rutgers
9 Michigan State 9-12 0.429 28-21 0.571 79 6-4 1 Win Michigan
10 Illinois 8-13 0.381 22-26 0.458 133 6-4 1 Loss Iowa
11 Rutgers 7-13 0.35 7 19-31 0.38 106 3-7 2 Losses Northwestern
12 Ohio State 7-14 0.333 21-32 0.396 149 4-6 1 Win Indiana
13 Penn State 3-18 0.143 11½ 17-35 0.327 204 3-7 1 Win Nebraska

Nebraska gets the leagues worst team in Penn State, while Minnesota has to play a desperate Purdue team trying to stay ahead of Michigan State for the eighth spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan, a half game behind gets a visit from Michigan State who is just a half game behind Nebraska and Minnesota.

The situation for Nebraska is as follows. The highest Nebraska can finish is first. Nebraska as of now can finish as low as sixth. Nebraska would want to avoid finishing second as they play the early morning game on next Wednesday at the Big Ten Tournament.

One win for Nebraska, regardless of whatever happens in the league would eliminate sixth place from the conversation. Indiana and Nebraska could tie with identical 15-8-1 records if Nebraska lost two of three. Nebraska would have the tiebreaker with Indiana in that case due to the Huskers series win during the opening weekend of Big Ten play.

Two wins would make the Huskers at worst case the three seed. Nebraska would be 16-8-1 and would eliminate both the possibility of either Maryland or Iowa finishing above them. The third seed would play at 10:00 in the morning on Wednesday, not an ideal choice for the Huskers.

A sweep for the Huskers would mean they could not be jumped by the Michigan Wolverines and would either be the second seed or Big Ten champions. Based on season projections Warrennolan.com has the following predictions for this weekend.

Predicted Big Ten Baseball Standings

Team Current Big Ten Record Predicted Big Ten Record Current Overall Record Predicted Overall record Current RPI Predicted RPI
Team Current Big Ten Record Predicted Big Ten Record Current Overall Record Predicted Overall record Current RPI Predicted RPI
Nebraska 14 - 6 - 1 17 - 6 - 1 32 - 17 - 1 35 - 17 - 1 38 36
Minnesota 14 - 6 16 - 7 32 - 17 34 - 18 69 70
Michigan 14 - 7 16 - 8 40 - 12 42 - 13 32 32
Maryland 15 - 9 15 - 9 33 - 17 35 - 18 35 34
Indiana 12 - 8 - 1 14 - 9 - 2 30 - 19 - 2 32 - 20 - 2 30 27
Iowa 13 - 8 15 - 9 30 - 18 32 - 19 97 97
Purdue 10 - 11 11 - 13 27 - 24 28 - 26 125 134
Northwestern 10 - 11 11 - 13 21 - 28 22 - 30 201 205
Michigan State 9 - 12 10 - 14 28 - 21 29 - 23 79 81
Rutgers 7 - 13 9 - 14 19 - 31 21 - 32 106 96
Illinois 8 - 13 9 - 15 22 - 26 23 - 28 133 132
Ohio State 7 - 14 8 - 16 21 - 32 22 - 34 149 154
Penn State 3 - 18 3 - 21 17 - 35 17 - 38 204 209

This situation is believable, with both MSU and Purdue somewhat likely to at least pick up one game each this weekend. Nebraska will strongly be rooting for Purdue, a team without a true ace that has been scuffling to make the tournament.

If these standings held true, then Nebraska would be in a bracket with Indiana, Maryland, and Purdue. Not to call it an easy bracket, but a win against Purdue and then a prime time game against either Indiana or Maryland on Thursday night could boost the Huskers possibilities as hosting as a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

On the opposite side would be Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, and Minnesota. Minnesota and Michigan could do some damage to each other while neither Iowa or Northwestern should be taken lightly.

While the above scenario is plausible, it will be updated daily as upsets are sure to happen. If I had to take a stab at the final standings, I would trade Minnesota and Nebraska and move Michigan State into the eighth spot, knocking out Purdue. Minnesota and Michigan State would be a compelling game. In this case, Nebraska falls to the 2 seed, since Michigan State would have to defeat Michigan.