The Nebraska Baseball team (22-24, 6-10 Big Ten) currently sits in a tie for ninth place in the Big Ten Baseball Standings. Nebraska is trying to climb the standings and secure a top eight finish in the league to assure themselves of not missing the Big Ten Conference Tournament. We take a look at how the Huskers are sitting in the standings, and how they can make it back to Omaha.
With two league weekends remaining, the current standings are very tight, with four teams in serious contention for the last tournament berth. Evan Bland of the Omaha World Herald breaks down the Big Ten record, and remaining series that each team has left.
Here are the latest Big Ten baseball standings. Top eight make the league tourney in Omaha later this month. Nebraska isn't out of it by a long shot, and could even pass Indiana (which dropped out of the top 25 this week) with a sweep in Lincoln next weekend. pic.twitter.com/k1GHk3y2uC— Evan Bland (@EvanBlandOWH) May 7, 2018
Setting The Stage
Nebraska needs to win. With Michigan State, Rutgers, and Maryland already having their Big Ten bye weeks, all four teams vying for the final spot have six remaining contests. Assuming all six remaining games will be played, Nebraska may have one of the easiest schedules remaining.
Nebraska has two remaining opponents who have a combined record of 20-15 in the Big Ten, and a combined 14-15 when you take out the fact that both played Northwestern.
Both Michigan State and Rutgers both have 14 win Minnesota on the schedule. Combine that with Ohio State playing the Spartans and Maryland playing Rutgers, both teams have a challenging final stretch.
Maryland gets Indiana next weekend, while facing off against Rutgers this weekend. It is important to note that Nebraska does own the tiebreaker over Maryland after a series victory last weekend.
Nebraska Controls Their Own Destiny
If Nebraska were to win their last six games, they would be in (This is assuming Rutgers will not sweep Minnesota and Maryland, because that would be insane).
Outside of that, things get a bit more murky. The logical expectation is that Nebraska does not win all of their six games, as the Huskers have not had a single six game winning streak this season.
How The Huskers Make It IN With Help
For the Huskers to make it to Omaha, the following NEEDS to happen.
- Nebraska needs to win two more games than Michigan State in the final two weekends.
- Nebraska needs to win one more game than Rutgers in the final two weekends, as Rutgers holds the head to head tiebreaker over Nebraska.
- Maryland and Nebraska need to win the same amount of games, or Nebraska needs to win more than Maryland over the final two weekends.
These scenarios can happen in a variety of ways. Michigan State could go 0-6 the last two weekends. Nebraska could go 5-1 in Big Ten play. The race for the eighth seed will be exciting.
With a four way race for the eighth spot, here is how I see the race shaping up.
Michigan State-(at Minnesota, vs. Ohio State) With two series against top of the Big Ten competition, I am predicting the Spartans to close the season going 1-5. 0-6 may be a really possibility. Michigan State has feasted on Northwestern, Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Nebraska. They actually lost a series to last place Penn State last weekend. 1-5 it is.
Rutgers-(at Maryland, vs. Minnesota) The Maryland series is a winnable one, but something tells me Rutgers just struggles to the finish. Six of their Big Ten wins are against Penn State, Michigan State, and Nebraska. Being on the road, give me 1-5 to finish the season.
Maryland-(vs. Rutgers, at Indiana) Maryland looked great for 11 innings last weekend, and then fell apart. I think they get it done at home against Rutgers, before stealing one on the road in Bloomington. 3- 3 to finsh the season sounds like a fair bet.
Nebraska-(vs. Indiana, at Illinois) Nebraska just won their first series of the year, against Maryland. They could not even win at Rutgers, or at Michigan State. With Indiana being just 2-7 on the road in the Big Ten, I think Nebraska gets momentum with a series win. Illinois has not won a series in almost a month. I think they win against Nebraska, but Nebraska gets a game and finishes 3-3.
Final Standings: Nebraska finishes 8th, Maryland 9th, Michigan State 10th, and Rutgers 11th.
It is a homer prediction, but Nebraska makes it to Omaha.