Five teams have clinched a spot in the Big Ten Baseball tournament - Minnesota, Michigan, Purdue, Ohio State and Illinois. Six teams are currently at the magic RPI spot of 50, although it’s very unlikely six teams from the Big Ten aren’t going to make the NCAA tournament.
The biggest series this weekend (other than Nebraska) is between Purdue and Michigan as the two are fighting for RPI position
Illinois has one of the best players in the nation in Bren Spillane. From Illinois notes:
Bren Spillane is on pace to break the Big Ten record for slugging in a season (.913, Darrin Fletcher, Illinois, 1987). Bren Spillane ranks among the NCAA leaders in nearly every major category: 1st slugging (.954), 1st OPS (1.475), 3rd HRs (20), 4th batting average (.417), 5th OBP (.521), 6th total bases (144), 30th RBIs (55), 63rd doubles (17).
Spillane is currently slugging .954. The last NCAA player to finish a year with a slugging percentage over .950 was Rickie Weeks (Southern U.) .995 in 2002.
Spillane might be competing this weekend for Big Ten Player of the Year with Nebraska’s Scott Schreiber.
Schreiber leads Spillane in hits (77 -63), runs (59-50), and total bases (146-144). The two are close in home runs with Spillane ahead 20-18.
It could be one bright spot for Nebraska this weekend seeing how Schreiber does compared to Spillane.
- D1Baseball - Minnesota #12
- NCBWA - Minnesota #12
- Baseball America - Minnesota #11
- USA Today Coaches Poll - Minnesota #15
Nebraska at Illinois
Illinois has clinched a spot in the tournament and could finish anywhere from second to seventh depending upon this weekend. Let’s hope for seventh.
Nebraska has a slight (very slight) chance of making the Big Ten tourney, but they need help from other teams... along with wins of their own. The Huskers need losses for Iowa, Maryland, and Michigan State. Best would be if Nebraska sweeps Illinois (not likely), Indiana sweeps Maryland (definite possibility) and Ohio State sweeps Michigan State (possibility).
That is a lot to ask for... but baseball is a streaky sport.
Our Illinois site has already proclaimed we’re out.
The Huskers won’t be playing in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament, so this weekend likely finishes off a disappointing season for Darin Erstad’s — yes, former MLB player Darin Erstad — program after winning the tournament last season for the first time.
Michigan at Purdue
Interesting series. While the teams are #2 and #3 in the conference, neither posses enough good wins against great teams to guarantee a spot in the NCAA tourney. Check out the D1Baseball project linked below in the RPI section. One of these teams is going to have a very good weekend and the other will have to fight their way through the Big Ten tourney to get into the NCAA tournament.
Minnesota at Rutgers
Minnesota will have to fall apart to lose this series, so they’re highly likely to be Big Ten regular season champs. Instead, now they look to what they can do with regards to seedings in the NCAA tournament... along with winning the conference tournament.
As Gophers seek to host an NCAA Regional, here are your weekend rooting interests in SEC and ACC
Ohio State at Michigan State
The Buckeyes are 8-7 in their last 15 games, so, it’s not like they’re a juggernaut coming into town to squash the pathetic Spartans. OTOH, I think it’s a tall order for Michigan State to win the series against Ohio State.
Michigan State has one series left in the regular season against the Ohio State Buckeyes. They need to win at least two of those games if they want to qualify for the tournament.
Penn State at Iowa
Iowa is not going to get swept by Penn State... although in the past two weeks, the Hawkeyes have taken a big-time series from Oklahoma State, then turned around and lost the next series to Northwestern, which probably dropped them out of the bid for the NCAA tournament. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA
Maryland at Indiana
Indiana was ranked earlier this season, then went on a losing streak, dropping nine of 11 games.
The Hoosiers put a late flourish on their tournament résumé with a big win over Louisville in extra innings.
The Terps are currently in eighth place in the conference. Here’s how they can hold onto it.
Big Ten RPIs
Three Big Tens OUT!
The SEC leads the way in overall bids with 11, while the rest of the conferences break down like this: ACC (6), American (5), Big 12 (5), Big Ten (4), Pac 12 (4), Conference USA (3), Atlantic Sun (2) and Missouri Valley (2).
As always, this is a projection: we’re not trying to illustrate what the field would look like if the season ended today. We’re still looking ahead, taking into account remaining schedules and our evaluations of the talent of the contenders, in addition to their bodies of work, of course.
Last Five In: Illinois, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Mississippi State, Washington
First Five Out: Arizona, Purdue, Michigan, TCU, Iowa
Big Ten Baseball RPI - May 16, 2018