A point in time look at what’s going on with Big Ten baseball.
Michigan stands as the lone Big Ten ranked across the polls with even stodgy, Big Ten-hating Baseball America ranking them at 24th. This despite Michigan State being above them in the RPI, the Wolverines currently at 20th, and the Spartans at ninth.
Boyds World has Michigan at 11th in the ISR (Interative Strength Rating), while Sparty is all the way down at 43rd, so maybe there’s your explanation.
The rest of the Big Ten is pretty meh so far.
Ohio State is down at 39th in the RPI, Indiana at 50th, Rutgers at 62, then you get a clump of Nebraska at 77, Iowa at 78, Penn State at 80 and Maryland at 82. Minnesota is all the way down at 107. Then there’s the rest.
Iowa faces Kansas State in a three-game Series at Manhattan this weekend. Iowa lost starting pitcher C.J. Eldred for the season after undergoing surgery, a blow to them as they are struggling to find decent pitching. I know, I know... you’re weeping for them, aren’t you?
Illinois gets two games against Toledo and two against the Southern Illinois Salukis in Champaign for their home opener this weekend. The three teams will play a double round robin (sounds kind of kinky).
Indiana takes on Hawaii in a four-game series that’s already started in Honolulu (must be nice). Indiana took game one, rallying to win 7-6, then took game two 4-3, again, with a rally.
Maryland has Princeton at home this weekend in a three-game series. (Another crappy web site where it’s pretty but difficult to find anything timely resembling news.) The Terps dropped a 9-2 decision to No. 11 North Carolina Tuesday afternoon, snapping an eight game winning streak. Maryland is currently a spotless 5-0 at home this season. Maryland was supposed to take over the Big Ten conference when they joined... and they’re selected as the preseason favorite again this year.
Michigan has already started their home opening series against 3-13 Northern Illinois, winning the first game of the series 7-4. The Wolverines are now on a six-game win streak and have won 11 of their last 12 games.
Michigan State plays in the Richmond Spider Invitational, where they’ll face Campbell, Richmond, and Cornell, teams that are 268, 244, and 76th in RPI. Sparty leads the conference in team batting with a .312 average, and they are the only team over .300.
Minnesota is in Sacramento where they’ve already lost game one of the three-game series 3-2 to Sacramento State. This despite their starter Lucas Gilbreath going six innings while allowing no runs and only two hits. The reliever
Northwestern has Central Michigan in a four-game series at home in Evanston.
Ohio State plays a three-game series against Xavier.
Penn State.... you know what? Screw Penn State. Their web site is difficult to navigate and wouldn’t respond, so the hell with them. Here’s a bit on them playing nine games in nine days that I finally found after wasting too much damn time.
Purdue has a four game series in Santa Clara, CA against Santa Clara.
Rutgers has another weekend in Florida, as they take on Florida Gulf Coast in a three-game series. The Scarlet Knights are dead last in the Big Ten in both team pitching (7.25 ERA!) and fielding (.949).
Wisconsin does not have a baseball team.
But let’s go back to Nebraska.
It’s clear that the Husker bats have yet to come to life in any form this season. Currently Mojo Hagge is the only Husker near the top in batting average at .362. Where would Nebraska be without the hobbit-looking freshman dude? How much worse?
The other problem is that Nebraska is typically at the top of the conference in defense. Right now, they’re not. They’re fourth, behind Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa. Errors have cost the Husker at least a couple games (I might be being kind here).