Crunching the Big Ten standings numbers

The Big Ten Tournament is almost a week away. With one more regular season conference weekend left before the Big Ten Tournament, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of scenarios that could occur.

Let’s start with the two main rules regarding the Tournament qualification:

1. To qualify for the tournament, teams must finish in the top six in the Big Ten (conference record).

2. The first place team (again, conference record) will host the tournament.

Anyway, let’s take a look at Illinois. After their sweep of Indiana they find themselves tied for fifth with Ohio State. Right behind them in seventh place is Michigan State who as the scheduling gods would have it, Illinois finishes the season with this weekend.

If Illinois wins 2, 3 or 4 games this weekend, they will go to the tournament. If they win just one or if the Spartans sweep, Illinois ends up in seventh and probably no tournament.

However one other piece to the puzzle is the Ohio State (14-12)/Penn State (17-9) series. Ohio State has traditionally had a good baseball program but this year finds them tied with Illinois for fifth place. Penn State is tough this year. If they do well against the Buckeyes this weekend, that could drop them in the standings.

Like I said, many scenarios.

Who hosts?

You can imagine the logistical nightmare this must be especially if a team squeaks into first place and finds themselves the host of the tournament with only three days notice. No doubt Michigan (18-6) who is a game and half up on Minnesota (16-7) is preparing already.

Michigan is taking on Iowa (16-10) this weekend. This is Iowa’s chance. If they sweep, guess what? They could very well get first place and hosting duties. But then, this is Michigan we’re talking about.

Minnesota is at Indiana (6-21). As bad as Indiana has been, they are playing at home and I’ll bet they are relishing the fact they could play the spoiler.

My prediction is on the safe bet, Michigan. It will be interesting since the first and second place teams will be visitors. Anything could happen.

Go Illini!!

Big Ten standings

 

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