The B1G Ten became much more interesting over the weekend, and the Hoosiers, despite extending their season high losing streak, managed to turn the week around and pick up a nice series win against Illinois and help both the RPI and the overall post-season resume.
Just like last week, I am going to start with a dump of data that you can skip over if you like. I am laying these out because I will refer to these points and explain what they mean.
From D1’s Nitty Gritty Report (https://d1baseball.com/nitty-
· Rating Percentage Index (RPI): 20th
· Record: 31-10
· Strength of Schedule (SOS): 106th
· Non-conference SOS: 191st
· Home: 18-4
· Road: 7-5
· Neutral: 6-1
· Record vs. RPI Top-25: 1-0
· Record vs. RPI 26-50: 4-5
· Record vs. RPI 51-100: 8-3
· Record vs. RPI 101-200: 13-2
· Record vs. RPI 200+: 5-0
· At #23 Coastal Carolina (Brittain Resorts Baseball at the Beach – Conway, SC)
· 2-1 series win at home vs. #48 Illinois
· 2-1 series win at home vs. #57 [That Team Up North]
· DH split at #46 Iowa
· 1-2 series loss at RPI #38 Ohio State
The Conference race is still very much Michigan’s to lose. The Wolverines lead by one game over Minnesota and Michigan travels to Rutgers for three games. Third place [That Team Up North] hosts Northwestern with a nice opportunity for a series sweep. All of this happens while 2, 4, 5, and 6 all play each other, meaning Michigan and [That Team Up North] have a legitimate opportunity to go into the stretch run as league leaders in which they face off against each other in Ann Arbor in the final weekend.
Right now both of these teams are on the outside looking in at the NCAA at-large picture, despite being at or near the top of the league. This is due to unbalanced scheduling, which as I noted above, gets even worse next week. I have used the RPI formula (sans home/away adjustments) to calculate a strength-of-schedule adjusted ranking of B1G teams that only uses conference games for data points.
In this, Indiana yet again (like last year) rises to the #2 spot in the league, this time behind Iowa. The Hawkeyes have had a brutal league schedule so far, but it gets much easier for them down the stretch. While this should get more accurate over time, it will not completely line up well with the actual league standings due to the unbalanced scheduling, which still has every team miss four other teams on the schedule each year.
Where does this resume put Indiana? In the here and now, this is a 2-seed just outside of hosting. My conservative prediction model has the Hoosiers finishing the regular season with an RPI rank of 29 (also a 2-seed). There are only two real potential hosts out of the B1G: Indiana and Minnesota. The word among the college baseball media is that will be reduced to one based on the winner of the series match-up next weekend in Minneapolis.
If the Hoosiers win that series then they will be in a better position to fight for a hosting position, but even then that may require winning all or all but one of the last eight games, which is more doable than it sounds. Kentucky and Louisville have both been vulnerable in midweeks this year and Nebraska and Maryland are both struggling. A lot would have to go right, which is why my the conservative model is still RPI of 29 with making the tournament as a 2-seed.