Thursday, May 12, 2005

Michigan vs. Notre Dame

I saw the last several innings of the Michigan vs. Notre Dame contest on Comcast Local last night. Michigan prevailed, 7-6. The Wolverines are going to end up with a pretty good RPI number, in light of wins against North Carolina, Georgia and Notre Dame, but if they don't win the conference tourney, they are staying home.

It was great to see yet another college baseball game on television this year. My thanks to the NHL for the lockout which has given ESPN and others time to broadcast more college baseball.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Long Overdue Post

Okay, I've been missing. Well, more like Jennifer Wilbanks, I wasn't really missing, but you didn't know where I was. Just as in the case of the runaway bride, I'm fine, but didn't have much to say. Honestly, it's difficult to produce, or find someone else producing, information on Big Ten Baseball, so I didn't have much to boost the site with. However, I am obviously back and it's time to play catch-up.

Not much has changed since my attention was distracted from this site. Illinois still sits atop the conference standings. According to Boyd Nation, the college baseball stat guru, the Illini have a pseudo-RPI ranking of fifty-two. Not surprisingly, that's the highest number amongst B-10 teams. Of course, the Illini can't get any love from the nation's Top 25 poll voters.

What is surprising about Nation's rankings is that Michigan, with a sub-.500 conference record, is the second highest seed in the Big Ten. Those early non-conference wins versus North Carolina and Georgia have certainly helped Michigan's RPI, pseudo as it may be. However, I still believe that the Wolverines will need to win the conference tournament to get into the regionals.

Minnesota remains in second place in the Big Ten, but is joined there by Iowa. The Gophers have a lowly pseudo-RPI mark of 129, while Iowa chimes in at 155. Like Michigan, the only way the Gophers or Hawkeyes advance to the NCAA's is to win the Big Ten Tourney.

The only way for the Big Ten to land more than one team into the Regionals is to have Illinois capture the regular season title convincingly and have another team win the conference tournament and automatic berth that comes along with that honor.

Of course, the downside of that is that the rest of the country will not be happy to see a bubble school from a power conference get left out because a Big Ten upstart, with an RPI in the 100's, crashes the party by winning the conference tournament. I say "Tough", but I can see the argument against having such low seeds make the regionals.

For those of you who have had sleepless nights awaiting my Big Ten OPS report, here it is. Seven conference players have managed to keep an OPS above 1.000. Dusty Bensko of Illinois has an OPS of 1.084. Indiana's Zach Boswell follows at 1.049. Third belongs to Pat McMahon, who I don't think has spent a single week off this list. The NU catcher is at 1.044. Jeff Kunkel of Michigan makes his first appearance in the club at 1.028. Kunkel's teammate, Matt Butler is next at 1.013. Jay Brant, Indiana, is in sixth place at 1.009. Michigan State's Ryan Basham closes out the field at 1.006.

This weekend's conference schedule looks like this. The first place Illini host Northwestern. Purdue visits Michigan. Ohio State is at Penn State. Indiana plays host to Michigan State. The big tilt is in Iowa City where the Hawkeyes host Minnesota with second place in the conference at stake.

Here are some links to prepare for your college baseball weekend. Yahoo! provides three links to Big Ten school newspaper reports from Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois. Will Kimmey's Weekend Preview is here. If you scroll way down, you can find a tidbit on ex-Gopher Glen Perkins here. Boyd Nation's weekly feature, Breadcrumbs Back To Omaha is here.

Enjoy the weekend.