Writers: Hoosiers host, Nebraska in… to Lexington?

Indiana, Nebraska are two of the projected 64 fighting for season-ending games at TD Ameritrade

Indiana, Nebraska are two of the projected 64 fighting for season-ending games at TD Ameritrade

After breaking down what is ahead for Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska as Joseph Healy’s looked at the three remaining regional hopes for the Big Ten, Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt and Perfect Game’s Kendall Rogers each provided their forecasts of the NCAA Tournament.

Knowing what is ahead for the three in terms of the schedule and what Boyd’s World states is needed to reach certain RPI thresholds, the picture is a bit clearer with the help of Fitt and Rogers, and specifically for Nebraska, Jon Nyatawa sizes up the Huskers’ chances with historical data.

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April 23 scoreboard

Rain washed away two games forcing a lighter round on midweek action on Wednesday. Local rivalries was the theme of the night with a border battle, two in-state matchups and a pairing of two clubs a hop away.

Here’s the round up of a night where the Big Ten went 3-1.

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In pursuit of Omaha: Nittany Lions must claw through tough slate

Ending the season with Indiana and Michigan State at home, will Penn State hold onto a top eight spot?

Ending the season with Indiana and Michigan State at home, will Penn State hold onto a top eight spot?

Though they’re in the midst of a six-game skid which has moved them from three games above .500 to their current mark of 17-20 and three games below .500, Rob Cooper and Penn State are drawing praise throughout the conference for what is transpiring in year one of his direction.

In as respectful of a way possible, the 2014 Nittany Lions aren’t all that talented, a sentiment held by coaches throughout the reason, speaking well on what Cooper has pushed the club to do. A year ago, with the team home to many of the same faces, Penn State finished 14-36 overall, 4-20 in the Big Ten. With expectations little, the belief it would take three of four years to see Coopers impact on the program, there was little reason to believe Penn State would be in a position make the Big Ten Tournament field, another year at or near the bottom of the Big Ten standings forthcoming.

Half-way through the conference season, Penn State is smack in the middle of the conference. One game under .500, the sixth-place Lions are as close to the top as they are the bottom in terms of conference placing.

Can the Nittany Lions keep their head above water and finish a remarkable first season under Cooper in Omaha? If they do, they will be no question they have earned it, the upcoming schedule not one for the faint of heart.

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Joe Knows: Big Ten down to three for regional hopes

Each Wednesday through season’s end Joseph Healy will have a column on the Big Ten with Joe Knows

Which teams  enter the final in a position to make the NCAA Tournament, take aim at the College World Series?

Who’s in a position to twice make it to Omaha?

Though we have taken a strange path to get here, we can now look at the Big Ten standings, and with about a month of regular season left, see them looking just about as we expected in the preseason.

The most notable exception to that is Ohio State, a team voted third in the Big Ten preseason poll. They currently find themselves tied for ninth. You could also make an argument that Michigan State struggling as much as they have has been a surprise.

But by and large, if you had told us that Indiana, Nebraska, and Illinois would be the three teams battling it out for Big Ten supremacy, I think we would have believed you.

As we start to see the finish line up on the horizon, it is those three teams that find themselves in the postseason conversation in one respect or another, in a position to look beyond TD Ameritrade Park for its hosting of the Big Ten Tournament, an eye to the College World Series.

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April 22 scoreboard

Michigan was unable to defend its home turf Tuesday, falling to Bowling Green, 7-4.

Michigan was unable to defend its home turf Tuesday, falling to Bowling Green, 7-4.

There were six games on the Big Ten schedule last night including three Big Ten-Mid-American Conference showdowns in which the Big Ten went 1-2. The remaining three games were intra-state showdowns, two coming in Illinois and Purdue tangling with Indiana State. Here’s a look at what happened in Tuesday’s action.

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Big Ten weekly release- April 22

Every week the Big Ten sends out a release to media with schedules, news, stats and other tidbits relating to the conference.

For those that follow one team, it’s probably not worth hoping over to their website to check out. For those of us trying to promote the sport, me, it’s probably advantageous to do something more with it than skim the email and deleted. So through the rest of the year, whenever the conference sends out its release I’ll share some highlights.

Here’s the April 22 release.

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In pursuit of Omaha: panic time in Columbus?

The 2014 season is going to come and go with Ohio State watching someone else win the Big Ten championship. The title drought for the Buckeyes will reach at least five years, and an unfathomable one lone championship will have been won by the Buckeyes over a 13 year period from 2002-2014. For a program that owned the Big Ten the decade prior, Ohio State captured five Big Ten titles from 1993-2001, such a continued run of little success boggles the mind, doesn’t sit well for an athletic department with pockets as deep as its, or a sport fanbase as passionate and voluminous as any in the country.

But a conference championship isn’t the focus of the Buckeyes. Dreams of the program’s 16th championship were crushed when defending champion Indiana swept the Buckeyes in Columbus and any lingering doubt flushed with a second-consecutive sweep in the emotionally-draining three-game series at Nebraska.

Right now Ohio State has its back to the wall, fighting just to make the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes are on the outside looking in at the tournament field, to be played in Omaha with the conference’s top eight finishers participating. Ohio State is in a tie for ninth with Purdue, this weekend’s opponent in a road series at West Lafayette.

Before the Buckeyes and Boilermakers battle, here’s a look at where Ohio State ┬áis going into the final four weeks and whether doom and gloom is the forecast or if the Bucks will experience the bright skies of the Great Plains in Omaha.

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Indiana, Nebraska top 30 in attendance

The average attendance for Nebraska this season ranks 20th at 2,783 a game at Hawks Field.

Average attendance for Nebraska at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park ranks 20th at 2,783 a game.

Some of the ways to bring to attention the rise of Big Ten baseball are more difficult than others to capture. When things are black and white and backed by numbers, they’re on the easier side.

One the nice and neat ways is to look at the attendance, its reflection of program interest and support. The latest Division I college baseball attendance figures speak well to what is unfolding, most specifically in Bloomington.

Compiled by Tami Cutler of Wichita State Media Relations and distributed by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, this week’s attendance report finds a pair of Big Ten programs among the nation’s top 30 drawing club. Nebraska average attendance of 2,783 in the 19 games played at Hawks Field ranks 20th in the country, the reigning Big Ten champion Indiana Hoosiers drawing 2,381 per game at Bart Kaufman Field checks in at No. 29.

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