1. Maryland (28-11, 12-3 Big Ten)
Not too long ago, Maryland lost three of five and got manhandled in the finale of a three-game series in Lincoln. Now, the Terrapins have won seven consecutive games and impressively swept Michigan State at home over the weekend. They’re playing the best baseball in the conference and get the top spot in this week’s power rankings because of it.
2. Michigan (31-9, 7-5)
It’s understandable for Michigan to suffer a few hiccups along the way, but even in the series loss to Indiana over the weekend, the Wolverines outscored IU by three runs. There’s plenty to dissect, but no real reason to worry. A bounce-back series against Rutgers should help this week.
3. Nebraska (23-15-1, 7-4-1)
One word for NU’s series win at Minnesota over the weekend? Huge. It should help Nebraska overcome the midseason rut it ran into with the series loss to Iowa and midweek loss to Creighton. The Huskers still have an outside shot at the Big Ten regular season title, and should be undoubtedly safe in the Big Ten tournament pool. The NCAA tournament is still well in play.
4. Indiana (21-16-2, 8-6-1)
Indiana had an impressive series win over the Wolverines this weekend. Sure, they got outscored by a few runs, but the Hoosiers will take the pair of wins. It was a big step toward solidifying a spot in the Big Ten Tournament, and if the Hoosiers can play with a little more consistency at home, they can keep building onto that resume. Maryland visits this weekend, too. So, that will be a test.
5. Minnesota (23-12, 8-4)
Just floating this out there: perhaps Minnesota’s cancelled series against Rutgers was just about the worst thing that could’ve happened to the Gophers. Prior to that, they’d won 10 consecutive games. Since then, they’ve won just four of eight, and two of their last six. They’ve got Illinois coming to town this weekend, which should help. But the Gophers need to quickly turn things around.
6. Purdue (22-18, 9-6)
Hey, go Boilermakers! They’ve won four in a row after a midweek win over Indiana State and a sweep of Illinois. The Illini sweep wasn’t necessarily impressive, but the Boilermakers gave up just four runs across three games. That’ll win you plenty of games. Purdue could absolutely make the tournament, and they have Saint Louis coming to town this weekend.
7. Iowa (23-15, 6-6)
The once red-hot Hawkeyes finally came back to earth over the past week. After a midweek loss to Bradley, the Hawks dropped two of three to Rutgers. Iowa can recover with a win over Penn State this weekend, but the win won’t help the resume of a team that hasn’t played a tough schedule this year.
8. Michigan State (20-16, 5-7)
The Spartans picked a bad time to lose five consecutive games, and got beat pretty badly by Michigan in the midweek and Maryland over the weekend. In the five-game skid, the Spartans gave up 45 runs. That’s nine per game. Which, if you follow baseball closely, isn’t good. There’s a chance to recover at Northwestern this week.
9. Rutgers (15-22, 4-5)
Speaking of the aforementioned Scarlet Knights, welcome to the power rankings! Rutgers have only played nine conference games, but none were bigger than the pair of wins in games two and three against Iowa over the weekend. Believe it or not, if the season ended today, Rutgers would be in the top eight.
10. Northwestern (16-23, 5-7)
Northwestern took two of three from Penn State, and have now won three of four. Good timing. The ‘Cats have Michigan State this weekend, but not before a road game against Chicago State in the middle of the week. Two tidbits of Chicago State trivia: The Cougars somehow play in the WAC, and they gave up an NCAA-record 50 runs to Nebraska in 1999. That’s how we’ll end this week’s rankings.