1. Minnesota (19-8, 6-0 Big Ten)
Nope, don’t worry. You weren’t redirected to last week’s power rankings. But for the time being, the Gophers still claim the top spot with a perfect 6-0 start in conference and have won their last 10 games - even with last week’s series against Rutgers completely wiped because the Scarlet Knights couldn’t find a flight to the Midwest with all of the cancellations. They play Indiana on the road this week, which should be interesting.
2. Michigan (25-7, 6-3)
The Wolverines did what they had to do against Illinois this weekend by scoring 21 runs and winning two of three games. No team in the conference has an overall record close to Michigan’s, and the Wolverines lead the conference in runs scored. Now, they head to Oklahoma to play the Sooners, who are coming off a series loss to Texas, but have also climbed as high as ninth in some of the national polls. That’s a test.
3. Nebraska (19-11-1, 4-1-1)
The weekend could have sent Nebraska in separate directions, but the Huskers stuck with Maryland from start to finish, winning two of three. It’s not uncommon to see a Darin Erstad team struggle in February and March and turn on the afterburners in April, so take it all with a grain of salt. But NU is 14-3-1 in its last 18 games, against some tougher competition, too.
4. Maryland (20-10, 6-3)
It’s tough to figure out what to make of Maryland. On one hand, it’s a great program off to a 20-10 start. On the other, it’s a team that’s 17-2 against teams outside the top 50 in RPI and just 3-8 against teams inside. The Terps have also struggled to win away from home. That’s no reason to sound any alarms, but it is still a reason to be skeptical.
5. Michigan State (18-10, 3-3)
Ready for some trivia? Good! Only 13 Big Ten schools play baseball; Wisconsin doesn’t. You need two teams to play a weekend series. Divide 13 by 2 and you get 6.5, which doesn’t work. Long story short: one team has a week in which it plays a non-conference opponent. This week, it was Michigan State, and the Spartans swept Fresno State. Now, I’ll bet you feel enlightened.
6. Purdue (17-14, 5-4)
The best part about the Purdue hype train is that both Purdue and trains (as in locomotives) go hand-in-hand, and the Boilermakers just took two of three from fierce in-state rival Indiana. Remember: Purdue finished just 10-44 last year (and that’s after winning three of the last four games). Seventeen wins in mid-April must feel like something close to a CWS berth. Something worth celebrating.
7. Indiana (16-13-2, 4-4-1)
Indiana’s still probably a better team than Purdue, and the Hoosiers sit 41 RPI slots higher than the Boilermakers according to WarrenNolan.com. But Indiana needed an outburst in the finale to salvage anything from the series. And for that, we’ll give the Boilermakers their due.
8. Iowa (19-11, 3-3)
There was reason to believe Iowa’s success wasn’t sustainable, and after a dominant win in the series opener, the Hawkeyes took a step back and lost a pair to Northwestern. The Wildcats aren’t a great baseball team, and those are series you have to win. The Hawks are still a decent bet to make the eight-team Big Ten tournament, but it’ll be a dog fight.
9. Ohio State (14-17, 3-6)
Part of me wanted to throw the Buckeyes in here just to remind you that Oregon State is 28-1 and has won 23 consecutive games. The only team to beat the Beavers in 2017 is 14-17 Ohio State. Baseball’s a funny game. But to be fair, Ohio State did beat Penn State twice this weekend, so they’re fully deserving of a top 10 spot.
10. Northwestern (10-20, 2-4)
My sincere apologies to any ‘Cats who might be reading this. I don’t know why you would be, but I apologize. Northwestern isn’t bad, and the Wildcats just took two of three from Iowa. In reality, you could even say Northwestern is hot. And the ‘Cats are definitely a top 10 Big Ten team, which is something to be proud of.