We knew yesterday that Iowa's season would continue beyond the regular season finale against Penn State with a record third-straight trip to the Big Ten Tournament. Now we know who they'll be playing in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament: Big Ten champion Minnesota.
Iowa went 1-2 against Minnesota in a road series earlier this year. Iowa lost 4-1 and 6-3 to the Gophers in the first and last games of the series, but did beat them 6-3 in the middle game of the series. Iowa used a four-run fifth inning to take control of that game (including a Joel Booker solo home run and a Robert Neustrom RBI double) and also got a decent pitching performance out of Tyler Peyton (5 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K).
The 2016 Big Ten Tournament will take place in at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha (the same place as the College World Series) from May 25-May 29. #8 seed Iowa will play #1 seed Minnesota on Wednesday, May 25 at 5 PM CT with TV coverage from BTN.
Here are the final Big Ten standings:
As a reminder, only the top eight teams in the final Big Ten standings make the Big Ten Tournament.
Iowa's loss to Penn State last night eliminated any chance of the Hawkeyes climbing as high as a 6th place finish. Whether they finished 7th or 8th was determined by today's game between Michigan State and Maryland; the Terps won that game 6-4, meaning that the Terrapins and Spartans both finished with 13-11 records while Iowa finished with a 12-12 record. Iowa finished tied with Penn State and Illinois at 12-12, but thanks to series wins over both the Nittany Lions and Illini, Iowa had the tiebreaker advantage over both teams. So while the standings above show Illinois ahead of Iowa, it doesn't matter -- Iowa is the team in the Big Ten Tournament, not the Illini.
Here's the bracket for the beginning of the tournament:
The full bracket for the 2016 Big Ten Tournament is available here.
The Big Ten Tournament is a double-elimination tournament, so win or lose against Minnesota on Wednesday, their season will not be over. If Iowa beats Minnesota, they would play the winner of the game between #4 seed Ohio State and #5 seed Michigan at 9 PM CT on Thursday. If Iowa loses to Minnesota, they'll play the loser of the game between Ohio State and Michigan at 1 PM CT on Thursday.
But first things first: Iowa has a Gopher problem that needs to be taken care of on Wednesday.