For the first time since 2019, the Big Ten Tournament is back and ready to kick off from Omaha, Nebraska - home of the college world series. It’s an exciting time for baseball fans and for Hawkeye fans in particular.
After finishing the season on a strong note, winning 7 of their final 8 conference tournaments, Iowa enters this week as the 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament with a lot on the line. After some mid-season slip ups, the Hawkeyes find themselves as probable at-large bid winners for the NCAA Tournament, but nothing is a lock at this point.
At 32-16 overall this season, Iowa is sitting at 55th in RPI and in a difficult spot heading into the tournament based on the draw.
The bubble according to CBR if the season ended today— College Baseball Nation (@CollegeBallNat) May 24, 2022
CBR is a modified RPI statistic that predicts what the NCAA Selection Committee will do. Last year it picked 33/34 at-large teams correctly.
Our latest projection had ODU & Kennesaw St OUT & Iowa & NCST IN.
Cutoff = 49
Only Maryland and Rutgers, the 1 and 2 seeds respectively, are ahead of the Hawkeyes in RPI, meaning the risk of falling in RPI is much greater than the chance to boost the resume.
Here’s a look at the full tournament bracket heading into this week’s action.
As you can see, the Hawkeyes are set to kick things off with a 9am CT first pitch againsnt 6th seed Penn State on Wednesday morning. As with all matchups this week, the game will be broadcast on BTN.
From there, Iowa would play at 5pm CT on Thursday if they win game one or 9am should they fall to the Nittany Lions in the opener. The potential iterations of outcomes from there grow quite a bit, but if Iowa wins each of its first two games they would move on to play on Saturday at 1pm. A loss in either of the first two games would require winning a game on Friday at 3:30pm in order to advance to Saturday. The Big Ten Championship Game is set to be played at 1pm CT on Sunday, May 29th.
So what are the Hawkeyes’ chances? Turns out, pretty good. According to former SBN contributor and general stats guru @statsowar, Iowa has the best chance of any Big Ten team to win the whole darn thing.
Big Ten Baseball Tournament Win Probabilities— parker (@statsowar) May 23, 2022
1. Iowa 26.5%
2. Rutgers 26.2%
3. Maryland 24.3%
4. Illinois 7.9%
5. Michigan 6.8%
6. Indiana 6.1%
7. Purdue 2.2%
8. Penn State <0.1%
The math here really comes down to the path to the title game. Maryland, which is currently third nationally in RPI, has a bit more difficult path to get to Sunday with potential matchups against two top-80 teams in RPI while Iowa and Rutgers really just have to get past each other to be statistically in a very good spot.
For Iowa head coach Rick Heller, that’s good news. The skipper is focused on getting back to Omaha and taking away any chance the Hawkeyes are left out of the field for the NCAA Tournament.
"There's a good feeling as the guys get on the bus and head to a big tournament for the postseason."— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) May 23, 2022
Hear from the head Hawk @rheller21 as the #Hawkeyes head to Omaha! #OmaHawks pic.twitter.com/ZUaADbKLzF
As the Hawkeyes progress throughout the week, we’ll provide full game previews as well as recaps. You can find all of those right here as the stream links everything together in one clean home page so be sure to check back often.
Due to expected inclimate weather, the schedule for Wednesday and Thursday’s games has been pushed back. Iowa’s tournament opener against Penn State originally scheduled for 9am CT is now set to be played at 5pm. That will be followed by the Rutgers-Purdue matchup at approximately 9pm. The games originally set to take place in the afternoon on Wednesday will not take place on Thursday morning with Maryland and Indiana kicking things off at 9am.
Wednesday, May 25— Big Ten Baseball (@B1Gbaseball) May 24, 2022
5 p.m. - No. 3 @UIBaseball vs. No. 6 @PennStateBASE
9 p.m. - No. 2 @RutgersBaseball vs. No. 7 @PurdueBaseball
Thursday, May 26
9 a.m. - No. 1 @TerpsBaseball vs. No. 8 @IndianaBase
1 p.m. - No. 4 @IlliniBaseball vs. No. 5 @umichbaseball
ALL TIMES CT