Heading into the final week of the season, we knew that Iowa could finish no worse than #2 in the final Big Ten standings. They still retained slim hopes of finishing #1 and claiming a regular season Big Ten championship, but doing so would require Iowa to sweep their final opponent, Rutgers, and league leaders Illinois to lose at least two (if not all three) of their final games. Alas, as we know that did not happen -- Iowa dropped two of three to Rutgers and Illinois kept their insane winning streak alive with two more wins to close out the season (yesterday's season-ending game against Nebraska was canceled due to weather conditions). So Illinois finishes #1 in the Big Ten and Iowa finishes #2 in the final standings.
Those standings also set the seeds for the Big Ten Tournament this week. Illinois and Iowa earn the top two seeds, with Michigan emerging from the three-way tie at 14-10 to claim the 3rd seed. Michigan State took the #4 seed, leaving Maryland to the #5 seed. Indiana's strong finish to the season powered them to the #6 seed, while Ohio State's late season swoon (1-8) saw them fall to the #7 seed. Nebraska just edged out Minnesota for the 8th and final seed in the Big Ten Tournament. The season is over for Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, Penn State, and Purdue.
Iowa will play #7 seed Ohio State at 1 PM CT on Wednesday, May 20 at gorgeous Target Field in Minneapolis, MN. BTN Plus will have online streaming coverage of the game.
(click to embiggen; H/T to Land-Grant Holy Land)
Our faithful baseball correspondents Hayden's_Aviators and Randy Johnson's Mullet will be along with an explanation of the logistics of the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments later this week, but for now it's enough to know that the Big Ten Tournament is a double-elimination event, so one loss doesn't doom a team. It's also worth understanding that Iowa will essentially be in a mini-bracket with Ohio State, Michigan, and Indiana -- Iowa didn't play Ohio State earlier this year and went 5-1 in six games against Michigan and Indiana. That said, it won't be easy for Iowa -- Michigan has some of the best bats in the conference and the Indiana team playing now looks more formidable than the team that Iowa swept back in March.
If you prefer to look at the bracket in PDF form (with game times and TV information), you can find it right here.
Again, we'll have much, much more about Iowa baseball and the Big Ten Tournament all week.