Post-Week 10 Notebook: Big Ten & The Race for First & Second

  0 Derek Johnson | October 29th, 2018 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News

Week 10 didn’t see sizable shifting or upsets, although there were several near hits. More so we saw some storylines continue or gaps widen in certain leagues, which seems to be a bit of a theme from the first double-digit week of the NCAA DI women’s season.

Note: It’s impossible to get to every match and every team for the sake of you not getting bored on this page or my fingers falling off from typing, so we try to cut it down a bit.

More Clarity Atop the Big Ten?

After Illinois downed Nebraska, Wisconsin got by Michigan (who lost again to Minnesota) and Penn State was upset by Purdue, we may have a bit more clarity in the discussion for who can finish second in the Big Ten – with Minnesota continuing to roll in first.

Last season second (technically due to a tie atop) was 19-1 and third was 15-5 in the Big Ten. In 2016, second and third were both 17-3. In 2015, 17-3 and 16-4 rounded out the top three. So just based on recent history, the team who finishes second will need to go 17-3. Maybe that number drops to 16-4 this year even, so let’s use that as the mark.

For Nebraska and Michigan, they dropped to 7-5 in Big Ten play. If 16-4 is the number, then they’d be out of the running. Mathematically Purdue would still be in, but are we counting on them to win out?

So really, that #2 spot is down to Illinois, Penn State and Wisconsin. Penn State probably has the toughest schedule while Illinois might have the easiest. The Nittany Lions still play Illinois and Wisconsin, so those will be critical. If one of the three emerges as the clear-cut second team, then they’ll have a legit shot at earning a top four seed and a regional hosting spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Now, that all said, with as tough as schedules are in the league, this will probably chaotically change within a week or two.

Sticking in the league, Minnesota might be close to wrapping this thing up

The Golden Gophers are now 12-0 in just Big Ten matches this season following another undefeated week. With the next closest teams all at three conference losses, it’s hard to come up with a scenario where Minnesota doesn’t win the league. And if that happens, it’d be hard to keep them from earning a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

For them to just fall to a spot where they shared the Big Ten title instead of winning it outright, one of the 9-3 second place teams would have to win out AND Minnesota would have to finish just 5-3. Here’s their remaining schedule:

  • at Wisconsin
  • vs. Michigan State
  • vs. Indiana
  • vs. Purdue
  • at Maryland
  • at Ohio State
  • at Penn State
  • at Rutgers

Sure, Purdue is strong and Michigan State and Indiana aren’t pushovers, but Minnesota is 11-0 at home and likely won’t lose those. They should take care of business at Maryland, at Ohio State and at Rutgers. So worst case scenario, even if they lost at Wisconsin AND at Penn State they’d win the league.

And sure, there’s a chance they could lose both and get upset to someone else AND one of the 9-3 teams wins out, but even then that’s all unlikely and a share of the league crown.

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