At 6:00 CDT, you’ve got a choice. Either tune in to ESPNU and catch a desperate Michigan squad in Columbus looking to upset the #6 Buckeyes, or turn on BTN and see #11 Penn State visit an Illinois team in urgent need of a quality win.
At 8:00, you’re going to want to make sure you’re watching BTN. Nebraska, newly ascended to #1 in the nation, heads to Madison to take on the #5 Badgers. It may be the premier matchup of the B1G season. Wisconsin, the defending national champions, have won eight consecutive matches against Nebraska, including three last season, the final one being for the national title. But Nebraska is undefeated in conference play this season.
You’re on notice. Tonight is a great night for volleyball, and you should tune in.
The Rest of the Week
Friday, 8:00 (BTN)—Purdue @ Northwestern: Northwestern is fresh off a 2-0 week and up to #42 in the RPI. A win here would energize their argument for an NCAA bid.
Saturday, 5:30 (BTN)—Minnesota @ Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s only conference loss to date was @ Minnesota. Following their win over Purdue last weekend, Minnesota is in sole possession of 4th in the B1G race, and in line for a top-4 tournament seed. A win here would almost lock that in. Wisconsin will either be playing to preserve a share of the conference lead, or to avoid falling into a tie with Minnesota.
Saturday, 7:30 (BTN)—Ohio State @ Penn State: The Buckeyes’ only loss was a 5-setter in Lincoln, about as excusable as it gets. Can they keep pace by earning a tough road victory, or will Penn State earn a win that brings their RPI (#18) closer in line with their ranking (#11)?
- #1 Nebraska (RPI: 3) 10-0
- #6 Ohio State (RPI: 6) 9-1
- #5 Wisconsin (RPI: 7) 9-1
- #9 Minnesota (RPI: 9) 7-3
- #12 Purdue (RPI: 25) 6-4
- #11 Penn State (RPI: 18) 6-4
- Indiana (RPI: 90) 5-5
- Northwestern (RPI: 42) 4-6
- Michigan (RPI: 33) 4-6
- Illinois (RPI: 72) 4-6
- Maryland (RPI: 134) 3-7
- Michigan State (RPI: 113) 1-9
- Iowa (RPI: 105) 1-9
- Rutgers (RPI: 186) 1-9
Indiana had a great 2-0 week, highlighted by a win @ Michigan. Still a tourney longshot owing to their RPI, but another 2-0 week would require a win @ Purdue. If that happens, let’s see what that does to the RPI. Last week I said the match with Rutgers might be their last win of the year, so they’ve already proved me wrong.
Northwestern’s wins @ Rutgers and @ Maryland last week aren’t game changers, in and of themselves, but the RPI is in good enough shape that a .500 B1G record should get them in the tournament. They have their next four matches at home, but those include Purdue, Ohio State, and Nebraska. Winning one of those would go a long way.
Maryland and Illinois combined to go 0-4 last week. Maryland’s tournament hopes were already on life support; Illinois’s are now too.