Apologies. This is dropping later than I had hoped, so the two matches that took place last night are noted here, but not in the standings below.
You should tip your cap to Indiana for their 4 set home win over #19 Purdue. That will send their RPI shooting up. If things break right, the Hoosiers might have fourth place in the B1G all to themselves after this weekend. They’re playing well.
Minnesota started slow, but stopped the bleeding with a convincing sweep of Michigan. Won’t do anything for the Gophers’ RPI, but they just need to win right now, and get back on track.
Last Week’s Highlights (or Lowlights):
- A disastrous week for Minnesota. Losing at Maryland was unexpected, but believable. Losing at Rutgers was jaw-dropping. Minnesota has a win over #5 Oregon! But their RPI is at 39. Things needs to turn around soon or else the unthinkable—missing the tournament—will start to look possible, if not probable.
- Is PSU to be commended for beating two good opponents (Indiana and Ohio State) last week? Or, given that both were at home and each took five sets, is there cause for concern? A date with the Huskers in Lincoln this Saturday night should provide further insight.
- Nebraska and Wisconsin combined to win 12 of 13 sets against overmatched competition. MSU took the second set off of Nebraska. The Huskers responded by winning the next two 25-15 and 25-11. I think they’re fine. Wisconsin is #1 in RPI, and Nebraska #3. Sure seems like both could end up hosting a regional.
- Had they pulled out the fifth set in Happy Valley, it would’ve been a great week for Indiana. Given the sweep @Maryland, it was still a pretty good one. The Hoosiers are #46 in RPI and have plenty of opportunities remaining to boost that number.
- #1 Wisconsin: 15-0/6-0 (Last Week: W @Iowa (3 sets), W @Ill. (3); next: vs. Rut., vs. MD)
- #2 Nebraska: 15-0/6-0 (LW: W @MSU. (4), W @Mich. (3); next: vs. MSU, vs. PSU)
- #14 Penn State: 12-3/6-0 (LW: W vs. Ind. (5), W vs. OSU (5); next: @Iowa, @Neb.)
- #15 Purdue: 10-5/4-2 (LW: W vs. Ill. (3), W vs. Iowa (3); next: @Ind., @OSU)
- Michigan State: 11-6/3-3 (LW: L vs. Neb. (4), L vs. NW (5); next: @Neb., @Iowa)
- Ohio State: 6-9/3-3 (LW: W @Rut. (4), L @PSU (5); next: vs. Ill., vs. Pur.)
- Indiana: 13-6/3-3 (LW: L @PSU (5), W @MD (3); next: vs. Pur., vs. Mich.)
- Maryland: 13-5/3-3 (LW: W vs. Minn. (5), L vs. Ind. (3); next: @NW, @Wisc.)
- #24 Minnesota: 6-8/2-4 (LW: L @MD (5), L @Rut. (4); next: @Mich., vs. NW)
- Illinois: 7-9/2-4 (LW: L @Pur. (3), L vs. Wisc.(3); next: @OSU, vs. Rut.)
- Northwestern: 8-8/2-4 (LW: L @Mich. (4), W @MSU (5); next: vs. MD, @Minn.)
- Rutgers: 9-7/1-5 (LW: L vs. OSU (4), W vs. Minn. (4); next: @Wisc., @Ill.)
- Michigan: 3-12/1-5 (LW: W vs. NW (4), L vs. Neb. (3); next: vs. Minn., @Ind.)
- Iowa: 9-9/0-6 (LW: L vs. Wisc. (3), L @Pur. (3); next: vs. PSU, vs. MSU)
On TV This Week:
Wed., 5:00 (CDT): Purdue @ Indiana: See above. This already happened last night, and Indiana looked pretty good, especially in winning the last two sets decisively: 25-16, 25-17. Not a terrible loss for Purdue, but it does suggest the Boilers’ realistic ceiling is probably the second round of the NCAA tournament. That said, Purdue is young, and sometimes frosh become sophomores more quickly than expected.
Wed., 7:00: Minnesota @ Michigan: Minnesota absolutely HAS TO go 2-0 this week. The talent is there, but things need to mesh. If Minnesota puts it together, they could head into the NCAA tournament as the proverbial “team no one wants to face.” But that’s pure projection right now. Let’s see some results.
Fri., 7:00: Penn State @ Iowa: Purely a tune-up for the Nittany Lions before the next night’s showdown in Lincoln.
Sat., 7:00: Penn State @ Nebraska: Nebraska has looked mortal on occasion, but this is still a pretty tall mountain for the Nittany Lions to climb. Look at this as the official kick-off of competitive-matches-on-TV season. Next week: Wisconsin @ Nebraska!!!