Last Week’s Highlights:
In the week’s best match, Nebraska sneaked past Purdue in five thrilling sets, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 19-25, 15-12. It was the first time all year Nebraska dropped a first set. And the Huskers surrendered a 9-0 run to close out the fourth. However, Nebraska thwarted Purdue’s momentum and won the fifth to remain undefeated on the year. Making matters worse for Purdue, they essentially let Nebraska beat them twice, as they followed this five-set loss up with a five-set home loss to Northwestern. The Boilermakers are really talented, but pretty young. Or maybe they’re really young, but pretty talented. We’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
Penn State served notice that they aren’t content to just played for third in the B1G behind Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Nittany Lions went to the Twin Cities and defeated the Gophers in four sets, 25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 28-26. The scoreline accurately conveys the match as PSU dominated early, Minnesota scratched their way back in, but weren’t able to force a deciding fifth set. This result doesn’t mean Minnesota is an also-ran. Nor does it mean PSU is a national title contender. But, PSU is on a 10-1 streak, and Minnesota is sitting at .500 for the season (yes, against a lethal schedule), so it’s not a fluke, either.
Finally, Wisconsin looked like the best team in the nation. On the road against a ranked Ohio State squad, the Badgers won in straight sets, 19, 20, and 18. The only real resistance was in the second, but a 6-0 run put the Badgers up 14-13, and they weren’t really challenged again. Michigan might be the worst team in teh B1G this year, and the Badgers turned them away with no trouble, 13, 15, and 14, hitting .416 for the match.
- #1 Wisconsin: 13-0/4-0 (Last Week: W @OSU (3 sets), W vs. Mich. (3); next: @ Iowa, @Ill.)
- #2 Nebraska: 13-0/4-0 (LW: W @Pur. (5), W @Ind. (4); next: @MSU, @Mich.)
- #14 Penn State: 10-3/4-0 (LW: W @Ill. (3), W @Minn. (4); next: vs. Ind, vs. OSU)
- Michigan State: 11-4/3-1 (LW: W @NW (5), W vs. Rut. (4); next: vs. Neb., vs. NW)
- #16 Minnesota: 6-6/2-2 (LW: W vs. Mich. (3), L vs. PSU (4); next: @MD, @ Rut.)
- #19 Purdue: 8-5/2-2 (LW: L vs. Neb. (5), L vs. NW (5); next: vs. Ill., vs. Iowa)
- #25 Ohio State: 5-8/2-2 (LW: L vs. Wisc. (3), W vs. MD (3); next: @Rut., @PSU)
- Indiana: 12-5/2-2 (LW: W vs. Iowa (3), L vs. Neb. (4); next: @PSU, @MD)
- Maryland: 12-4/2-2 (LW: W @Rut. (4), L @OSU (3); next: vs. Minn., vs. Ind.)
- Illinois: 7-7/2-2 (LW: L vs. PSU (3), W vs. Iowa (3); next: @Pur., vs. Wisc.)
- Northwestern: 7-7/1-3 (LW: L vs. MSU (5), W @Pur. (5); next: @Mich. @MSU)
- Rutgers: 8-6/0-4 (LW: L vs. MD (4), L @MSU (4); next: vs. OSU, vs. Minn.)
- Iowa: 8-8/0-4 (LW: L @Ind. (3), L @Ill. (3); next: vs. Wisc., @Pur.)
- Michigan: 2-11/0-4 (LW: L @Minn. (3), L @Wisc. (3); next: vs. NW, vs. Neb.)
- Maybe OSU gives PSU a scare in Happy Valley this week, but it seems quite likely you’ll have three teams at 6-0 in a week. But Nebraska hosts PSU next week, so we’ll get to see just how the Nittany Lions stack up.
- No disrespect to Michigan State, but take that picture of the standings this week. This is the last time this year they’ll be in sole possession of 4th or better.
- As we’ve previously noted, the six ranked teams seem likely to get bids (though OSU needs to starting winning a few), so it’s worth watching to see how the 2-2 teams sort themselves out. Indiana @ Maryland is a really important matchup this week. The Terps will be coming of a home match with Minnesota. A 2-0 week would be huge for them. But a 0-2 homestand is also feasible, and would be damaging.
- Here’s your up-to-date list of weekly award winners. Wisconsin just got their first honoree this week. Nebraska is cleaning up. Different paths to an elite ranking.
- The B1G backloads their schedule. Next week it starts to pick up. By late October, there will be multiple ranked matchups every week.
On TV This Week
Wed., 7:00 CDT: Wisconsin @ Iowa (BTN): Not gonna be close, but UW’s frontline is always worth watching.
Fri., 5:00: Northwestern @ Michigan (BTN): Appropriate lead-in for Ill/Neb football, I guess
Fri., 7:00: Minnesota @ Maryland (BTN): Both teams could really use the win. This is well worth checking out.
Sat., 7:30: Nebraska @ Michigan (BTN): Not gonna be close, but Nebraska’s dual frosh sensations—Harper Murray and Bergen Reilly—are well worth watching.