After sweeping Rutgers this weekend, Maryland baseball saw its hopes of making the Big Ten tournament skyrocket.
In one weekend, the Terps went from 11th in the conference to being tied with Michigan State for eighth place. If the season ended today, Maryland would advance to Omaha, having won two of three against the Spartans this season.
As of now, there are four teams competing for eighth place with three Big Ten games left to play: Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska and Rutgers.
The Terps control their own destiny. If they win their upcoming series, then the Cornhuskers and Scarlet Knights are eliminated from contention, and if they win as many or more games as the Spartans, they’ll have the edge as well.
Maryland travels to Indiana (11-9 Big Ten) this weekend. The Hoosiers are sixth in the conference, but they also have the second-best home record of any Big Ten team this season. The Terps are also 9-14 on the road this season, but they have a 7-3 record in their last 10 games overall, so momentum is in their favor. On the other hand, Indiana is only 4-6 in their last 10.
Meanwhile, Michigan State hosts Ohio State (13-8 Big Ten) this weekend. The Buckeyes are fourth in the Big Ten, and also have the second-best road record of any Big Ten team this season, which is big considering that the Spartans are only 8-12 at home this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games overall. Ohio State sits at 6-4 in their last 10.
Rutgers (7-14 Big Ten) hosts conference leaders Minnesota this weekend. Not only did the Scarlet Knights get swept last weekend, but they are also 2-8 in their last 10 games. However, they can hang their hat on a 11-7 home record. In comparison, the Golden Gophers are 8-2 in their last 10 games, coming off a series win at home and are 10-6 on the road. Rutgers has a big task on their hands if they want to make the tournament.
Rounding out the pack, Nebraska (7-12 Big Ten) is on the road at Illinois (13-8) this weekend. While they hold the head-to-head advantage against Maryland this season, they have to play the fifth-place Fighting Illini, who are 11-8 at home this season. The Huskers are 6-4 in their last 10 games, but they are also 5-11 on the road, so the odds aren’t in their favor.
Maryland has the best chance of the four to keep their spot, despite facing a tough opponent in Indiana. Maryland has the momentum and they are playing for their lives so don’t be surprised if they make a few heads turn in Bloomington this weekend.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Michigan State and Maryland control their own destinies. Maryland controls its own destiny, but Michigan State does not. This article has been updated.