Path to the postseason: Maryland baseball

With just three games to play in the regular season and two weeks until Selection Monday, Maryland Baseball continues to find itself on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. An at-large selection for Maryland is possible, although it will suit the Terps much better if they can win the Big Ten Tournament. To win the Big Ten Tournament, however, the Terps have to get in. While their chances are looking alright right now, nothing is guaranteed just yet. Here is an updated look at Maryland’s path to the postseason.

The Big Ten

The Terps got some help over the weekend from scores around the conference. Northwestern was able to pick up their third conference win of the season on Sunday by beating Ohio State 3-1, and Minnesota stormed back on Sunday from a 12-2 deficit against Michigan State to win the series against the Spartans. These results mean that Maryland, Ohio State, and Michigan State are all tied up at 10-11 and are seven, eight, and nine, respectively, in the conference standings going into the last weekend. Even better news for Maryland, the Terps hold the tiebreaker over the Buckeyes and Spartans.

The math this weekend against Penn State is pretty simple. If the Terps sweep the Nittany Lions, they will be the number seven seed. If Maryland wins two out of three, they will be in the tournament as long as Michigan State and Ohio State do not sweep their opponents (at Rutgers and vs Nebraska). If Maryland wins only one game, they’ll be eliminated if both the Spartans and Buckeyes win their series. If the Terps are swept, they’ll be eliminated with a win by both teams.

The tiebreaker for Maryland over Michigan State is the head-to-head series that the Terps won over Sparty back in March. They have the tiebreakers with Ohio State because of their 9-9 record against common opponents. Even if Ohio State sweeps Rutgers to have their record be 9-9 against common opponents, the Terps hold the next tiebreaker which is RPI.

NCAA Tournament

It’s not a fair assumption to say that the Terps are in the field, or out of it yet. The one drawback on Maryland’s resume is their sub-.500 conference record, which can be fixed with a series win over Penn State. But, with an RPI in the top 35 nationally, the Terps have a resume that could potentially get them in, as long as they can get into the Big Ten Tournament (which will happen with a series win against the Nittany Lions). On3’s latest projections that came out Monday morning have Maryland as one of the last four teams in, and as the three seed in the College Station Regional (with Texas A&M as the projected overall 5 seed). Baseball America’s latest Field of 64 do not have the Terps in or on the bubble, but they believe that “[Maryland’s] RPI would probably put it in the tournament field if it can clean up its conference record.” D1Baseball also does not have Maryland in the field or on the bubble in their latest projections. It’s important to note, however, that both Baseball America and D1Baseball release their projections on Wednesday, so the latest ones were released before Maryland’s series win over Boston College.

Final Summary:

Even though Maryland hasn’t locked up a spot in either tournament yet, the Terps should feel good about where they are. A lot of what happens the rest of the month hinges on what Maryland does this weekend against Penn State. If the Terps win the series against Penn State, they’ll certainly have a chance to be in the field regardless of what happens in Omaha. If they drop two out of three against the Nittany Lions, then Maryland could be in a fair amount of danger.

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