College baseball writer Jeff Huth weighs in on the Big Ten tournament, which begins Wednesday in Minneapolis:
This sure looks like the Indiana Hoosiers’ year. The record (40-13) is stellar. The NCAA RPI ranking (No. 15) speaks volumes about who they are and who they’ve beaten. And if you disregard that inexplicable 0-3 showing in April at Michigan State, the Big Ten champions have dominated the league, winning 17 of 21 times against opponents not named Sparty. There’s little, if anything, not to like about the Hoosiers.
But if Tracy Smith’s guys somehow stumble at Target Field, this should be any team’s tournament for the taking. Indiana aside, parity reigns in the six-team field. And if being hot at the right time matters — and what coach would dispute that? — keep an eye on fifth-seeded Illinois. Dan Hartleb’s bunch, which spent much of the Big Ten race treading water, enters on a 5-1 run. Even the Hoosiers can’t say that.