“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
Fearless Leader starts the column from SI's Stuart Mendel. He looks at population growth and says that B1G expansion isn't (only) about TV dollars, but about population trends too:
EDITED TITLE for easy visibility of Brian getting the article lead.
The #5 seed Michigan Wolverines take on the #1 seed Indiana Hoosies tonight in the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana beat #8 Iowa 5-2 yesterday while Michigan beat #4 Minnesota 3-2 with a 3-run Home Run by Travis Maezes being Michigan's only source of income. Michigan has lost to Indiana twice but beaten them once. Indiana is good but Michigan can win if we play well. Brett Adcock will be on the mound for Michigan.
The Wisconsin Badgers took on Nebraska in a double-header today with major Big Ten Title implications across the board. After getting trashed 12-0 (5 inn.) in the first game, the Badgers bounced back in game two, topping Nebraska 6-4 in a what looked like a real thriller of a game (I was only able to watch the end of it).
This is a huge help to Michigan heading into the last weekend of Big Ten play, as the Wolverines now hold a two-game lead over the Huskers with just three to go. The Huskers will most likely sweep a weak Indiana team, so this was probably the last chance Michigan had at getting a helping hand. The Badgers themselves aren't completely out of the picture, sitting three games back, but they would need to earn a sweep in Ann Arbor and get a lot of help elsewhere. Minnesota is also still in the picture, but a cancelled game earlier in the season means I don't know how the math works out for them.
Michigan has been struggling for the last week, and took a bit of a hit in the polls (fortunately it was not too bad - the Wolverines actually still sit in the crucial top 8 of both polls and are still in the top 16 in terms of RPI) and Big Ten standings. Even so, by my counts all it will take is one more win to lock up at least a share of the Big Ten Championship, and two to secure yet another ouright title. Wisconsin is a very strong team though, and the last week has certainly taught us not to take anything for granted! If you'll be in Ann Arbor this weekend, you'd best get down to Alumni Field & get loud - this is a huge series and should be some great softball!
All the other conferences can be seen here.
All stats can be found at USCHO.com
|Team||(First Place Votes)||Record||Points||Last Poll|
|2||Ferris State||(12)||14- 2-3||914||4|
|4||St. Cloud State||( 4)||11- 2-3||855||1|
|5||Providence||( 2)||11- 2-3||834||5|
|7||Boston College||10- 4-2||688||6|
|13||Notre Dame||10- 7-1||364||13|
|18||Lake Superior||10- 7-1||152||17|
|20||Minnesota State||11- 7-0||67||NR|
In this week's poll Michigan stays at #3 and still does not receive a first place vote. Ferris State jumps the Wolverines to go into the break at #2.
St. Cloud State drops to #4 after their series loss to Union, and Minnesota regains the top spot after losing it a week ago.
The third Big Ten team in the poll is Wisconsin who moves up 1 spot to #14 after sweeping Colorado College.
|#||Team||RPI||W-L||Win%||W-L Rank||SOS||SOS Rank|
|4||St. Cloud State||.5968*||11-2-3||.7812||4t||.5272||11|
In the RPI rankings Michigan, Ferris State and St Cloud State have fallen below .6000.
The Wolverines two losses have this season have come against #10 UMass-Lowell and Nebraska-Omaha. UNO has been up and down this season but one loss to a .5268 RPI team isn't the end of the world.
Our best win is #7 Boston College (.5759). While the Boston University (.5097) win isn't as good as we thought, they're hanging on as a TUC team right now.
The state of Michigan has four teams below .5000: Michigan Tech (.4914), Western Michigan (.4818), Northern Michigan (.4731) and Michigan State (.4545).
Big Ten Standings
|Team||Big Ten||W||L||T||SO||Win %||PTS||GF-GA||Overall||W||L||T||Win%||GF-GA|
The Big Ten is almost what we thought it would be coming into this season.
Penn State and Michigan State have not beaten a team above .500 this season in regulation. Ohio State skates hard but they're not ready to compete for a Top-3 spot in the conference.
The difference between preseason and now is Wisconsin. The Badgers have beaten all of the bad teams on their schedule and lost to most of the good teams. They're talented, experienced and play like a team of individuals.
Michigan is the clear #2 in the conference. Right now they aren't on the level of Minnesota, so a few upsets will be needed to challenge for the Big Ten Title.
Michigan goes for the first B1G sweep of the year in Columbus.