My middle son at Purdue didn't like my tweet earlier, but I stand by it-- Big Ten baseball's national image didn't get helped over the week end in the opening Regional phase of the NCAA tournament. Michigan State barely made it in as a fifth seed and was sent three time zones away against California teams. MSU was outscored 14-4 in two losses and didn't even face rugged Stanford and its stellar pitcher Mark Appel, who may be the first pick in the draft Monday night.
Purdue was a one seed and a host at Gary, Indiana, but the Boilermakers didn't even make the title game. They beat a weak Valparaiso team 7-2, then lost to both Kent State and Kentucky. Kent State beat Kentucky 3-2 to advance to play a best of three at Oregon in the super Regional-- winner to College World Series. Kent State is good but it's a MAC school and the Big Ten did not prevail.
So the Big Ten went 1-4 in the tournament. That's why the selection committee and others around the country just continue to view Big Ten baseball as second rate. It stays that way until it changes with wins in the tournament and someone going to the World Series for the first time since Michigan in 1984.
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