No women’s soccer team has been that dominant or bad to lock themselves into a spot in the Big Ten Tournament, but the top five teams right now: Penn State, Michigan, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Minnesota should finish within the top five.
The top eight teams in the conference advance to the Big Ten Tournament, and spots six, seven and eight are wide open between six teams. The target number of points I believe a team needs to make the Big Ten Tourney is at the minimum, 17 points. Being closer to 20 points would better secure them a spot in the final three though.
Iowa Hawkeyes (13 Pts.)
At Ohio State
At Penn State
The Hawkeyes started off hot, but they are 1-3-1 in their last five games. It is very possible for Iowa to come away with 12 points, but playing away from home is never an easy task, so I would not be surprised if they slip up at Ohio State or Nebraska and come away with eight or nine points.
Brooks’ Guess: Win four out of five for 12 points, which puts them at 25 points and should easily give them the sixth spot in the Big Ten standings.
Maryland Terrapins (12 Pts.)
At Penn State
The Terps are 2-1-2 at home up until this point in the season. Northwestern had a huge win over Illinois in conference play and Illinois is currently on a three-game losing streak. Their last three games are away against very difficult opponents.
Brooks’ Guess: Take two at home, but do not see them winning any games on the road. A tie isn’t out of the question against Minnesota, which would give them seven points and a total of 19 points.
Illinois Fighting Illini (12 Pts.)
Vs. Michigan State
The Illini clearly have the most difficult schedule to finish the season of any Big ten team. The loss against Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois and the double overtime loss at home to Minnesota on Oct. 12 really hurt them in the long run. Rutgers beat Penn State at home, Maryland is not an easy away game, the Spartans are hungry right now and on a three-game winning streak and if they play Penn State tough they will have confidence coming into their game at Illinois Soccer Stadium. The Wolverines and Badgers are not easy games and both teams have been dangerous and relentless all season.
Brooks’ Guess: Illinois has lost three in a row and are desperate for a win to keep their Big Ten Tourney chances alive. Six points is not out of the question for them, but three points is more realistic because they have that East Coast trip so late in the season. 15 points is not enough to make the Big Ten Tournament.
Ohio State (8 Pts.)
The Buckeyes have been all over the place in their conference games. What is very concerning though is the way they have lost to teams in conference play by more than two goals each time. They have tied their last two games against Minnesota and Maryland, but the only easy game remaining is against Nebraska. Michigan is difficult to beat at home, and Iowa and Rutgers are solid teams.
Brooks’ Guess: Buckeyes come away with three points, which puts them at 11 points, which ending their season.
Michigan State Spartans (10 Pts.)
Vs. Penn State
Like I mentioned above, the Spartans have battled throughout the Big Ten season. They have scored five goals in their last two games and their offense is starting to click. Penn State is never an easy opponent; they have not won in Champaign, Illinois since 1997 and have not won those big games in conference play. The Spartans are hungry and have had the Big Ten Tournament on their mind from the beginning of the season.
Brooks’ Guess: Winning four out of five is not impossible, but I see them going 3-1-1 for 10 points, which gives them a total of 17 points.
Purdue Boilermakers (6 Pts.)
The Boilermakers were picked to finish last in the Big Ten in the preseason Coaches’ Poll, but they have exceeded the coaches’ expectations so far this season. They started off well in non-conference play, but it seems like this young team with a roster with 19 underclassmen just does not have the experience to pull it together.
Brooks’ Guess: The Boilermakers get one win and a tie. Four points would put them at 10 points, which is not enough to make the Big Ten Tournament but keeps them from finishing in last place.
Final Standing Predictions:
- Penn State
- Michigan State
Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports
Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports