There's so much baseball yet to be played this weekend, before the NCAA tournament field is announced Monday. And unfortunately for the postseason-hopeful Huskers, they have to nervously follow it all from home.
At this point, if the selection show were broadcasting at this very moment, it appears that Nebraska has done enough to earn an at-large NCAA regional spot.
The Huskers began Friday ranked No. 42 in the RPI. They had a 14-13 record against the RPI Top 100. Their non-conference strength of schedule was ranked inside the top 100 nationally. They won 37 regular season games — only one of the 18 Big Ten teams to reach that mark has missed a regional since 1999 (six of the 18 earned automatic bids).
Crazy things can happen. Nothing is for certain — which is why NU's 0-2 showing at the Big Ten tournament stings so much. The Huskers could have strengthened or even solidified their case. Now they can only wait, anxiously.
So, why is Nebraska not locked into a spot? Who could knock NU out of a regional?
Bid stealers. Those inspired underdogs who otherwise wouldn't be playing in June — but found a way to win their league's automatic berth. Those teams that are not worthy of at-large consideration — but ended up getting hot, winning a title and earning a spot in a regional.
If there are a dozen of them, well, then the Huskers might be in trouble. A Nebraska-tailored breakdown of the weekend action (selection show is at 11 a.m. Monday)...
WHO NU IS ROOTING FOR
(Teams that are favorites to win their league's auto bid, and have better at-large resumes than NU)
AAC: Tulane (31 RPI)
Big South: Coastal Carolina (14)
Colonial: UNC-Wilmington (29)
Missouri Valley: Dallas Baptist (28)
Northeast: Bryant (32)
Sun Belt: UL-Lafayette (16)
West Coast: Gonzaga (25)
MORE TEAMS TO ROOT FOR
(These squads have comparable marks to Nebraska, and quite frankly, many of them may not be able to pass NU in the pecking order. But if they can get the auto bid, why risk leaving it up to the committee to decide who's more deserving?)
America East: Hartford (53)
Atlantic Sun: North Florida (48)
Big Ten: Ohio State (51), Michigan (33)
Big East: Creighton (38)
Horizon: Wright State (46)
MAC: Kent State (61)
Pac-12: Washington (49)
Southland: Sam Houston State (39), SE Louisiana (41)
Sun Belt: South Alabama (44)
WHO NU IS ROOTING AGAINST
(Teams in desperate need of wins to vastly improve an at-large resume; or those who can only keep playing with an automatic berth)
AAC: UConn (50)
Big 12: West Virginia (64)
Big Ten: Michigan State (74), Indiana (94), Iowa (81)
Colonial: College of Charleston (58)
Conference USA: Marshall (63)
Pac-12: Utah (101), Oregon State (54)
West Coast: St. Mary's (69), BYU (52)
And any other potential bid stealer who has yet to emerge at this point.