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Huskers in, Jays out? Nebraska's road to Omaha

Huskers in, Jays out? Nebraska's road to Omaha
Posted at 1:55 PM, May 31, 2016
As the dust from the college baseball conference tournaments settle, 64 teams are left standing to compete for a national championship. Nebraska and Creighton both hoped for an at-large bid, a bid that many thought would go to Creighton. 
 
Creighton finished the season with a record of 38-17, while Nebraska finished 37-20. Creighton had a Rating Percentage Index (RPI) of 46, while Nebraska sat at 48. While these numbers give Creighton a slight advantage, the committee was likely looking elsewhere when handing out bids. Strength of schedule.
 
In the final polls, Nebraska came out ranked 109th in strength of schedule, while Creighton finished the season ranked 148th. Yikes. 
 
Playing in the Big East hurt Creighton. Earlier in the season, Creighton dropped six spots in the RPI rankings despite sweeping conference opponent Butler. 
 
Many people use the argument that the Big Ten isn’t much better, but when you take a look at the conference as a whole, that is not entirely true. Here are the final RPI standings for the Big East: 
 
Creighton: 46
Xavier: 79
Saint John’s: 133
Seton Hall: 145
Georgetown: 175
Villanova: 245
Butler:276
 
Compare that to the top seven in RPI in the Big Ten:
 
Ohio State: 18
Michigan: 38
Nebraska: 48
Minnesota: 50
Maryland: 59
Iowa: 71
Michigan State: 77
 
Creighton also dropped eight of its last 14 games, six of those losses coming to teams that did not qualify for the tournament.
 
The Huskers were on the opposite end of that spectrum, winning ten of its final 15 games. Nebraska got hot when it mattered. 
Now, the selection committee probably did not go into the room thinking, “Well, we can only take Creighton or Nebraska, but definitely not both,” but, if they had, their head-to-head record would have played a factor as well.
 
In the three meetings between Creighton and Nebraska this season, Nebraska won two. Nebraska outscored Creighton 26-8 in the season series. Creighton head coach Ed Servais may be one of the winningest coaches in college baseball, but Nebraska seems to have his number. 
 
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Nebraska made the postseason, but the road to Omaha is a long and trying one.  The Huskers drew the No. 3 seed in the Clemson regional which is anything but a cake walk.
 
Nebraska faces off against No. 2 seeded Oklahoma State to start the double-elimination style regional. Oklahoma State finished second in the Big 12 in regular season wins with a 16-8 conference record. 
 
If Nebraska wins, they likely face off against the Clemson Tigers. Clemson is the No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA. The Tigers are fresh off an ACC Tournament Championship in a conference that tied the all-time mark for most teams to make the NCAA Tournament with 10. 
 
Should the Huskers lose, they will have to win four straight elimination games to advance to the Super Regionals, where they would likely face South Carolina. South Carolina finished the season with a 42-15 record in a loaded SEC conference.
 
Nebraska can celebrate for now, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done between now and June 17th for the Huskers to make it back to TD Ameritrade Park. 
 
 
Contact the writer:
Twitter: @Tyler_Martin78
Email: Tyler.Martin@KMTV.com
 
Tyler Martin is a Cross Platform Content Gatherer for KMTV and AM 590 ESPN Omaha. The opinions are those of the writer.