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Hoosiers excel in Big Ten play, but nonconference record makes the Big Ten Tournament a must-win.

The recently announced individual honors make clear that IU's Big Ten performance was impressive.  Eric Arnett was co-pitcher of the year.  DH Alex Dickerson was Big Ten freshman of the year.  Arnett, OF Kipp Schutz, and C Josh Phegley were on the all-Big Ten first team, 1B Jerrud Sabourin, Dickerson, and SP Matt Bashore were on the second team, and RP Chris Squires made the third team.  But as this link to the NCAA RPI makes clear, IU's 12-18 non-conference record means that winning the BTT provides IU with its only shot at the NCAA Tournament (which, like the basketball tournament, includes 64 teams and grants automatic bids to conference champions.  IU ranks #125 in the RPI, compared to #32 OSU, #24 Minnesota, and #61 Illinois.  The other top Big Ten teams all finished 15 or more games over .500, as opposed to 3 over for IU. 

Here is how individual Hoosiers stacked up on the Big Ten leaderboard.  These stats are for all games, not just individual games. 

Batting average:

8.  Kipp Schutz .368

9. Alex Dickerson .367

Slugging percentage:

2. Josh Phegley .672

5.  Alex Dickerson .628

On-base percentage:

4. Phegley .470

Runs:

7.  Phegley 52

Stolen bases:

1.  Evan Crawford 27 (on 32 attempts)

ERA:

2.  Eric Arnett 2.78

10. Matt Bashore 3.87

Opponents' batting average:

2.  Arnett .215

6.  Blake Monar .254

10.  Matt Bashore .267

Strikeouts

3.  Arnett 93

4.  Bashore 92

Wins

1.  Arnett 11

Saves

3. Chris Squires 7

Bashore, in particular, excelled in Big Ten play.  Those who read my earlier posts will recall that Bashore was pounded in the pre-conference.  Here's what I said about Bashore on March 23, when he was 0-3 with a 7.23 ERA:

Bashore's underlying numbers seem pretty solid: in 27.1 innings, Bashore has 29 strikeouts and only 13 walks, and has allowed only one home run.  For whatever reason, and I haven't seem him pitch this year, he has given up 39 hits.  Perhaps it's just an unlucky streak and he and the Hoosiers will right the ship during the Big Ten season.

I'm so rarely right that yes, I do feel the need to point it out when it happens.  In 7 Big Ten starts, Bashore is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA.  In 53.1 innings, he has allowed 47 hits, 13 walks, and 2 home runs and has 57 strikeouts. His hit totals have dropped, while his other numbers are even better.