There's a joke somewhere in the fact that the government is spying on all of us and Big Ten team is back in the College World Series, but I just can't put my finger on it. It is 1984 all over again with the Hoosiers punching their tickets to Omaha. Despite the many years of layoff between tournament appearances the Big Ten has a pretty legit shot at putting their stamp on this season through the Hoosiers play.
As the tournament is coming together we're starting to get a good look at favorites and potential spoilers in Omaha. 5 of the 8 teams are in the field and we're waiting on the #1 seed North Carolina's showdown with South Carolina to see who gets in along with the winners of Oregon State/Kansas State and Virginia/Mississippi St. The Hoosiers chances at this point are looking pretty darn good to make some noise.
After Indiana's second win over Florida State by a score of 11 - 6, the Hoosiers get to take on the Louisville Cardinals who they bested in 2 of 3 games during the season. Louisville, also played spoilers by sweeping the overall #2 seed Vanderbilt in the Nashville Super Regional. That's the only decided game so far on Indiana's side of the bracket while they wait for other games to play out. If we want the easiest path the Hoosiers will be looking for Mississippi St. and Kansas St. to get in as well. That means not a single national seed would survive to Indiana's portion of the bracket.
The Hoosiers strong play has not only put them into conference history as a team but it's also pacing Indiana's chances for history as an athletic department. Currently Indiana stands in 5th in the Capital One Cup, which measures the best athletic departments in any given season. After every sport but baseball has finished the standings have Texas A&M on top with Florida, Duke, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Louisville making up the next six.
The Hoosiers sit 12 points back of first and with a strong showing in Omaha they could break into the lead. Indiana has to finish in the top 6 of the final USA Today coaches poll for them to at least tie Texas A&M. If Indiana can win their first two games out in Omaha then you've got to feel good about that possibility. Of course, Louisville will also be attempting the same thing as a title for them is within reach. Either way the Hoosiers are going to finish as a top 5 school this year. The only remaining schools that can score points and are within reach of IU are Louisville, North Carolina and UCLA. The latter having less than half the points that Louisville and IU posses. As long as UNC and UCLA don't win it all, IU and Louisville are the only ones threatening the top.
Truly we're living in a golden age of IU athletics and the baseball team is just the most recent one to remind us of that. They'll head off to Omaha this weekend to try and cement their legacy not only into conference and program history but into the archives of the Hall of Champions in Indianapolis by running through the field and shooting for a national championship. Stay tuned for more coverage throughout the week.