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The B1G Boys Roundup, mid-April edition

A close look at the Big Ten after two games of conference play.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The first two weeks of B1G play could not have been wilder. Here are all conference results so far:

Maryland 8, Michigan 7

Rutgers 16, Hopkins 9

Penn State 6, Ohio State 5

Rutgers 16, Michigan 6

Hopkins 13, Ohio State 12

Maryland 11, Penn State 10 (OT)

For you math wizards out there, that means four of the six conference games so far have been decided by just a goal. The story of the 2016 lacrosse season is parity, and the B1G—at least, through two weeks—has been no different. There really isn't much separating these six teams.

As thing stands now, the B1G looks like a lock for at least two NCAA playoff teams, and very well may have a third. Four isn't out of the question (though unlikely). Maryland is in really good shape for an at-large spot if they don't win the conference tournament. Johns Hopkins and Penn State are both bubble-in right now if you consult most bracketologists. Rutgers still has some work to do but they put themselves at least in the conversation with the program-defining win over Hopkins last weekend.

Here's a look at the B1G conference through April 10. A lot has changed since we last checked in three weeks ago.

The B1G Dogs

1. Maryland (8-2 overall, 2-0 B1G)

  • Good wins: Albany, North Carolina, Penn State
  • Bad losses: None

Maryland is a complete team right now. Complete teams scare me. They've mostly figured out things on the offensive end, which was really the only thing holding them back. This team is deep and has a few hybrid guys who look like they're comfortable at both attack and midfield. The Terps were arguably outplayed by Michigan on a snowy afternoon last weekend in Ann Arbor, but they gutted out a win after some late-game heroics by Johns Hopkins archnemesis and stick-butt-user Kyle Bernlohr.

Maryland gutted out another win Sunday night against Penn State. After trailing 8-4, the Terps came back to win in overtime 11-10, completely controlling the pace of the game in the second half. And, I must say, the all-black uniforms were absolute fire. Winning close games is the hallmark of a good team. Maryland is in control of the B1G as they head back home for a bout with Rutgers this weekend.

2. Rutgers (9-2 overall, 2-0 B1G)

  • Good wins: Army, Johns Hopkins
  • Bad losses: Princeton

Well, well, well. Welcome to the big leagues, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights picked apart a swiss cheese Hopkins defense last Saturday in New Brunswick, beating the Jays by 7 for the best win in program history. I was at this game. It was never really close. Rutgers top three attackmen—Bieda, Heningburg, and Charalambides—are lethal. All three are dual threats. Chary (I'm going to call him that from now on) is one of the best freshmen in the country. Three weeks ago I asked if Rutgers was for real. The verdict is in. Rutgers is indeed a thing that's happening.

Rutgers still has three tough conference matchups to go against Maryland, Penn State, and Ohio State. But right now they're in an excellent position to not only make the conference tournament, but be the #1 or #2 seed. I think their RPI is a little too low right now for playoffs at-large consideration but if they can pick up some more wins in conference play, they could find themselves on the bubble.

3. Penn State (7-4 overall, 1-1 B1G)

  • Good wins: Denver
  • Bad losses: UMass
Penn State was a complete mystery to me three weeks ago and I still don't know exactly what to make of them. The Nittany Lions spanked the reigning champs in Denver last weekend in perhaps the biggest win in program history. I figured Denver would slip up eventually but not like that and not to Penn State. But Tambroni and the boys are fighters, and this team has a lot of grit.

This team is deep offensively but also very young. I think both of those things were evident in the overtime loss Sunday night to Maryland. They had contributions from a lot of different people, and scoring double digits against the Terps defense is nothing to sneeze at. TJ Sanders will be a big loss next year, but they bring back a whole lot of talent in Ament, Florence, Aponte, Sutton, Keenan, etc. They're going to be good for awhile. If the season ended today, I think Penn State gets an at-large big, but it's close. They can cement their postseason hopes with a few more conference wins, but they could also squander them. A huge game against Hopkins awaits next weekend.

4. Johns Hopkins (6-4 overall, 1-1 B1G)

  • Good wins: Navy, Towson, Syracuse
  • Bad losses: Virginia? Rutgers? (What counts as a bad loss these days?)

It's been a rollercoaster month for the baby Jays. They lost head coach Dave Pietramala for four games after he came down with an infection in his spinal cord that resulted in a three-week hospital stay and several surgeries. The big guy was back on the sidelines against Ohio State this weekend, but noticeably thinner and hobbling around on a scooter. Assistants Bill Dwan and Bobby Benson did an admiral job keeping the machine running in Petro's absence, going 2-2, but there's no replacing the boss, so it was nice to see him back on the field where he belongs.

The Jays' up and down year continued last weekend when they were throttled by a hungrier, better prepared Rutgers team. Not to take any credit away from Rutgers—they fully deserved that win—but having to go on the road to Jersey, without their head coach, the third away game in six days, is a tall task for any team. Hopkins looked sluggish and were beat by a team with an overall better gameplan.

Hopkins looked much better Saturday, beating Ohio State by a goal for a much-needed conference win. The Blue Jays' SOS and big out of conference wins puts them firmly in the at-large discussion, but it's far from a lock.

The "Only 4 Months Till Football Season Tier"

5. Ohio State (5-7 overall, 0-2 B1G)

  • Good wins: Marquette
  • Bad losses: UMass, Hofstra

It's been a rough year for the Buckeyes. They've lost six in a row, four of which by a single goal. The defense has been solid all year but, simply put, they've struggled to find enough offense to win these close games. They aren't going to get an at-large bid this year, so their only hope to return to the postseason rests on winning the conference tournament. To do that, they'll need to get into the conference tournament. That's usually how these things work. Sitting at 0-2 with Maryland and Rutgers left to play, things don't look spectacular for OSU. They'll need to win at least two of their next three, starting with Michigan next week, to have a chance at extending their season.

5. Michigan (3-7 overall, 0-2 B1G)

  • Good wins: Marquette
  • Bad losses: Dartmouth, Marist