Women’s Big Ten Picks Revisited: Nebraska Exceeds Expectations


  • When: Tuesday, February 23rd to Saturday, February 27th, 2021
  • Where: Minneapolis, MN (Central Time Zone) / Diving @ Purdue University
  • Champion: Ohio State (2x)
  • Results

In the lead-up to NCAA conference meet season, we previewed all ten major conference meets and took a stab at predicting a team order. Now, we’re looking back at those picks to see how the final team standings shook out. Where were we wrong? Where were we right? Which teams over-performed and under-performed compared to expectations?

Big Ten Women

SwimSwam Fan Guide Picks

  1. Ohio State
  2. Michigan
  3. Northwestern
  4. Indiana
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Minnesota
  7. Purdue
  8. Penn State
  9. Iowa
  10. Nebraska
  11. Illinois
  12. Michigan State
  13. Rutgers

Actual Finish Order (With Change from our picks noted in parentheses)

  1. Ohio State (-)
  2. Michigan (-)
  3. Indiana (+1)
  4. Northwestern (-1)
  5. Wisconsin (-)
  6. Minnesota (-)
  7. Nebraska (+3)
  8. Iowa (+1)
  9. Purdue (-2)
  10. Penn State (-2)
  11. Michigan State (+1)
  12. Illinois (-1)
  13. Rutgers (-)

The Big Ten had a much shorter regular season than most other major conferences, owing to a coronavirus-delayed start date. With that in mind, we picked against the Swimulator projections in a lot of places – and relying on previous seasons’ worth of data proved pretty effective.

Ohio State was ranked just fourth in Swimulator projections with only barely more than half as many points as leaders Northwestern (1118 to 607). But the defending conference champs had a strong track record of showing up at Big Tens, plus a great diving group, and we never wavered on their chances to repeat.

We projected Northwestern, Wisconsin and Indiana in the second tier, and that held up. Indiana outperformed our prediction and leapfrogged Northwestern, but only by about 74.5 points. In a meet where the top teams scored 1000 points or more, that’s a pretty narrow margin.

Nebraska and Iowa were the big outliers, jumping up a full tier from where we expected them to be. Nebraska jumped three spots from our picks and were within 13 points of jumping yet another spot past Minnesota.  Iowa’s one-spot jump came by just 10 points over Purdue.

The Michigan State vs Illinois battle came down to about 40 points, with the Spartans jumping up a spot from where we picked them on a solid showing.

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1 year ago

Total respect for both Nebraska and Iowa.

Old Swimmer
1 year ago

I hope that Minnesota can climb back up the ladder again. It’s sad to see them way down in 6th place especially after they won four Big Tens in a row. I did notice that no one competed in diving for MN on the last day. On another note, I was happy to see that Iowa did quite well and am hoping that they will be able to rebuild their team.

IU Swammer
1 year ago

It’s gonna be tough for Iowa to rebuild after all the transfers. Yet, they managed to stay well above the bottom. Maybe they’ll just stay in the 6-10 range forever.

Edit: I would love to see Nebraska continue to climb and move into the top tier.

Last edited 1 year ago by IU Swammer

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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