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Four Teams Earned Berths to NCAA Championships

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Four Big Ten women's gymnastics teams earned berths to the NCAA Championships, as Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State all advanced to the national meet, which will be held April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala. The Fighting Illini will make their second consecutive appearance and fourth overall. The Wolverines will make their 21st appearance in program history, while the Cornhuskers advanced for the 22nd time in school history. The Nittany Lions will be making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2009.

Illinois Release
Michigan Release
Nebraska Release
Penn State Release

Wisconsin Comes Up Short Versus Kentucky in Final Four

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NCAA TOURNAMENT FINAL FOUR
No. 8 Kentucky 74, No. 2 WISCONSIN 73


Four Badgers scored in double figures, and Wisconsin shot 52.2 percent from the field in the second half, but Kentucky's Aaron Harrison drilled a go-ahead three-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining to lead the Wildcats past the Badgers, 74-73, on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. Kentucky will take on UConn in Monday's national championship game.

The Badgers' Ben Brust and Sam Dekker both scored a team-high 15 points, and were joined in double figures by Traevon Jackson and Bronson Koenig. Kentucky's James Young scored a game-high 17 points. The Wildcats shot 50 percent for the game, but made just two three-pointers.

Wisconsin's senior class includes Brust and Zach Bohannon. The Badgers are scheduled to return starters Dekker, Jackson, Josh Gasser and Frank Kaminsky next season.


Friday's Softball Schedule

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Friday's Big Ten softball schedule includes Michigan hosting Ohio State, Michigan State entertaining Penn State and Purdue playing host to Indiana.

Friday, April 4
Penn State at Michigan State, 3 p.m.
Indiana at Purdue, 4 p.m.
Ohio State at #5/5 Michigan, 6 p.m.

Rankings are USA Softball/NFCA Coaches
All times Eastern

Minnesota Captures NIT Championship

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Thursday, April 3
NIT Championship

No. 1 MINNESOTA 65, No. 1 SMU 63 - AP Recap

Minnesota secured the Big Ten's 10th NIT Championship on Thursday, defeating SMU at Madison Square Garden, 65-63.

Senior Austin Hollins led all scorers with 19 points, and was joined in double figures by Andre Hollins (14 points) and Deandre Mathieu (13). Nic Moore scored 17 points to pace the Mustangs. Hollins made a tiebreaking three-pointer with 46.1 seconds remaining.

Under the leadership of first-year head coach Richard Pitino, Minnesota set a school record for overall wins this season. The Gophers are slated to return four starters next season, including Elliot Eliason, Andre Hollins, Joey King and Mathieu.

Minnesota also captured the NIT title in 1993. 

Craft Named Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American

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Ohio State's Aaron Craft was named a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American in the sport of collegiate men's basketball on Thursday.

Craft was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award in mid-February along with Penn State's Tim Frazier. Craft, who was named the NABC National Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, is a two-time Academic All-America of the Year. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard, and was named to the Allstate Good Works Team. For more on Craft's career, CLICK HERE.  

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Creighton's Doug McDermott was named the 2014 Senior CLASS Award winner.  

Craft Named NABC National Defensive POY

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Ohio State's Aaron Craft was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday. Craft will be presented the award at the annual Guardian of the Game Awards Show in Dallas on Sunday night.

Craft becomes the third Big Ten player, and second straight, to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Indiana's Victor Oladipo claimed the honor last year, while Ohio State's Greg Oden was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year in 2007.

Craft ended his career as both the Ohio State and Big Ten all-time leader in steals with 337. The Big Ten coaches selected Craft as the 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, an honor he also earned in 2012. As a member of the 2014 All-Big Ten Defensive team, Craft is just the second student-athlete to earn a spot on the team four times.

The NABC honor has been awarded since 1987. Craft is just the third point guard to garner the honor.


Weekend Schedule

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Friday, April 4th
ILLINOIS at Tiger Track Classic - Auburn, Ala.
INDIANA, #17 PENN STATE at Crimson Tide Invitational - Tuscaloosa, Ala.
INDIANA, IOWA, MINNESOTA, #17 PENN STATE at Stanford Invitational - Palo Alto, Calif.
IOWA, NEBRASKA at Arkansas Invite - Fayetteville, Ark.
MICHIGAN STATE at Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational - East Lansing, Mich.
MINNESOTA at South Florida Collegiate - Tampa, Fla.
PURDUE at Texas State Invite - San Marcos, Texas
WISCONSIN at Florida Relays - Jacksonville, Fla.
WISCONSIN at Rex Foster Invitational - Whitewater, Wis.

Saturday, April 5th
ILLINOIS at Tiger Track Classic - Auburn, Ala.
INDIANA, #17 PENN STATE at Crimson Tide Invitational - Tuscaloosa, Ala.
INDIANA, IOWA, MINNESOTA, #17 PENN STATE at Stanford Invitational - Palo Alto, Calif.
IOWA, NEBRASKA at Arkansas Invite - Fayetteville, Ark.
MICHIGAN, California at Virginia - Charlottesville, Va.
MICHIGAN STATE at Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational - East Lansing, Mich.
MINNESOTA at Hamline Invitational - St. Paul, Minn.
OHIO STATE at LSU Battle on the Bayou - Baton Rouge, La.
PURDUE at Texas State Invite - San Marcos, Texas
WISCONSIN at Florida Relays - Jacksonville, Fla.

Michigan State's Adreian Payne will compete in the 2014 State Farm Slam Dunk Championship at Moody Coliseum on the campus of SMU on Thursday.

The three-point and dunk contests will begin at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, and will be televised by ESPN. Payne will go head-to-head against seven other Division I competitors.

In addition, Purdue's Courtney Moses and Nebraska's Jordan Hooper will both participate in the women's three-point shootout, also to be held at Moody Coliseum.

Minnesota Plays SMU in NIT Championship Game Thursday

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Top-seeded Minnesota and SMU will collide in the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday night. The Gophers will be aiming for the Big Ten's 10th NIT Championship.

Thursday, April 3
No. 1 MINNESOTA vs. No. 1 SMU, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

All times Eastern

2013-14 Women's Swimming & Diving Season in Review

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The Big Ten women's swimming & diving season concluded at the NCAA Championships on March 22 at the University Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. Minnesota recorded 136.5 team points at the championships, leading the Big Ten with a 10th-place finish. The Golden Gophers also took home their third consecutive Big Ten Championship this season, earning 760 points at the conference meet.

NCAA Championships Central: The Big Ten was well-represented in the 2014 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. Minnesota finished in 10th place with 136.5 points, followed by Indiana in 12th place with 118 points and 13th-place Wisconsin with 78 points. Penn State finished 18th (42), followed by Purdue in 25th (33) and Michigan in 30th (23). Indiana's Brooklynn Snodgrass won the national crown in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:50.52. The Big Ten also collected individual top-eight finishes in Indiana's Snodgrass (100-yard backstroke, 500-yard freestyle), Lindsay Vrooman (1,650-yard freestyle), Michigan's Marni Oldershaw (200-yard individual medley), Minnesota's Kiera Janzen (1,650-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle), Maggie Keefer (one-meter) and Kierra Smith (200-yard breaststroke), Penn State's Alyson Ackman (200-yard freestyle), Purdue's Michelle Cabassol (three-meter) and MacKenzie Tweardy (platform) and Wisconsin's Ivy Martin (50-yard freestyle). For full coverage of the meet, click here.

NCAA Championship Qualifiers: Fifty Big Ten student-athletes from nine swimming & diving teams represented the conference at the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, held at the University Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. The list of Big Ten qualifiers can be found here.

Bringing Home the Hardware: The Big Ten announced the 2014 Big Ten Women's Swimmer and Diver of the Year awards following the NCAA Championships, as voted on by the conference coaches. Indiana's Brooklynn Snodgrass was named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, while Minnesota's Maggie Keefer was tabbed the Big Ten Diver of the Year. To read the complete release, click here.

The Gophers are Golden: Minnesota captured the 2014 Big Ten Women's Swimming & Diving Championship at the University Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The title marks the Gophers' third consecutive crown and sixth overall.  Minnesota compiled 760 total points throughout the four-day event. Indiana finished second after collecting 649 points and Penn State was third with 484 points. Ohio State finished fourth with 374 points, while Michigan recorded 361 points to finish fifth. The Gophers took home individual titles in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, three-meter diving competition, platform diving event and 800-yard freestyle relay. To read more on the Big Ten Championships, click here and here.

And the Awards Go To: Following the Big Ten Championships, Minnesota's Maggie Keefer and Purdue's Casey Matthews were named Co-Divers of the Championships, while Wisconsin's Ivy Martin was named the Swimmer of the Championships. Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer collected Swimming Coach of the Year honors for the third consecutive season, while Purdue's Adam Soldati was named Diving Coach of the Year. Indiana's Gia Dalesandro was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. For more on the awards and a complete list of All-Big Ten honorees, click here.

Academic Excellence: On March 26, the conference recognized a total of 678 winter sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team, which included 183 men's swimmers and divers. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. The list of swimmers included 112 repeat winners, including 50 three-time honorees, one four-time honoree and one five-time honoree. For more on the Academic All-Big Ten selections, click here.

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