Jan. 4, 2009
[ONE // big ten’s hawkeyes oust sec’s gamecocks in outback bowl]
The Iowa football squad brought in the New Year right as the Hawkeyes ousted South Carolina 31-10 in the Outback Bowl – the first postseason game of the 2009 calendar year. Shonn Greene, the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player, recorded his 13th consecutive 100-yard rushing game with 121 yards and three TDs on New Year’s Day. The Doak Walker Award winner finished with Iowa single-season records of 1,850 yards and 20 TDs. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw for 148 yards on 13-of-19 passing in the Hawkeyes’ win. Iowa concluded its season 9-4 and 6-1 after starting the year 3-3.
[TWO // big ten contests four other bowls]
In other Big Ten bowl action this past week, conference champion Penn State fell 38-24 to USC in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, while 16th-ranked Georgia held off No. 19 Michigan State 24-12 in the Capital One Bowl. Northwestern battled Missouri to an overtime session before falling 27-24 in the Valero Alamo Bowl and Minnesota dropped a 42-21 contest to Kansas in the Insight Bowl.
[THREE // former wolverine inducted into rose bowl hall of fame]
Congratulations to former Michigan football standout Chuck Ortmann for being inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Wednesday. Ortmann, a starter on Michigan's 1950 team that defeated No. 5 California in the 1951 Rose Bowl game, was enshrined along with Southern California representatives Virgil "Virg" Lubberden and Keyshawn Johnson. Ortmann was a member of three straight Big Ten championship teams and a key contributor on the Wolverines' 1948 national championship team. He is the seventh Wolverine inductee into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
[FOUR // two big ten bowls among espn’s most watched]
Two of the Big Ten’s most recent bowl games have made ESPN’s Top 10 list of the network’s most-watched postseason contests. Wisconsin’s Champs Sports Bowl game earned a 6.0 rating that translates into 5,521,220 households, which was the second-most viewed bowl game in ESPN history. Northwestern’s Valero Alamo Bowl contest ranked 10th with a rating of 4.6 and a household total of 4,479,466. Iowa’s 2006 Alamo Bowl outing against Texas ranks first in network history, while Michigan’s 2005 appearance in the Alamo Bowl is fourth.
[FIVE // spartans and badgers finish first big ten weekend 2-0]
Big Ten men’s basketball tipped off the 104th season of conference play with all 11 teams in action this past week. In the league opener on Tuesday, Illinois shocked regular-season runner-up Purdue in West Lafayette 71-67 in overtime. No. 23 Michigan fell 73-61 to Wisconsin in its opener, but rebounded to deny the Illini an eighth-straight win with a 74-64 victory in Ann Arbor. In other Big Ten openers, Penn State won its third-consecutive opener with a 61-57 victory over Northwestern, while No. 24 Ohio State got past Iowa 68-65. Minnesota fell 70-58 to Michigan State at Williams Arena and Indiana dropped its opener on the road at Iowa on Saturday by a score of 65-60. Both Michigan State and Wisconsin ended the league’s first weekend with a perfect 2-0 mark.
[SIX // hoosiers and buckeyes remain perfect in big ten play]
Indiana and 17th-ranked Ohio State remained undefeated in Big Ten women’s basketball conference action as both squads captured wins on Sunday to move to 3-0 in the league. OSU’s Jantel Lavender scored 20 points to hit double figures for the 45th game in a row in the Buckeyes’ 67-49 win over Michigan State. Also on Sunday, Indiana senior All-America candidate Whitney Thomas recorded her 1,000th career point to help the Hoosiers to a 76-54 win over Iowa. The victory was the ninth straight for Indiana, which is the longest win streak since the 1998-99 team won nine in a row.
[SEVEN // illini pack the hall; fall to gophers on cbs]
Big Ten women’s basketball was center stage on the “big stage” this past Saturday as Illinois welcomed Minnesota and a national audience on CBS. In a game that was billed “Pack the Hall,” the Fighting Illini battled the Golden Gophers in front of a season-high crowd of 7,052 fans at Assembly Hall before falling 52-48. The crowd was the largest to watch women's basketball at Assembly Hall since 8,967 fans witnessed Illinois defeat Michigan on Jan. 27, 2002. Minnesota freshman guard Kiara Buford scored 14 points off the bench, while Illinois freshman Macie Blinn also shined off the bench with a team and career-high 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
[EIGHT // former buckeye smith honored by usa basketball]
More honors came Katie Smith’s way this past week as the former Ohio State women’s basketball standout was named Monday as the 2008 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and co-captain of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team that captured the USA's fourth consecutive gold medal will also be nominated by USA Basketball for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Committee SportsWoman of the Year. First donning a USA Basketball uniform in 1993 following her freshman season and a NCAA Final Four appearance with the Buckeyes, Smith has earned 12 gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal over the past 15 summers. Smith returned from the Olympics and capped her memorable year by earning the 2008 WNBA Finals MVP award after helping lead the Detroit Shock to the league title. Smith, who averaged 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists a game throughout the playoffs, upped her averages to 21.7 points and 3.3 assists during the Shock’s sweep of San Antonio in the Finals. She currently stands as the all-time leading scorer in USA women’s professional basketball history with 6,510 points.
[NINE // defending ncaa champion iowa takes midlands title]
Northwestern hosted the prestigious 46th annual Midlands wrestling championship this past week and defending national champion Iowa took home the team title. Behind three individual champions -- juniors Daniel Dennis (133 pounds), Brent Metcalf (149) and Ryan Morningstar (165) – the Hawkeyes scored 156.5 points over the two-day event to beat out runner-up Iowa State by three points. Wisconsin (98.5) and Northwestern (88.5) were fourth and fifth, while Purdue (82.5) and Illinois (54.0) rounded out the top 10 in seventh and 10th, respectively. Northwestern’s Brandon Precin (125) and Jake Herbert (184), as well as Wisconsin’s Zach Tanelli (141) and Dallas Herbst (197) also claimed individual titles at the Midlands. Herbert was a unanimous selection for the Dan Gable Outstanding Wrestler Award following his third Midlands championship, while eight-seeded Tanelli received the Art Kraft Champion of Champions award—voted on by his peers—after his upset win against Iowa’s second-seeded Alex Tsirtsis in the finals. Iowa’s Metcalf received the tournament's Highest Point Total Award for scoring 27 team points during the competition, which was the most of any competitor.
[TEN // four big ten standouts honored by ping baseball]
Four Big Ten baseball players were named this past week to the Ping Baseball Preseason All-America teams. Indiana's Josh Phegley was named a first-team catcher, Michigan pitcher Chris Fetter was recognized on the second team, and Iowa shortstop Justin Toole was tabbed to the third team. In addition, Purdue's Dan Black was an honorable mention third baseman/catcher.
[ELEVEN // pair of ncaa champs named honda award finalists]
Finally this week, a pair of volleyball standouts from the nation’s top team has been nominated for one of the nation’s top awards. Penn State senior women's volleyball players Nicole Fawcett and Christa Harmotto have been selected as two of four women's volleyball nominees for the 2008-2009 Honda Sports Award to determine the top collegiate athlete in the sport. Fawcett and Harmotto join Stanford's Foluke Akinradewo and Texas' Destinee Hooker as the finalists. Fawcett, the 2008 AVCA National and Big Ten Player of the Year, helped the Nittany Lions to an undefeated record (38-0) and their second straight NCAA title, while Harmotto led the team and the nation with a .486 hitting percentage. She was named a 2008 AVCA First Team All-American and a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten pick for her efforts. The winner after nationwide balloting will become a nominee for the Honda-Broderick Cup, awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.