Jan. 9, 2011
[ONE // sweet victory: buckeyes take home sugar bowl title]
Congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes, who concluded the Big Ten bowl season with a 31-26 victory over eighth-ranked Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night. The sixth-ranked Buckeyes were led by Sugar Bowl MVP Terrelle Pryor, who completed 14 of 25 passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Solomon Thomas picked a good time to record his first career interception as the lineman dropped back in coverage and pick off Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett with 58 seconds left to seal the win. OSU has now won its last two BCS bowl games after defeating Oregon in last year’s Rose Bowl. Click here to view a complete recap of the Big Ten’s 2010-11 bowl season.
[TWO // nearly 80 standouts take the field in nfl playoffs]
And with bowl season coming to an end, the postseason has just begun for the National Football League (NFL). The playoffs began on Saturday with 78 former Big Ten standouts hoping to win the Super Bowl, including at least two former student-athletes on all 12 playoff squads. The Big Ten, ACC and SEC were the only conferences to feature 70 or more former players in the NFL playoffs. Ohio State and Michigan were two of seven schools to boast 14 or more former players in the NFL playoffs. The Buckeyes ranked third among all schools with 16 former standouts while the Wolverines tied for fourth with 14 former student-athletes. Future Big Ten member Nebraska is one of only 13 schools with 10 or more players taking part in the postseason. At least two players from each Big Ten school are taking part in the playoffs. A complete breakdown of all 78 conference standouts can be found by clicking here.
[THREE // it’s sunday night, time for hoops]
The Big Ten Network's full Sunday night lineup debuted Sunday evening, with brand new episodes of The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2011, Big Ten Basketball and Beyond and Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, immediately after the network's weekly Sunday basketball telecast. The Big Ten Network's first original series and its highest rated last year, The Journey franchise returned for a fourth consecutive season at 9 p.m. ET, following the Indiana at Northwestern men's basketball telecast. Lead studio host Dave Revsine then hosted Big Ten Basketball and Beyond along with two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and former Buckeye All-American Jim Jackson and The Sporting News' national columnist Mike DeCourcy. Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover and hosted by Hall of Fame sportscaster Keith Jackson, continued its countdown to number one with a profile of former Purdue shooting star and All-American Rick Mount. Beginning Jan. 16, the three shows settle into their regular time periods, with the Journey at 8 p.m. ET, Beyond at 8:30 and Big Ten Icons at 9 p.m. ET.
[FOUR // national honors for the illini]
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association selected Illinois guard Demetri McCamey as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week on Tuesday for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 2. As the Big Ten co-Player of the Week, McCamey was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. McCamey led the Illini to wins over Iowa and Wisconsin by averaging 20.5 points and 8.5 assists. In the two games, he shot 61 percent from the field and 75 percent from three-point range.
[FIVE // six selected to wooden award midseason list]
The Big Ten is tied for the lead among all conferences with six players named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 30, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced on Thursday. Purdue is one of just two schools with multiple players on the list, while Ohio State's Jared Sullinger is one of two freshmen to make the cut. Congratulations to Illinois’ Demetri McCamey, Northwestern’s John Shurna, Ohio State’s Sullinger, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, as well as Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer on their honors. Click here to view the complete list of the 30 midseason honorees.
[SIX // penn state becomes first big ten team to open men’s gymnastics season]
The 2011 Big Ten men's gymnastics season began this weekend, as Penn State earned a 343.300-319.100 victory over No. 15 Army on Saturday night at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions won all six events as a team and, along with the all-around, captured five of six individual titles. The conference's five other teams open competition on Jan. 15. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State will all travel to Chicago next weekend to compete for the first time in 2011 at the Windy City Invitational. All five teams will begin dual-meet competition on Jan. 22. The Big Ten Championships, hosted by Illinois, are set to take place on April 1-2. The season previews for all six Big Ten men's gymnastics teams can be found by clicking here.
[SEVEN // all seven women’s gymnastics teams open season]
The 2011 season began for all seven Big Ten women's gymnastics teams this past weekend, with Michigan earning early wins over Iowa and Michigan State. In East Lansing on Friday, the Wolverines took home top honors with their top team score of 195.700. In second was Iowa with 193.825, while Western Michigan was third with 192.050 and Michigan State was fourth with a score of 191.850. In its 2011 season opener, Penn State hit 22 of 24 routines for a team score of 192.750, but fell to host Alabama with a score of 195.350. On Saturday, Ohio State opened 2011 with a 194.475-193.925 win over No. 23 Minnesota, while No. 17 Illinois took second in Lexington, Ky., with a score of 193.650, just behind host No. 24 Kentucky (194.350) and ahead of Northern Illinois (189.075). The 2011 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships will be held on March 19 at Minnesota. The season previews for all seven Big Ten women's gymnastics teams can be found by clicking here.
[EIGHT // track teams earn national rankings as seasons begin]
With six women’s indoor track and field teams opening their respective seasons this past week, two did so ranked nationally. Ohio State and Penn State were recognized as top 25 teams by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association of America (USTFCCCA) in its 2011 women's preseason poll, released Thursday. Defending Big Ten Indoor Champion Penn State opened at the No. 20 position while Ohio State checked in at No. 25. On the men’s side, Indiana, Minnesota and Penn State were tabbed as top 25 teams, with the Nittany Lions ranked No. 8, followed by No. 10 Indiana and defending Big Ten Indoor Champion Minnesota at No. 16.
[NINE // buckeyes top nine conference teams in national men’s tennis rankings]
Big Ten men's tennis was well-represented in the first Campbell/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Men's National Team Rankings of 2011, with nine conference teams appearing in the top 75 poll. Defending Big Ten Champion Ohio State debuted at No. 4 to lead all conference squads. Illinois checked in at No. 16 to open the spring season, followed by Michigan at No. 25. Wisconsin is No. 29, while No. 33 Minnesota and No. 46 Indiana earned spots in the top 50. Northwestern enters 2011 ranked No. 59, followed by No. 63 Iowa and No. 69 Penn State. The ITA also announced the singles and doubles rankings, with 11 Big Ten student-athletes appearing in the singles top 125 and seven doubles pairs earning top-60 status. Ohio State's Blaz Rola leads the way in the singles rankings, checking in at No. 7, while Rola and teammate Chase Buchanan earn the top ranking of any Big Ten doubles pair at No. 6.
[TEN // michigan, northwestern earn top-10 rankings in women’s tennis]
Nine Big Ten women's tennis teams earned top-75 status in the first Campbell/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women's National Team Rankings of 2011. Michigan leads the way at No. 8, followed by No. 9 Northwestern. The Wolverines earned their second Big Ten Championship in 2010, while the Wildcats took home the conference tournament title. Illinois checks in at No. 25 in the poll, followed by No. 30 Iowa, No. 33 Ohio State, No. 45 Indiana and No. 50 Purdue. Minnesota enters the spring season ranked No. 72, while Wisconsin also appears at No. 74. Thirteen Big Ten athletes rank in the singles top 125, led by reigning Big Ten Athlete of the Year and Michigan senior Denise Muresan, who debuts at No. 11. Sixteen conference doubles pairs have also earned rankings, with Michigan's Mimi Nguyen and Brooke Bolender leading the way at No. 12.
[ELEVEN // wonderful wrestling]
Finally this week, we tip our caps to several wrestling squads that represented the conference well in various national meets. No. 2 Penn State defeated No. 15 Michigan, 24-12, Saturday for the Virginia Duals title, earning its first Virginia Duals crown since 1991. At the 2011 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, No. 4 Wisconsin earned third place by defeating No. 5 Minnesota, 19-17, on Sunday. Ohio State and Purdue also took to the mat at the National Duals. Michigan State went undefeated at the Spartan Duals, Northwestern swept three teams over the weekend, including No. 20 Pittsburgh, Indiana outscored its three opponents 130-9, and eight of the 15 Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling at the William Penn Open in Oskaloosa, Iowa, earned individual titles.