This Week in the Big Ten

Pennsylvania native James Franklin was hired Saturday as the new head football coach at Penn State.

Jan. 12, 2014

[ONE // b1g bookends in men’s basketball action]
This past week, Big Ten men’s basketball ended with just as much excitement as there was when the week began.  On Tuesday, No. 5/T4 Michigan State topped No. 3/3 Ohio State 72-68 in a battle of the nation’s top-five teams.  The Buckeyes then fell victim to a hungry No. 20/T23 Iowa ballclub as the Hawkeyes bested OSU Sunday in Columbus, 84-74.  Elsewhere on Sunday, Northwestern stunned No. 23 Illinois 49-43 for its first Big Ten win of the season.  The Fighting Illini also dropped a conference contest to No. 4/T4 Wisconsin on Wednesday, 95-70, while Indiana earned its first league win of the season over Penn State, and the Spartans needed overtime to get past Minnesota, 87-75.  For a complete recap of this past week’s action, click here.

[TWO // not a bad first half for bo]
After leading Wisconsin to its best start to a season in more than 100 years, head coach Bo Ryan was named the Jim Phelan midseason national Coach of the Year, as announced by this past Tuesday.  Ryan's winning percentage of .709 (146-60) in Big Ten games entering the week was tops in conference history for any mentor that has coached for at least 10 seasons.

[THREE // upsets steal headlines in big ten women’s basketball week]
A number of conference upsets highlighted the week that was in Big Ten women’s basketball.  On Thursday, Michigan State topped No. 16/14 Nebraska 70-57, while Northwestern defeated No. 21/20 Purdue, 71-68.  The trend continued Saturday as Ohio State stunned No. 22 Indiana at home, 70-51, to give the Hoosiers their first loss of the season.  Sunday’s action boasted yet another upset win as the Boilermakers topped No. 14 Penn State 84-74 in State College.  At week’s end, Michigan State is the lone team without a blemish in the conference season, sitting atop the standings at 3-0.  Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State all trail at 2-1.

[FOUR // back to his home ‘state’]
Penn State has selected James Franklin, a Pennsylvania native who is one of the nation's most successful and dynamic coaches, as the 16th head football coach in its storied 127-year history. Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Director of Athletics Dave Joyner announced Franklin's appointment on Saturday. The enthusiastic and passionate Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success in his three years as head coach, winning nine games in each of the past two years, and finishing in the Top 25 in consecutive seasons, both for the first time in school history. Franklin succeeds Bill O'Brien, who was named head coach of the National Football League's Houston Texans earlier this month.

[FIVE // badgers handle wolverines in big ten hockey action]
This past week in Big Ten men’s hockey, No. 14/14 Wisconsin earned a pair of wins over No. 8/9 Michigan.  The Badgers scored a 5-2 decision on Friday, followed by a 3-1 result on Saturday.  Elsewhere, Ohio State and Michigan State split their two-night affair as the Buckeyes won 5-3 on Friday, but fell in a shootout following a 1-1 tie with the Spartans.  In its lone game of the week, top-ranked Minnesota was tested by Penn State but held on for the 3-2 victory. 

[SIX // several women’s gymnastics teams open 2014 season]
All eight Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams were in action this past week, highlighted by the first conference dual of the season as Illinois defeated Michigan State, 195.325-194-150.  No. 7 Michigan (196.525) cruised to a tri-meet win over Iowa State (194.600) and Illinois State (187.400) on Friday.  On Saturday, No. 10 Nebraska swept all four events and the all-around to earn a 196.625-192.525 win over Northern Illinois.  No. 14 Minnesota (194.425) topped visitors Air Force (190.625) and Lindenwood (185.625) in its first meet of the season.  No. 15 Penn State (193.975) finished second at the Kentucky Classic as the host Wildcats (195.000) also topped West Virginia (193.700) and Ball State (190.875).  No. 19 Ohio State (194.750) was runner-up to No. 12 Oregon State (195.200), but bested Bowling Green (191.950) at St. John Arena in Columbus, while Iowa fell at home to Utah State, 191.750-191.650.

[SEVEN // men’s gymnastics also underway]
The 2014 Big Ten men's gymnastics season began this past weekend, with two teams competing in their first meets on Saturday. Nebraska, which is ranked No. 10 in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll, competed in the Rocky Mountain Open, while No. 5 Penn State welcomed No. 15 Army to University Park, Pa.  The Huskers scored 423.700 to top Air Force (423.100), Arizona State (402.105) and Washington (367.300), but fell to winner Oklahoma (443.150).  The Nittany Lions earned a convincing victory against No. 15 Army, 431.900-410.300.  On Sunday, No. 5 Illinois opened its season with a 413.100-393.450 victory over Illinois-Chicago.  No. 1 Michigan, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 8 Iowa and No. 9 Minnesota will begin their seasons at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 18.  The first Big Ten dual meet of the season is set for Jan. 26, with the Buckeyes taking on the Fighting Illini.  

[EIGHT // hoosiers, spartans open big ten men’s tennis spring season]
The 2014 Big Ten men’s tennis spring schedule begins this week with No. 56 Indiana and No. 37 Michigan State taking to the court for the first time. The Hoosiers traveled to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the UCF Invitational and fell to TCU on Thursday and swept The Citadel on Sunday.  The Spartans opened their season blanking Detroit 7-0 and taking down Toledo 6-1 on Saturday at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility.  For a look at when the rest of the conference teams open the 2014 slate, click here.

[NINE // three conference duals highlight men’s swimming and diving action]
Top-ranked and defending national champion Michigan captured a 2-0 mark in Big Ten men’s swimming and diving action this past week, topping Purdue 176-124 on Friday and Northwestern 177-115 on Saturday.  Purdue responded Saturday by defeating Michigan State, 187.5-112.5.  Elsewhere in the pool, Minnesota easily handled Hawaii, 171-87, while Wisconsin fell 151-124 at USC.

[TEN // eight women’s swimming and diving squads hit the pool]
Eight Big Ten women’s swimming and diving programs took to the water this past week, including Purdue defeating Michigan State, 167-125 on Saturday.  Illinois was the lone team in action Friday, tying future conference foe Rutgers, 150-150.  No. 24 Michigan and Northwestern competed in a quad meet in Evanston on Saturday, as the Wolverines topped the Wildcats 172-128, while also besting No. 25 Notre Dame 168-132 and Rutgers, 219-81.  Northwestern beat Rutgers 198.5-101.5, but also fell to the Fighting Irish, 160-140.  Elsewhere, Ohio State easily handled Toledo, 206.5-93.5, Minnesota scored a 164-95 victory at Hawaii, and Wisconsin lost 154-103 to USC.

[ELEVEN // big ten duo named most valuable by soccer america]
Soccer America announced its 2013 Women's Soccer MVPs this past Wednesday, with Michigan's Nkem Ezurike and Nebraska's Ari Romero earning the honors. Ezurike ranked third in the Big Ten with 38 points, including a team-high 14 goals and 10 assists, and was named to the All-Big Ten first team. The Wolverines advanced to the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finished with an 18-4-1 record. Romero started all 23 games and helped the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title. She was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

[TWELVE // soccer america honors three big ten freshmen]
Finally this week, three Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the Soccer America All-Freshman teams, the organization announced Wednesday.  Nebraska's Jaycie Johnson was named to the first team after collecting 36 points during the season, including 17 goals and two assists. She was also named to the All-Big Ten second team after helping the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title.  Rose Lavelle of Wisconsin earned a first-team nod after scoring six goals and tallying seven assists. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year helped the Badgers finish the season with a 10-7-2 record.  Michigan's Madisson Lewis finished the season with six goals and nine assists, earning a spot on the All-Freshman team. Lewis helped the Wolverines reach the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finish with an 18-4-1 mark.