Jan. 15, 2012
[ONE // wild week in men’s basketball]
What a week it was for Big Ten men’s basketball!!! Go ahead…pick a headline! Illinois brought Tuesday to a close with a 79-75 upset over No. 5/5 Ohio State, backed by a career-high 43 points by the Illini’s Brandon Paul. On Wednesday, No. 13/13 Michigan escaped an upset-minded Northwestern team in a 66-64 overtime thriller. The following night, Wisconsin ended its three-game long streak by ending Purdue’s 26-game home winning streak with a 67-62 victory in West Lafayette. Less than two hours to the south in Bloomington, Minnesota earned its first conference win of the season by shocking No. 7/8 Indiana 77-74 at Assembly Hall. The upsets didn’t stop there either… There was quite the shake-up on Saturday, as Iowa shocked No. 13/13 Michigan 75-59 and Northwestern handed No. 6/7 Michigan State its first loss in the league with an 81-74 upset in Evanston. The weekend closed Sunday with No. 5/5 Ohio State besting No. 7/8 Indiana 80-63 in Columbus.
[TWO // all about brittany and the buckeyes]
This past week in Big Ten women’s basketball seemed to be all about Purdue star Brittany Rayburn and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The week opened Thursday with Rayburn netting an NCAA-record 12 3-pointers to score 38 points in a 72-55 win over Minnesota. Elsewhere Thursday, Michigan State moved to 4-0 in conference play with a 67-47 win over Indiana, Ohio State moved to 3-1 in league play with an 82-72 victory over Northwestern, and Nebraska extended its win streak to nine games with a 75-69 win over Wisconsin. On Sunday, Purdue’s Rayburn followed up with more dramatics, this time on the defensive end. After netting two free throws late to total 14 points in the game, Rayburn blocked a last-second Iowa 3-pointer to ensure a 57-55 victory for the Boilermakers. In East Lansing, the 11th-ranked Buckeyes stunned Michigan State, 64-56, in front of a crowd of 14,181 at the Breslin Center. Finally, Penn State decided to put a stop to the Huskers’ win streak, handing Nebraska its first-ever Big Ten loss with a 93-73 result in Lincoln.
[THREE // not a bad first half]
Earlier this past week, the Sporting News published its Midseason All-American list, which included Indiana's Cody Zeller, Michigan State's Draymond Green and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger. The talented Buckeye was named to the first team, while Zeller was tabbed as a second-teamer and Green was given third-team accolades. In addition, Sporting News named Indiana's Tom Crean the Midseason Coach of the Year, listed Ohio State's Jared Sullinger among the candidates for Midseason Player of the Year, and tabbed the Hoosiers' Cody Zeller among those in contention for Midseason Freshman of the Year.
[FOUR // football ends with three in top 12]
The Big Ten and SEC were the only two conferences to feature at least three top 12 teams in both the final Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls released this past Tuesday. The Big Ten was also one of only three conferences to produce at least four top 25 teams in both final polls along with the SEC (five teams) and Big 12 (four). Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin each appeared among the top 10 in one of the final national rankings. The Big Ten Champion Badgers were ranked No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the coaches vote. The Spartans, the Legends Division and Outback Bowl Champions, were rated No. 11 by the media and No. 10 by the coaches. The Wolverines, winners of the Sugar Bowl, were ranked No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the USA Today rankings.
[FIVE // reviewing volleyball]
Eight Big Ten volleyball standouts were recently named as All-Americans by Volleyball Magazine. Headlining the publication's individual awards for the Big Ten was Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly, who was named the national Coach of the Year. Earning first-team All-America status were Illinois' Michelle Bartsch, Penn State's Deja McClendon and Purdue's Ariel Turner. Illinois' Colleen Ward, Nebraska's Gina Mancuso and Penn State's Ariel Scott were tabbed second-team honorees, while Minnesota's Ashley Wittman and Penn State's Katie Slay earned third-team laurels. Additionally, BigTen.org posted its official season in review for volleyball this past week, which can be found by clicking here.
[SIX // iowa and minnesota remain atop wrestling standings]
Iowa and Minnesota remain atop the Big Ten wrestling standings at 4-0, after capturing two wins each this past week. The No. 2 Hawkeyes handed No. 7 Nebraska a 24-9 loss on Friday and then responded with a 24-13 victory over No. 17 Northwestern on Sunday. The Gophers ended the week with a 40-0 shutout against Purdue after an impressive 25-9 bout over No. 6 Illinois on Friday. In other conference action, Ohio State topped Purdue 27-10 on Thursday, Penn State defeated Northwestern 38-3 on Friday and then blanked Wisconsin 43-0, while Michigan State earned a 21-20 tiebreak win over Indiana on Sunday. In non-conference action Friday, Northern Iowa beat Wisconsin 25-15 and West Virginia beat Michigan State, 23-12.
[SEVEN // men’s gymnastics compete in windy city; women battle in big ten]
The Big Ten men’s gymnastics season is underway as No. 7 Ohio State captured the Windy City Invitational this past Saturday in Chicago. The Buckeyes posted 344.500 points, followed by No. 2 Illinois (341.900) and No. 3 Michigan (338.700) in third. No. 8 Minnesota (338.100), No. 12 Illinois-Chicago (327.200) and No. 10 Iowa (316.800) rounded out the field. In other men’s action, No. 9 Nebraska placed third in the Rocky Mountain Open Saturday with a team score of 333.300. In head-to-head competition, No. 6 Penn State opened with a 349.800-321.600 win over No. 14 Army on Saturday. On the women’s side, six squads were in Big Ten battles this past week. No. 10 Michigan downed No. 18 Ohio State 195.500-195.175, No. 25 Iowa topped Michigan State 193.225-190.175, and No. 15 Illinois tallied the highest season-opening score in program history to defeat No. 22 Minnesota 194.725-192.800. In non-conference action, No. 6 Nebraska bested No. 20 Denver, 197.375-195.225, while No. 13 Penn State ousted New Hampshire, 196.125-194.250.
[EIGHT // indoor track and field season underway; illini hurdler recognized]
The Big Ten men’s and women’s indoor track and field seasons got underway this past week and one Big Ten standout was recognized nationally with a major preseason honor. Illinois' Andrew Riley received preseason recognition Wednesday for The Bowerman, an award given to collegiate track & field's top athlete of the year. The Fighting Illini senior is a two-time NCAA Champion, with victories coming in the 60- and 110-meter hurdles in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Riley is a seven-time All-American, six-time Big Ten Champion and holds four school records at Illinois.
[NINE // putting away the spikes]
As the men’s and women’s track and field seasons got underway this past week, BigTen.org closed the books on the men’s and women’s soccer seasons. On the men’s side, the season officially closed this past Saturday as Indiana’s Chris Estridge was honored as an NCAA All-American at the annual luncheon. On the women’s side, Illinois’ Janet Rayfield was honored this past Saturday at the NSCAA Convention as the NSCAA/Mondo Regional Coach of the Year for the Great Lakes region. For more on the women’s season, click here.
[TEN // pair of hoosiers picked in mls sueprdraft]
The Big Ten also extends its congratulations to Indiana senior defenders Chris Estridge and Tommy Meyer, who were selected this past week in the 2012 Major League Soccer Superdraft held in Kansas City. Meyer was taken in the first round and 19th overall by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Estridge was taken two slots later and 21st overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second round.
[ELEVEN // big ten tandem selected to usa softball squad]
Former Big Ten standouts Stacy May-Johnson of Iowa and Jordan Taylor of Michigan were selected to the 2012 USA Softball Team this past Wednesday. In total, 12 players were named to the roster, with five more roster spots to be finalized in June. May-Johnson, who currently is an assistant coach with her alma mater, was named the USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year during her first year with the squad. Taylor is also in her second season with the national team, and earned the win in Team USA's gold medal victory in the 2011 World Cup of Softball last summer.
[TWELVE // ann arbor to cooperstown]
Finally this week, congratulations to former Michigan baseball player Barry Larkin, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, becoming the fourth Wolverine to earn the honor. Larkin, who garnered 86.4 percent of votes by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in his third time on the ballot, will be inducted in a ceremony on July 22, 2012, in Cooperstown, N.Y.