This Week in the Big Ten

Indiana's Eriq Zavaleta was picked 10th overall by the Seattle Sounders in the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft this past Thursday.

Jan. 20, 2013

[ONE // upsets, ranked conference battles highlight men’s basketball slate]
It was another exciting week in Big Ten men’s basketball, especially with how it all began on Tuesday in Bloomington. Wisconsin stunned No. 2/2 Indiana 64-59, but still managed to earn its 11th-straight win over the Hoosiers and fifth consecutive victory at Assembly Hall.  On Wednesday, Purdue dropped Nebraska 65-56, while Michigan State bested Penn State, 81-72.  Fifth-ranked Michigan went on the road and captured an 83-75 victory at No. 9 Minnesota on Thursday, and Northwestern shocked No. 23/22 Illinois on its home floor, 68-54.  Among the highlights on Saturday, No. 18 Michigan State beat No. 11 Ohio State 59-56 and Iowa defeated red-hot Wisconsin by a 70-66 count in Iowa City.  The week closed with Indiana getting back on track with a 67-59 win at Northwestern.

[TWO // triple overtimes, bluder’s bunch shine in women’s hoops]
Just was the case in men’s basketball, the women’s basketball schedule opened with a bang this past week as No. 12 Purdue topped Ohio State 82-75 in three overtimes.  The Buckeyes responded Thursday by earning its first conference win with a 68-45 win over Indiana, while Illinois stunned Nebraska 62-52 to earn its third straight Big Ten road win since the 2000-01 season.  Sunday’s slate was highlighted by Iowa improving to 5-0 against ranked teams this season with a 62-46 win against No. 11 Purdue.  The win gave the Hawkeyes’ Lisa Bluder the 600th victory of her career.   

[THREE // big ten trio taken in mls superdraft]
Three Big Ten men's soccer players were selected in the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft held in Indianapolis, Ind., on Thursday. Indiana's Eriq Zavaleta was picked 10th overall by the Seattle Sounders, while teammate Luis Soffner was chosen by the New England Revolution with the 36th pick. Michigan's Kofi Opare was taken 24th overall by the L.A. Galaxy.  Zavaleta and Soffner become the 40th and 41st Hoosier players selected in an MLS Draft since the league's inception in 1996.  Opare becomes the Wolverines' seventh MLS SuperDraftee, and the first since Justin Meram went No. 15 overall in 2011.

[FOUR // another trio taken in another soccer draft]
Three Big Ten women's soccer players were taken in the inaugural National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) draft on Friday in Indianapolis, Ind. Penn State's Christine Nairn was selected seventh overall by the Seattle Reign FC, while the Boston Breakers chose her teammate Maddy Evans with the 29th pick. Michigan's Haley Kopmeyer was also drafted by the Seattle Reign FC with the 31st selection.  Nairn and Evans led the Nittany Lions to their 15th consecutive Big Ten title in 2012 and a first-ever trip to the national championship match.  Kopmeyer led the Wolverines to the round of 16 in the NCAA Championship and also took home the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year award after leading the conference in shutouts (9), with six in Big Ten play.

[FIVE // ‘tis the humanitarian…]
Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo will be named the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award recipient on April 15 at the 2013 Devon Energy College Basketball Awards. The Tisdale Humanitarian Award honors an individual in college basketball who has made a significant impact on society. Among his many efforts, Izzo is actively involved in raising funds for Coaches vs. Cancer, Volunteers of America, Sparrow Hospital, and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The award's namesake, Wayman Tisdale, died in May 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer.

[SIX // a bear of an honor]
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has been selected the 2012 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year, earning his third national coaching honor. The Bear Bryant Awards are named in honor of college football coaching legend Paul "Bear" Bryant and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. O'Brien is the fifth Big Ten coach to earn the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award.

[SEVEN // another nittany lion earns another coach of the year award]
Penn State head women's soccer coach Erica Walsh has been named NCAA Division I Coach of the Year by Soccer America, it was announced on Tuesday. Walsh led the Nittany Lions to their 15th straight Big Ten regular season title and its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament final. Penn State survived a brutal non-conference schedule that included two No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 NCAA Tournament seed early in the season and overcame many obstacles along the way to finish with a 21-4-2 record.  Additionally, six Big Ten student-athletes earned individual accolades from Soccer America.  For a complete list of those award winners, click here.

[EIGHT // penn state standout nationally honored too]
Penn State's Casimir Loxsom has been named USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week, it was announced this past Monday. The Nittany Lion senior posted the first sub-1:47 800-meter effort on an oversized track since 2006, clocking a time of 1:46.98 en route to first-place honors at the Nittany Lion Challenge. His performance also places him 10th among American collegians in collegiate indoor history. Loxsom was also named Big Ten Athlete of the Week for his efforts.

[NINE // big ten’s volleyball big ten]
Ten Big Ten volleyball players were named last Tuesday as All-Americans by Volleyball Magazine, with two appearing on the first team.  Earning first-team All-America status were Penn State's Micha Hancock and Ariel Scott. Minnesota's Tori Dixon, Nebraska's Gina Mancuso and Hannah Werth and Penn State's Deja McClendon and Katie Slay were tabbed second-team honorees, while Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski, Minnesota's Katherine Harms and Purdue's Ariel Turner earned third-team laurels.

[TEN // women’s gymnastics in big ten battles; men wind up in windy city]
Four Big Ten women’s gymnastics conference matches were on the docket this past week, all of which included ranked competition.  No. 2 Michigan posted its highest score since 2008 in a 197.350-195.100 victory over Illinois on Saturday, while No. 7 Nebraska topped Michigan State 196.700-192.100, and No. 21 Ohio State defeated Iowa, 194.925-194.200.  In a four-way with Kent State and Towson, No. 12 Minnesota finished with a team total of 195.525, while Kent State took second with 195.450, Penn State was third with 194.300, and Towson was fourth with 192.175.   On the men’s side, while top-ranked Penn State claimed the Navy Open title and No. 5 Nebraska finished fourth at Stanford, five Big Ten teams competed in a field of six at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago.  Michigan (431.300) captured the title, followed by No. 2 Illinois (427.750) and Ohio State (427.750) tied for second, Minnesota (425.750) in fourth, Iowa (422.350) in fifth, and host Illinois-Chicago (401.600) in sixth.

[ELEVEN // on the mat]
Another week of Big Ten wrestling is in the books with Iowa, Minnesota and Penn State all tied at the top of the conference standings at 4-0.  While Minnesota sat idle, the top-ranked Nittany Lions scored a 36-6 victory against No. 19 Wisconsin on Friday and a 35-3 win at Purdue on Sunday, while No. 4 Iowa captured a 33-10 win at No. 18 Michigan on Friday and a 27-12 result at Michigan State on Sunday.  Elsewhere, No. 6 Ohio State bested Indiana 36-3 and dropped the Badgers 29-10, and No. 5 Illinois fell 18-15 at 14th-ranked Nebraska.  No. 21 Northwestern went 1-1 in non-conference action, defeating SIU Edwardsville 39-12 and suffering a 21-13 loss to Northern Iowa on Sunday.

[TWELVE // time to towel off]
Finally this week, the Big Ten matchups highlighted the slate in both men’s and women’s swimming.  On the men’s side, 10th-ranked Indiana posted a dual meet sweep on Saturday, topping No. 6 Ohio State, 150-148, and No. 18 Iowa, 172-126, at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington.  On the women’s side, 24th-ranked Michigan captured a 163-137 dual-meet victory over 15th-ranked Ohio State, while Illinois fell to Iowa 196-102 on Saturday afternoon.