This Week in the Big Ten

A third tiebreak was needed to determine the outcome Saturday, but in the end, No. 4 Iowa topped No. 3 Minnesota, 16-15, in front of 8,254 people.

Jan. 27, 2013

[ONE // former big ten standouts set to battle on world’s biggest stage]
The Big Ten will be well-represented on Sunday, Feb. 3, in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Nineteen former student-athletes and 11 coaches with conference connections appear on the rosters of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. The Big Ten has also produced two of the last four Super Bowl Most Valuable Players in former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees (Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans) and Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes (Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh).  Every Big Ten school will be represented among the players and coaches in the Super Bowl. Ohio State is tied for third among all schools with four players, followed by Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State with two each. Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin will each have one former player competing for the title. San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh played at Michigan, while Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh was an assistant coach at Indiana.

[TWO // hoosiers, wolverines survive; badgers provide the scares]
It was a busy week in Big Ten men’s basketball, and No. 2/3 Michigan and No. 7/8 Indiana survived unscathed with two conference wins on the week.  The week began in thrilling fashion as Wisconsin looked to upset another ranked conference opponent, but 13th-ranked Michigan State held off 49-47 over the Badgers on Tuesday.  Indiana earned its first win of the week with a 72-49 result at Penn State, but it was Northwestern garnering all the attention as the Wildcats upset No. 12/14 Minnesota, 55-48.  Michigan held off Purdue 68-53 on Thursday, while Wisconsin ended up getting that upset Saturday with a 45-44 defeat over the Golden Gophers.  In a top-15 battle Sunday, the Hoosiers held off Michigan State 75-70 in Bloomington, while the Wolverines dropped Illinois, 74-60.  At week’s end, IU and Michigan sit tied atop the league standings at 6-1, followed by Michigan State in third at 6-2 and Ohio State and Wisconsin in four at 5-2 apiece.     

[THREE // penn state continuing to provide pace]
The Penn State women’s basketball team is off to a 7-0 start in conference play, holding a one-game advantage in the league standings over 6-1 Purdue at week’s end.  The No. 8/8 Lady Lions opened the week Thursday with a 64-59 victory over Minnesota, highlighted by senior Nikki Greene becoming the 35th player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau with nine tallies.  In other action, Nebraska stunned No. 25 Michigan State 59-54, as Jordan Hooper netted 25 points for the Huskers.  On Sunday, Penn State defeated Ohio State 71-56 for its school-record 14th consecutive Big Ten regular-season win, surpassing the previous mark of 13 set over the 1992-93 and 1993-94 campaigns.  Iowa bested No. 23 Michigan 63-57, while No. 15 Purdue avoided a top-25 upset against Michigan State with a 67-62 overtime win, marking the Boilermakers fourth OT contest in Big Ten action this year, all of which have been victories.

[FOUR // three tabbed to wooden midseason list]
Three Big Ten women's basketball standouts were named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 list by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, it was announced on Tuesday. Ohio State's Tayler Hill and Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were selected to the prestigious list, which is comprised of players who based on their performances in November, December and January, are the frontrunners for selection to the ballot of college basketball's top award. Penn State is one of six schools to have multiple players named to the list.

[FIVE // soccer supplements]
Three Big Ten men's soccer players were selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft, held Tuesday. Ohio State's Chris Hegngi was chosen with the 22nd pick by the Portland Timbers, Penn State's John Gallagher was picked by the Chicago Fire with the 30th selection and Indiana's Caleb Konstanski was drafted No. 68, also by the Fire.

[SIX // from buckeyes to barclays]
Former Ohio State men's soccer standout Roger Espinoza made his Barclays Premier League debut with the Wigan Athletic last week and the midfielder was impressive in his first game against Sunderland.  The former Buckeye made headlines this past summer as an Olympian on Honduras' national team.  During his time at Ohio State he led the Buckeyes to the 2007 Big Ten Tournament Championship and the NCAA title game as a first-team All-Big Ten selection.

[SEVEN // penn state’s walsh honored again]
Penn State head women's soccer coach Erica Walsh has been named National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), it was announced recently. The award is the second national honor for the coach, as she was named Soccer America National Coach of the Year three days prior. Walsh led the Nittany Lions to a record 15th consecutive Big Ten title, their second-straight 20-win season and the College Cup title game for the first time in program history.

[EIGHT // the main event]
Top-ranked Penn State might sit tied atop the Big Ten wrestling standings at a perfect 5-0, but this past week’s headlines belonged to co-conference leader Iowa, which captured a thrilling tiebreak at No. 3 Minnesota on Saturday.  The third-ranked Hawkeyes outscored Minnesota, 41-33, in match points to defeat the Gophers, 16-15, at Williams Arena before an impressive crowd of 8,254.  Iowa and Minnesota were tied 15-15 after splitting 10 bouts, but the Hawkeyes earned the deciding team point based on the advantage in match points -- the third tiebreak criteria.  Minnesota fell to third place in the league at 5-1, followed by Wisconsin (4-2), and Ohio State (3-2) in the top five.

[NINE // michigan men’s gymnastics impressive against stanford]
In men’s gymnastics action this past week, No. 3 Michigan grabbed the country’s attention with a record-breaking performance against No. 2 Stanford Saturday.  An NCAA record-setting parallel bar performance from senior Syque Caesar paced the Wolverines to a 439.75-429.35 victory, which saw U-M claim victory in five individual events and the all-around, and set a season high on every apparatus.  Caesar's 15.90 on p-bars eclipsed the previous record of 15.85 set on April 5, 2008, by Tim McNeill of California.  Elsewhere, three ranked Big Ten squads battled at the Metroplex Challenge in Dallas, Texas on Friday.  No. 5 Ohio State (429.400) placed second behind No. 4 Oklahoma (441.500), while No. 6 Illinois (428.300) and No. 8 Iowa (422.750) took third and fourth, respectively.

[TEN // minnesota stuns michigan in women’s gymnastics]
Speaking of gymnastics thrillers, while the Michigan men upended Stanford, it was the Wolverine women who were surprised on Saturday.  The 12th-ranked Golden Gophers scored a team total of 196.800 to defeat top-ranked Michigan (196.775), No. 20 Central Michigan (194.650), and Iowa State (193.950) at the Sports Pavilion.  The win against Michigan was Minnesota's first against a No. 1-ranked team, and it was the second straight against the Wolverines. Minnesota also finished one spot ahead of Michigan with a third-place finish at last year's Big Ten Championships.  Minnesota's team total of 196.800 points was the fourth-highest in team history, and it marked the most points scored by the Gophers since posting a school-record total of 197.700 at Arizona State on March 12, 2004.

[ELEVEN // tennis time at ita indoors]
Congratulations to the Ohio State men’s tennis team as well as the women’s squads from Michigan, Nebraska, and Northwestern on advancing to the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championship, held Feb. 8-11 at the Boar's Head Tennis Club in Charlottesville, Va.  Competing in one of 15 four-team pods over the weekend, each of the four advancing conference teams earned two wins to advance to the team championship event.  On the women’s side, Michigan blanked Brown 7-0 as well as South Carolina, 4-0.  Northwestern topped Arkansas 5-2 and then ousted conference rival Purdue 4-2.  Nebraska bested Notre Dame 4-1 after opening with a 4-3 result over Tennessee.  On the men’s side, the Buckeyes shut out East Tennessee State and Miami by identical 7-0 scores.

[TWELVE // prepping for the preseason]
Finally this week, Michigan and Northwestern are receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Top 25, which was released on Tuesday afternoon. Both the Wolverines and Wildcats advanced to the postseason a year ago, with Michigan advancing to the Super Regional round. Michigan opens the year at No. 15 in the rankings, while Northwestern is among other squads also receiving votes. First pitch of the 2013 softball season is scheduled for Feb. 8.