This Week in the Big Ten

Illinois' Pepper Gay started the softball season off right this past weekend, setting the school's strikeout record and throwing a no-hitter.

Feb. 10, 2013

[ONE // hawkeyes heralded as big ten regular season champs]
Congratulations to the Iowa wrestling squad, which clinched the Big Ten regular-season dual-meet title on Sunday with a perfect 8-0 conference record.  The second-ranked Hawkeyes earned a 31-7 victory over 13th-ranked Nebraska en route to the dual-meet title, improving to 18-1 overall on the season.  Again the Huskers, Iowa won eight of 10 matches and scored bonus points in three bouts before an announced crowd of 9,514 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  The Hawkeyes finished 8-0 in Big Ten duals for the fifth time in the last six years.

[TWO // illini strikes a match on the links]
Illinois won its first Big Ten Match Play Championship on Saturday at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., earning a 5-0-0 triumph over seventh-seeded Michigan State in the finals to earn the crown. The top-seeded Illini posted a 14-0-1 record during the two-day event, earning an impressive 14.5 out of the total 15 points.  After a first-round bye, Illinois picked up a 4-0-1 win over No. 9 Michigan in the quarterfinals, followed by a 5-0-0 victory against No. 5 Ohio State to advance to the finals.  All 12 Big Ten men's golf teams participated in the fifth-annual two-day event.

[THREE // no shortage of hoops headlines]
This past week in Big Ten men’s basketball was certainly eventful, with conference games producing impressive headlines each night out.  The week opened on Tuesday with No. 3/3 Michigan defeating rival No. 10/10 Ohio State 76-74, while No. 12 Michigan State got the best of No. 18 Minnesota 61-50 on Wednesday.  Also on Wednesday, Wisconsin defeated Iowa 74-70 in double-overtime in what would be quite the foreshadowing event.  On Thursday, Illinois defended its home court and stunned top-ranked Indiana 74-72.  The Badgers then rallied Saturday for another showstopper, this time hitting a half-court shot to send third-ranked Michigan into overtime where UW wound up on top, 65-62.  On Sunday, the No. 1 Hoosiers rebounded from Thursday’s loss to stop No. 10 Ohio State in Columbus, 81-68.  At week’s end, Indiana and Michigan State sit atop the league standings at 9-2, followed by Michigan and Wisconsin in third place at 8-3 each.  Ohio State is fifth in the conference at 7-4, while Minnesota and Purdue are tied for sixth at 5-6 in B1G action.

[FOUR // three-pack and a cousy]
Three Big Ten players were selected Thursday as finalists for the 2013 Bob Cousy Award, more than any other conference. The honor is awarded annually to the nation's top point guard, and will be presented at the Hall of Fame Class Announcement on April 8. Michigan's Trey Burke, Michigan State's Keith Appling and Ohio State's Aaron Craft were all named to the list, which will be narrowed to five on March 11. Illinois' Dee Brown was the first Big Ten standout to win the award in 2006.

[FIVE // lady lions roar to commanding lead in women’s title race]
With another three conference wins this past week, the Penn State Lady Lions have roared out to a commanding lead in the Big Ten women’s basketball race.  The eighth-ranked Lions are 10-1 in conference play following wins over No. 11 Purdue (69-61) on Monday, Indiana (76-54) on Thursday, and Michigan State (71-56) on Sunday.  The victory over the Spartans gave Penn State its third-straight 20-win season and 18th-straight home win.  The Boilermakers sit tied for second in the Big Ten with Nebraska at 7-3, while Illinois and Michigan are 7-4 in conference play.

[SIX // single-session tickets on sale]
Beginning Monday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. CT, both all-session and single-session tickets for the 2013 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be on sale to the general public. Tickets can be purchased at the Kia Box Office at the Sears Centre Arena, by phone at (888) SEARS-TIX (732-7784) or online at  All individual session tickets are $15, while all-session tickets are available for $80. Other than the fan blocks for that university’s respective games, the women’s tournament will feature general admission seating, allowing fans to witness the action from the best available seats in Sears Centre Arena.  The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held in the Chicagoland area for the first time from March 7-10 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The tournament week features all 12 Big Ten teams competing in 11 games over four days for the 2013 tournament crown and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

[SEVEN // a classy pair]
Two women's basketball players were named finalists for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award, it was announced on Wednesday. Iowa's Jaime Printy and Purdue's Drey Mingo were two of 10 finalists from around the country named to the list. The Big Ten was one of three conferences with multiple honorees. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The winner will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in New Orleans, April 7 and 9.  For the complete list of finalists, click here.

[EIGHT // a day for girls and women everywhere]
Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten was proud to be an active participant in the 27th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country this past Wednesday, Feb. 6.  On Wednesday, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students and parents across the country showed their support of the day and of this year's theme, "Girls in Sports, An Investment in the Future.” Several Big Ten institutions have taken or will take part in various festivities surrounding NGWSD at home women’s basketball contests or around campus, with a complete list found here.

[NINE // sign right here]
Wednesday wasn’t just a special day for women in athletics, as it was also National Signing Day for Big Ten football programs.  All 12 conference squads produced a number of new signees into the Big Ten family. kept track of each school’s signing class throughout the day and can be found by clicking here.

[TEN // take me out to the ballgame]
The 2013 Big Ten softball season began this past weekend with 11 conference squads taking to the diamond. Beginning Friday, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin opened the year at various tournaments around the country, while Minnesota started the new campaign on Saturday. Penn State is the final conference team to begin the new year, opening the season on Feb. 15.  Nebraska jumped out to a 5-0 start and was the only Big Ten team to record an unblemished record in the opening week.  Ohio State and Wisconsin boast 4-1 records, followed by Michigan (3-1), Iowa (3-2) and Illinois (3-2) above the .500 mark.  Among the highlights posted this past week, Illinois senior Pepper Gay broke the school’s strikeout record on Saturday and then threw the program’s 10th no-hitter in an 8-0 blanking of Northern Iowa.

[ELEVEN // five lauded for stopping before season starts]
Five Big Ten student-athletes were named to the ninth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award Watch List, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, it was announced this past Friday. Illinois' Ronnie Muck and Reid Roper, Nebraska's Dylan Vogt, Northwestern's Kyle Ruchim and Ohio State's Josh Dezse were among the names on the initial watch list.

[TWELVE // the newest hoosier]
Finally this week, Indiana named Amy Berbary as the new head women's soccer coach on Wednesday. Berbary becomes the third head coach in Indiana women's soccer history and comes to Bloomington from Auburn, where she spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach and was the associate head coach during the 2012 season.