This Week in the Big Ten

Minnesota's Sara Moulton was one of five B1G softball players named as a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, while helping her Gophers to a 12-1 start.

Minnesota's Sara Moulton was one of five B1G softball players named as a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, while helping her Gophers to a 12-1 start.

Feb. 24, 2014

[ONE // gopher women golden in the pool]
Minnesota captured the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship Saturday night at the University Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The title marks the Gophers’ third consecutive crown and sixth overall.  Minnesota compiled 760 total points throughout the four-day event. Indiana finished second after collecting 649 points and Penn State was third with 484 points. Ohio State finished fourth with 374 points, while Michigan recorded 361 points to finish fifth.  Minnesota’s Maggie Keefer and Purdue’s Casey Matthews were named Co-Divers of the Championships, while Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin was named the Swimmer of the Championships. Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer collected Swimming Coach of the Year honors for the third consecutive season, while Purdue’s Adam Soldati was named Diving Coach of the Year. Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.  The complete 2014 All-Big Ten Teams and Sportsmanship Award honorees can be found by clicking here.

[TWO // hawkeyes split dual meet trophy three ways]
With its 28-10 win over No. 15 Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, No. 3 Iowa clinched a share of the Big Ten Wrestling Dual Meet Championship. The regular season conference title marks the sixth in the past seven years for the Hawkeyes. Iowa, Minnesota and Penn State each ended the Big Ten dual meet season with matching 7-1 marks to share the title.  The match started with two pins for the Hawkeyes, as Cory Clark and Tony Ramos posted falls at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively. Iowa also picked up wins from Brady Grothus (149), Nick Moore (165), Mike Evans (174), Ethen Lofthouse (184) and Nathan Burak (197).  The 100th Big Ten Wrestling Championships will be held from March 8-9 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. The Hawkeyes, Gophers and Nittany Lions have won each of the last eight Big Ten Championships, including the last three titles for Penn State in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Iowa was victorious in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Big Ten Championships and leads all schools with 34 titles, while Minnesota won the title in 2006 and 2007.

[THREE // B1G battle for state rights, conference rights]
Sunday’s men’s basketball contest between Michigan and Michigan State was not just for bragging rights within the state, but also for rights to sole first place in the conference standings.   The No. 20/20 Wolverines posted a 79-70 victory over the No. 13/14 Spartans to move to 11-3 in league play, while MSU fell to 11-4.  The week’s action on the hardwood began with a bang, but all of the wrong reasons.  Tuesday’s matchup between No. 15/15 Iowa and Indiana was rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27, after the Hoosiers’ Assembly Hall had a piece of metal fall from the ceiling into seats in the lower bowl hours before tip.  The Hawkeyes returned home to Iowa City after the scare and could not get past No. 16/18 Wisconsin on Saturday, falling 79-74. 

[FOUR // craft named academic all-america of the year]
Northwestern's Drew Crawford and Ohio State's Aaron Craft were named first-team Capital One Academic All-Americans, as announced by CoSIDA on Thursday. In addition, Craft became just the third student-athlete to repeat as Division I men's basketball Academic All-America of the Year.  A three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Crawford graduated from Northwestern in spring 2013 with a 3.31 grade-point average (GPA) and a degree in economics. With one more season of eligibility available, Crawford remained at NU under first-year head coach Chris Collins and enrolled in the School of Continuing Studies to obtain a master's degree in sports administration.  Craft was named the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year and was a first-team Academic All-American in 2012 and 2013. He becomes the fourth Big Ten student-athlete to earn first team honors three times.  The four three-time Academic All-Americans representing the Big Ten are Craft (2012-13-14), Michigan's Steve Grote (1975-76-77), Northwestern's Shon Morris (1986-87-88) and Michigan State's Chris Hill (2004-05-06).

[FIVE // three big ten ball handlers on point for cousy award]
Indiana's Kevin 'Yogi' Ferrell, Michigan State's Keith Appling and Ohio State's Aaron Craft were all named finalists for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year this past Monday.  From Feb. 18-March 10, fans can vote for the top point guard in college basketball.  The voting process is underway at www.cousyaward.com.  The list of 23 finalists will be reduced to five in early March, and the winner will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Championship Monday in North Texas as part of NCAA Final Four weekend.  Michigan's Trey Burke won the Bob Cousy Award last season.

[SIX // lady lions continue reign atop women’s basketball standings]
At week’s end, Penn State continued to sit atop the Big Ten women’s basketball standings at 12-2 in conference play.  The No. 9 Lady Lions, who defeated Northwestern 82-73 this past week, lead both No. 17 Nebraska and No. 23 Michigan State with 10-3 records each.  Maggie Lucas scored 26 points against the Wildcats to become the first player since Kelly Mazzante (31 vs. Baylor; 31 vs. Pittsburgh; 29 vs. Louisiana Tech) in Dec. 2003 to have three consecutive games with 25 or more points.  No. 21 Purdue currently sits fourth in the league charts at 10-5.  Courtney Moses scored 27 points in the Boilermakers 63-42 victory over Minnesota on Thursday.  Moses surpassed head coach Sharon Versyp for 11th all-time in school history with 1,591 career points.

[SEVEN // wolverine women’s basketball represented in classroom]
Junior Nicole Elmblad of the University of Michigan women's basketball team was named to the Capital One Academic All-America second team on Thursday, becoming just the second Wolverine in program history to earn Academic All-America honors. Elmblad, a biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience major, joins former Wolverine great and current Big Ten Chief Communications Officer Diane Dietz (1979-82) as the only players in school history to garner Academic All-America honors. Dietz was a second-team selection in 1980 before picking up back-to-back first team honors in 1981 and 1982. Elmblad, U-M's captain, has started all 27 contests this season for Michigan, averaging 11.9 points and 7.7 rebounds in a Big Ten-leading 36.7 minutes per game

[EIGHT // nittany lions stun michigan on the ice]
Only four Big Ten men’s hockey teams were in action this past week, but it was the conference’s newest program that made headlines against on the most storied clubs in the league.  After sophomore Casey Bailey tied the game with five seconds left in regulation, freshman David Goodwin completed the comeback as his overtime game-winner lifted Penn State to a 5-4 victory against No. 10/10 Michigan at Yost Ice Arena Friday night. The Nittany Lions, who earned their second conference win in 13 tries, exploded for five goals against a Michigan defense that entered the game averaging fewer than two goals against per game at home.  The Wolverines responded on Saturday with a 5-2 victory over Penn State.  Elsewhere, No. 8/8 Wisconsin swept its weekend double with Michigan State by scores of 5-2 and 2-0 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.   

[NINE // time to talk tickets for hockey tournament]
Xcel Energy and the Big Ten announced this past Thursday that single-game tickets for the inaugural Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament Presented by Polaris RZR®, to be held Thursday – Saturday, March 20 – 22, will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Monday.  The tournament will feature all six teams – Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin – in a single-elimination format. The event will consist of five games (two games on Thursday, March 20; two games on Friday, March 21 and the championship game on Saturday, March 22). The winner of the championship game will be the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championship.  Tickets can be purchased at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

[TEN // buckeyes claim ita indoor championship]
The fifth-ranked Ohio State men's tennis team captured its first ITA National Team Indoor Championship title with an impressive performance this past Monday for a 4-1 win over No. 3 USC in Houston, Texas. Guided by director of tennis and head coach Ty Tucker, the Buckeyes defeated four top-25 teams, including two top-five programs, en route to the national title and are now 13-0 overall in 2014 to put Ohio State at its best start to a season in program history.  The Scarlet and Gray captured the doubles point and three of the four completed singles matches to defeat the Trojans, whose last loss was to Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Team Championships last May.  In addition, Peter Kobelt of Ohio State was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship.  Kobelt is the first Buckeye to receive the honor, which he achieved after winning seven of his eight matches in leading Ohio State to its first national indoor title. The senior went 3-1 at first singles during the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship.

[ELEVEN // five diamond stars named senior class candidates]
Five Big Ten softball players were named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award on Thursday. 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.  Representing the Big Ten were Michigan's Nicole Sappingfield, Minnesota's Sara Moulton, Nebraska's Tatum Edwards, Northwestern's Mari Majam and Purdue's Andie Varsho.  Those individuals have also helped their respective teams get out to impressive starts to the season.  Minnesota sits atop the conference standings at 12-1, followed by Michigan (12-2), Illinois (11-3), Northwestern (10-4), and Nebraska (9-5).

[TWELVE // medal count]
Finally this week, congratulations to three Big Ten representatives for earning medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics this past week.  University of Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first American ice dancing pair to capture Olympic gold with their second record-setting performance on Monday at the Iceberg Skating Palace.  Additionally, former Illinois women's track and field thrower and sprinter Aja Evans won the bronze medal in the women's bobsled. Evans and pilot Jamie Greubel, manning the USA-2 sled, placed third with an overall time of 3:51.61, just behind fellow Americans Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams, who took home the silver with a time of 3:50.71. It's the first time two U.S. sleds have medaled in women's bobsledding.  A complete list of medals earned by Big Ten student-athletes at the 2014 Games will be available this week on BigTen.org.

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