This Week in the Big Ten

Michigan claimed a share of the Big Ten's first-ever regular-season title in women's gymnastics on Saturday.

Michigan claimed a share of the Big Ten's first-ever regular-season title in women's gymnastics on Saturday.

March 3, 2013

[ONE // hoosiers earn first big ten title since 2002]
Following its victory over Iowa on Saturday, coupled with wins by Purdue and Michigan on Sunday, Indiana clinched at least a share of its 21st Big Ten Championship Sunday afternoon. Boasting a 13-3 mark with two games remaining in the conference season, the Hoosiers won their first Big Ten title since 2002, the same season in which they advanced to the national championship game. Indiana can claim its first outright championship since the 1992-93 campaign with a victory over Ohio State on Tuesday night, which will be televised by ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.

[TWO // lady lions roar to outright title]
Penn State junior guard Maggie Lucas ended the regular-season in style with a career-best eight three-pointers en route to 34 points as the No. 7/7 Lady Lions (24-4, 14-2 Big Ten) claimed the Big Ten regular-season title outright with an 82-67 win over No. 20/25 Nebraska (22-7, 12-4) Sunday. Penn State shot 69.2 percent from the field in the second half and connected on 66.7 percent of their three-pointers in the closing frame. The win snapped Nebraska's 10-game winning streak.

[THREE // tourney time]
With Penn State earning the outright Big Ten women’s basketball title on Sunday, the Lady Lions also secured the No. 1 seed in next week’s 2013 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, which is set for March 7-10 at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.  After finishing the season with a 14-2 mark in Big Ten play, Penn State received the tournament’s top seed for the second consecutive year and sixth time in school history. Nebraska garnered the No. 2 seed, while Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan rounded out the top five.  Illinois and Iowa earned the No. 6 and 7 seeds, respectively, followed by No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 10 Northwestern, No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 12 Indiana.  All-session ($80) and single-session ($15) tickets for the 2013 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament are still available and can be purchased at the Kia Box Office at the Sears Centre Arena, by phone at (888) SEARS-TIX (732-7784) or online at searscentre.com.

[FOUR // michigan amazes in the pool]
Michigan won its third consecutive Big Ten Men's Swimming & Diving Championships crown Saturday behind first-place finishes by Dylan Bosch, Connor Jaeger and Bruno Ortiz on the final day of competition at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington, Ind.  The Wolverines totaled 899 points over the four-day event. Indiana finished second with 664 points and Ohio State was third with 470 points. Minnesota tallied 378 points, while Purdue compiled 328 points to round out the top five in the final team standings.  Michigan took home seven individual Big Ten titles and five relay titles. Head coach Mike Bottom picked up Swimming Coach of the Year laurels for the third consecutive year, while Wolverine Dylan Bosch was named Freshman of the Year.  Indiana's Cody Miller claimed Swimmer of the Championships honors, while teammate Darian Scmidt shared Co-Diver of the Championships accolades with Ohio State's Shane Miszkiel. Indiana's Jeff Huber was named Diving Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.

[FIVE // a first for everything]
With its 197.300-194.875 dual meet victory over Michigan State on Saturday afternoon, the Michigan women’s gymnastics team clinched at least a share of the first regular-season Big Ten Championship.  The Wolverines completed the season with a 6-1 Big Ten record and boast a 13-1 overall record with a non-conference quad meet and a dual meet remaining in the regular season. In Saturday’s meet against the Spartans, Joanna Sampson led Michigan with three event titles in the vault (9.950), uneven bars (9.900) and tied for first-place in the floor exercise (9.950) en route to the all-around crown (39.650).  With two weeks remaining in the season, Minnesota and Nebraska each hold 4-1 conference marks and maintain hopes of earning a share of the Big Ten women’s gymnastics regular season championship. Nebraska takes on Iowa on March 4, while the Gophers and Huskers meet on March 9. Minnesota wraps up its Big Ten season with a dual meet against Ohio State on March 16.

[SIX // and the awards go to….]
The Big Ten announced on Wednesday the 2013 Big Ten men’s indoor track and field individual award winners. Penn State senior Casimir Loxsom was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year and Track Athlete of the Championships, while Indiana senior Derek Drouin was tabbed Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Championships. Penn State’s Brannon Kidder was named Freshman of the Year by the conference coaches, while Wisconsin head coach Ed Nuttycombe was tabbed Coach of the Year by his peers.  The Big Ten also recognized student-athletes from each team as Sportsmanship Award Honorees, which can be found by clicking here.

[SEVEN // women’s indoor honorees recognized]
The Big Ten announced on Wednesday the 2013 Big Ten women’s indoor track and field individual award winners. Highlighting the list, Illinois sophomore Ashley Spencer was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year and Michigan State senior Beth Rohl earned the nod as Field Athlete of the Year. In addition, Spencer was tabbed Big Ten Track Athlete of the Championships, while Nebraska’s Mara Griva took home Field Athlete of the Championships laurels. Illinois’ Morolake Akinosun was tabbed Freshman of the Year by the conference coaches, while Fighting Illini head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey was named Coach of the Year by her peers.  The Big Ten also recognized student-athletes from each team as Sportsmanship Award Honorees, which can be found by clicking here.

[EIGHT // wrestling with the numbers]
The NCAA announced its qualifier allocations for the 2013 Wrestling Championships on Thursday, with the Big Ten matching a conference record and receiving the most of any conference with 74. The Big Ten will send at least six automatic qualifiers in all 10 weight classes, including nine automatic bids at heavyweight, and boasts the highest amount of qualifiers of any conference in each class. The automatic bids will determine 290 of the 330 qualifiers for the NCAA Championships, while the remaining 40 slots will be filled by four at-large selections in each class.  The final coaches' panel and RPI rankings were also released on Thursday, with 86 grapplers appearing in the top 33 of their weight class. Five Big Ten wrestlers hold the top coaches' panel ranking in their class, as Ohio State's Logan Stieber (133 pounds), Northwestern's Jason Welch (157), Minnesota's Logan Storley (174), Penn State's Ed Ruth (184) and Minnesota's Tony Nelson (HWT) each close the regular season as the top-ranked wrestlers in the country. The conference also boasts 74 wrestlers in the top 33 of their respective classes in the second and final edition of the RPI rankings, with five taking the top spots. Ohio State's Stieber (133), Penn State's Dylan Alton (157) and David Taylor (165), Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Nelson (HWT) each hold No. 1 RPI rankings to close the regular season.

[NINE // a good job for good works]
Two Big Ten women's basketball players have been named to the inaugural Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Good Works Team, it was announced on Tuesday. Penn State's Gizelle Studevent and Purdue's Drey Mingo were two of five female student-athletes from Division I schools named to the list. The Big Ten was the only conference with multiple selections. The award recognizes a unique group of men's and women's college basketball student-athletes who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement.  For more on the award and the complete list of honorees, click here.

[TEN // watch these ladies]
Two Big Ten standouts have been named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Midseason Watch List, it was announced by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Tuesday. Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas are among named to the list. Penn State is one of five schools with multiple players on the list.  For the complete list, click here.

[ELEVEN // watch these men]
A national-leading six Big Ten standouts were selected among the top 30 candidates for the 2013 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T, it was announced on Tuesday. Two Hoosiers, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, were selected to the list, one of three programs in the nation to have multiple players named among the top 30. Other conference players named to the list include Illinois' Brandon Paul, Michigan's Trey Burke, Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas and Wisconsin's Jared Berggren. Four finalists will be named in late March, with the winner announced on April 7. Four Big Ten players have previously won the award, with Ohio State's Evan Turner the most recent recipient in 2010.

[TWELVE // feel the rush]
Finally this week, we stick with the sport of men’s basketball.  It was exciting week for Big Ten men’s hoops, as two upsets were televised before a national audience, prompting all in attendance to take part in the celebration.  Trevor Mbakwe had 21 points and 12 rebounds to help Minnesota take down No. 1 Indiana 77-73 on Tuesday, sending all Golden Gopher faithful onto the court at Williams Arena after time expired.  The next night, Penn State and its followers joined in the celebration at half court following an 84-78 upset of No. 4 Michigan.  The Wolverines were the highest ranked opponent ever beaten by the Nittany Lions in the Bryce Jordan Center.