This Week in the Big Ten

Indiana's Cody Zeller helped the Hoosiers to the outright Big Ten Championship on Sunday.

March 11, 2013

[ONE // boiler up…again]
Behind Drey Mingo’s 24 points, the Purdue women’s basketball team captured its second straight Big Ten Tournament Championship on Sunday with a 62-47 victory over Michigan State.  Purdue won its ninth Big Ten title overall and has now won back-to-back crowns on four different occasions.  Mingo was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and joined teammates KK Houser and Courtney Moses, as well as Michigan State’s Jasmine Thomas, Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore, and Penn State’s Maggie Lucas on the 2013 All-Tournament Team.

[TWO // and the awards go to…]
The Big Ten announced the women’s basketball All-Conference teams and individual award winners last Monday. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the conference coaches and media. Northwestern’s Maggie Lyon was honored with the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award by the coaches and media. Penn State head coach Coquese Washington received the nod from media as conference Coach of the Year, while Nebraska’s Connie Yori was chosen by her peers. Illinois’ Adrienne GodBold earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades from the conference coaches, while Iowa’s Melissa Dixon earned the Sixth Player of the Year award from the coaches.  The coaches and media also selected All-Big Ten teams, while the coaches also picked five-player All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams.  The Big Ten also recognized 12 Sportsmanship Award honorees.  The complete All-Big Ten teams, as well as a list of other honorees, can be found by clicking the above link.

[THREE // a priceless bentley]
Alex Bentley, a 5-foot-7 guard for Penn State, is the 2013 recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which is presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation's outstanding female collegian 5-feet-8-inches and under who has excelled both athletically and academically. Bentley is the fifth Big Ten student-athlete to win the award, and the first since Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson in 2008.

[FOUR // roaring on the mat]
Penn State won its third straight Big Ten Wrestling Championships title on Sunday, claiming first place with a score of 151. The Nittany Lions claimed four individual titles en route to the conference championship. Minnesota finished in second place with 139 points, while Iowa took third with 133.5. Fourth-place Ohio State (109.5 points) and fifth-place Illinois (85.5 points) rounded out the top five.  Penn State’s Ed Ruth earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Year honors, while Minnesota’s J Robinson and the Nittany Lions’ Cael Sanderson picked up Co-Coach of the Year accolades. Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery earned Freshman of the Year honors, while Illinois’ Jesse Delgado was named Wrestler of the Championships.

[FIVE // tourney talk]
The Big Ten announced on Sunday the bracket for the 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, with Indiana earning the No. 1 seed for the first time after claiming its first outright Big Ten Championship since 1993. The 2013 event, which sold out all tickets in advance for the first time in conference history, will be played Thursday through Sunday, March 14-17, at the United Center in Chicago.  Indiana finished the Big Ten slate with a 14-4 record in conference play to win their 21st Big Ten Championship and first since sharing the title in 2002. The Hoosiers secured the top seed in the tournament, while Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin also earned first-round byes.  For a complete look at the bracket and tournament matchups, click here.

[SIX // remembering our own]
The Big Ten will honor our nation’s wounded heroes during both its women’s and men’s basketball tournaments. In partnership with Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP), the Big Ten has invited Wounded Warriors from various branches of service, including the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army and Navy, to attend games of the tournaments and be recognized at halftime.  Wounded Warriors was in attendance for every day of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, and will also be recognized this upcoming week at the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament at Chicago’s United Center.  WWP is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors and make this the most successful, well-adjusted generation of veterans in our nation’s history.

[SEVEN // all eyes – and awards – on big ten men’s hoops]
Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas have been selected as finalists for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Award, it was announced on Saturday. The Big Ten leads all conferences with four selections, while Indiana is one of two schools to have more than one player selected to the ballot.  In addition, four Big Ten standouts were named finalists this past week for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Award, while another is among the final eight for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. The Big Ten leads all conferences in national player of the year finalists, with Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas listed among the final 14. Michigan State's Gary Harris was listed among the freshman of the year finalists. The winners of both awards will be announced on April 5.

[EIGHT // that’s a wrap on track]
The Big Ten recorded 10 top five finishes on the final day of the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday, highlighted by Indiana's Derek Drouin taking home his third indoor high jump title. Drouin's mark of 2.35 meters set a new Canadian national record and is the second-best ever by a collegian. The Wisconsin men earned a spot on the podium with a third-place team finish, while the Illinois women placed 14th.  For a complete recap of how the conference student-athletes fared, click here.

[NINE // pool time]
Forty-eight Big Ten student-athletes from nine women's swimming & diving teams will represent the conference at the 2013 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., from March 21-23, it was announced on Wednesday. The list of Big Ten qualifiers can be found by clicking here, while more information, including qualifying time, can be found by clicking here.

[TEN // two named finalists for aai award]
Two Big Ten women's gymnasts were named finalists this past week for the American Athletic, Inc., award, which is given annually to the top senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I women's gymnastics. Michigan's Katie Zurales and Penn State's Sharaya Musser are two of six gymnasts named finalists for the award. The winner will be announced at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships awards banquet in Los Angeles next month.

[ELEVEN // ready to row]
Big Ten rowing opened the 2013 campaign this past weekend, with Minnesota traveling to Oklahoma City, Okla., for the Oklahoma Invite in the first meet of the season.   The Golden Gophers picked up four wins against Tulsa and single victories against both Kansas and Kansas State to conclude competition at the Oklahoma Invite Sunday morning on the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City, Okla. The six victories on the day upped the Golden Gophers' total to 15 wins on the weekend against teams from host Oklahoma, Kansas State, Kansas and Tulsa.  All seven of the Big Ten rowing squads will compete in their first regattas in March. 

[TWELVE // get ready to connect]
Finally this week, Big Ten college hoops fans nationwide will get an ultimate boost on their mobile device from Learfield Sports with the introduction of "Big Ten Connect" - the first-of-its-kind mobile app for the Big Ten Conference and believed to be the first ever standalone conference tournament app.  Big Ten Connect - a Learfield Sports Digital product - designed to enhance the fan experience during the 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, March 14-17 - is now available for Android and iPhone smartphones. The app features live radio broadcasts of every game during the Tournament; live game scores and stats; plus unique video including fan reactions, interviews and behind-the scenes footage.  For the complete release, click here.