March 17, 2014
[ONE // sparty’s party]
Michigan State captured its second Big Ten Tournament Championship in three years Sunday with a 69-55 upset win over eighth-ranked Michigan at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Adreian Payne scored 18 points and Gary Harris and Branden Dawson added 15 each to pace the Spartans before a sellout crowd of 18,582, which helped the event total 111,592 spectators overall. That mark is the highest total attendance ever for the tournament in Indianapolis, and second-most in Big Ten Tournament history. At the conclusion of the tournament, Michigan State’s Dawson was named to the All-Tournament Team and tabbed the event’s Most Outstanding Player. In addition, Harris and Payne were selected to the five-man team along with Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross.
[TWO // nine men’s basketball prep for postseason]
Nine Big Ten men’s basketball teams have been selected to continue play in the postseason this year. Six Big Ten teams were selected to participate in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship on Sunday, including Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Michigan, the Big Ten Champion, is the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region and will travel to the Milwaukee second and third round site. Wisconsin is the No. 2 seed in the West Region and will also travel to the Milwaukee second and third round site. Michigan State is the No. 4 seed in the East Region and will visit the Spokane, Wash., second and third round site. Ohio State is the No. 6 seed in the South Region and will start at the Buffalo, N.Y., second and third round site. Nebraska will be the No. 11 seed in the West region and will play at the San Antonio second and third round site. Iowa is a No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and will play Tennessee in a First Four game in Dayton, Ohio. Meanwhile, Illinois and Minnesota were named late Sunday night to the 32-team National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Fighting Illini, seeded second, will face No. 7 seed Boston University in the first round on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2. The Golden Gophers were awarded the No. 1 seed in the event and will host High Point University on Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. CT on ESPN3. Penn State was the ninth Big Ten team picked for the postseason, having been selected to the 16-team College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The Nittany Lions will host Hampton on Wednesday.
[THREE // handing out the hoops hardware]
The Big Ten men's basketball All-Conference teams and individual award winners were announced this past Monday, with Michigan's Nik Stauskas earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors from the conference's coaches and a media panel. Michigan head coach John Beilein claimed Coach of the Year laurels from the media while Nebraska head coach Tim Miles was named Coach of the Year by his peers. Indiana's Noah Vonleh picked up Freshman of the Year accolades from the coaches and media. Ohio State's Aaron Craft was named the Defensive Player of the Year while Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes was voted the Sixth Man of the Year by the coaches. In addition, three All-Big Ten teams were chosen along with a coaches’ All-Freshman and All-Defensive squad. Twelve Sportsmanship Award honorees were also announced.
[FOUR // district distinction]
Eleven Big Ten players and coaches from seven different schools were named All-District selections by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) on Tuesday, including a pair of individual award winners. Michigan's Nik Stauskas was named the District V Player of the Year, while Wolverine head coach John Beilein was tabbed the district's Coach of the Year. The following day, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) released its All-District Teams on Wednesday, with 10 Big Ten standouts being named to the District 7 first and second teams.
[FIVE // a first for everything]
The Big Ten announced on Saturday the bracket for the 2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament Presented by Polaris RZR®, with Minnesota collecting the top seed after earning the outright Big Ten Championship. The Gophers clinched the inaugural conference crown and the No. 1 seed with a 3-2 overtime win at Michigan on Friday night. The 2014 Big Ten Tournament will be played Thursday through Saturday, March 20-22, at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. The Gophers led the conference with 45 points this season and a conference record of 14-3-3-0. Wisconsin enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed, earning a first-round bye along with Minnesota. The Badgers finished the conference season with 40 points and a 13-6-1-0 record. Michigan received the No. 3 seed, followed by No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan State and No. 6 Penn State.
[SIX // we’ll flip for it…]
Minnesota and Nebraska clinched a share of the regular season Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championship after finishing with 6-1 Big Ten records. The Gophers placed first in their Big Ten quad meet versus Iowa, Michigan and Penn State after scoring 196.700 points, while Nebraska recorded 197.050 points in its quad meet against Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State. Last season, Michigan and Minnesota shared the inaugural regular season Big Ten Championship. The 2014 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships will be held Saturday, March 22 at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State in University Park, Pa. BTN will provide live coverage of both session one (Noon ET) and session two (5 p.m.).
[SEVEN // national success; regional acclaim]
At this past weekend’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., Big Ten men’s teams sported 15 top-eight finishes for All-America distinction, including a national title in the weight throw by Wisconsin's Michael Lihrman (23.25 meters). On the women’s side, the Big Ten garnered 15 All-America accolades. Penn State's Mahagony Jones and Purdue's Dani Bunch posted third-place efforts in the 200-meter dash (22.93) and weight throw (21.81 meters), respectively. In addition, five schools collected regional awards from the USTFCCCA, it was announced on Monday. Student-athletes and coaches from Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin earned recognition in three different regions: Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
[EIGHT // pool party]
The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving Committee announced Tuesday the participants in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. The men’s championships will be held March 27-29 at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. A list of 39 Big Ten men's qualifiers, including event and time, can be found by clicking here. A total of 43 Big Ten women’s competitors will travel to nationals held March 20-22 at the Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. A complete list of female participants can be found by clicking here.
[NINE // wrestling watch]
Eighty-two Big Ten wrestlers are among the field of 330 competitors at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, the selection committee announced on Wednesday. The Big Ten contingent is made up of 59 seeded wrestlers, including five No. 1 seeds. The 2014 NCAA Championships are set for March 20-22 at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. The complete release from the NCAA, along with brackets and at-large qualifiers, can be found here. The complete breakdown of Big Ten wrestlers, along with their seed, competing in the NCAA Championships can be found by clicking here.
[TEN // row your boat]
Big Ten rowing opened the 2014 campaign this past weekend, with Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin traveling to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational in the first meet of the season. All seven of the Big Ten rowing squads will compete in their first regattas in March. Ohio State captured both the Big Ten and NCAA Championships last season.
[ELEVEN // trio tabbed for sullivan award]
Three former Big Ten student-athletes have been tabbed as finalists for the 2014 James E. Sullivan Award, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced this past Monday. Kelsey Robinson (Nebraska-volleyball), John Urschel (Penn State-football) and David Boudia (Purdue-diving) are three of the 19 nominees for the award that honors the nation's outstanding amateur athlete. The Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 and is based on character, leadership and sportsmanship. A public vote will account for one-third of the athlete's overall score, to vote click here. Voting will remain open until March 23 at 11:59 ET. Three finalists will be named no later than March 28 and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
[TWELVE // celebrating a century of honor]
Finally this week, throughout the 2013-14 academic year, the Big Ten is highlighting the 100th anniversary of a very unique tradition - the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference is celebrating the anniversary by highlighting the many stories of student-athlete success in both academics and athletics since the honor was first granted in 1915. Over the course of the first week, the Big Ten featured Medal of Honor winners that competed in the Sochi Olympics, honorees that have been conference coaches, a couple married to one another, a famous astronaut, and the creator of the award. For more on the celebration, click here.