March 20, 2011
[ONE // two men’s teams advance to sweet 16, northwestern still alive in nit]
Congratulations to Ohio State and Wisconsin on advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The Buckeyes ousted Texas-San Antonio 75-46 and George Mason 98-66 to reach the regional semifinals, while the Badgers topped Belmont 72-58 and Kansas State 70-65 to advance. Fourth-seeded Wisconsin now faces No. 8 seed Butler on Thursday and top-seeded Ohio State prepares to battle No. 4 seed Kentucky on Friday. In the NIT, Northwestern continues its strong run as the Wildcats defeated UW-Milwaukee 70-61 on Wednesday and Boston College 85-67 on Saturday. For a complete look at all the Big Ten men’s basketball postseason action, click here.
[TWO // eight total women’s basketball teams selected for postseason play]
Eight total Big Ten women’s basketball teams learned they had earned a trip to the postseason earlier in the week, including five squads in the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. On Monday night, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue each earned berths into this year's field. The Big Ten has sent five or more teams to the NCAA tournament eight times in the past 11 seasons. Late Monday evening, three more conference squads -- Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin – earned bids to the Postseason WNIT.
[THREE // big ten’s big four ready for ncaa second-round action]
In the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, four of the five Big Ten squads earned victories in their opening contests and will play their second-round matchups on Monday or Tuesday. Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue took home wins, while Iowa fell to Gonzaga in its opener. As for the WNIT, all three conference representatives – Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin – have been eliminated. The Wolverines were knocked out in the first round by Eastern Michigan, 67-59, while Northwestern and Wisconsin advanced with wins over Creighton and Butler, respectively. On Sunday, the Wildcats fell 72-70 to Alabama and the Badgers dropped a close one to Illinois State, 62-59. For a complete look at all the Big Ten women’s basketball postseason action, click here.
[FOUR // penn state captures ncaa wrestling championship]
Penn State won its second NCAA Wrestling Championship on Saturday, posting a team score of 107.5 en route to the national title. The Nittany Lions' Quentin Wright, the No. 9 seed at 184 pounds, picked up an individual title to push Penn State to its first NCAA crown since 1953. The Nittany Lions’ title marks the fifth-straight national crown won by a Big Ten team. Iowa placed third with 86.5 points, while Minnesota (61) was seventh and Wisconsin (54.5) was 10th. Future Big Ten member Nebraska (43.5) placed 12th, followed by Northwestern (39.0) tied for 13th, Michigan (38.5) in 15th, Illinois (25.0) in 22nd and Indiana (23.5) in 25th. Rounding out the Big Ten contingent was Ohio State (20.5) in 29th, Purdue (9.0) tied for 39th, and Michigan State (7.0) in 43rd. Penn State’s Wright defeated No. 2 Robert Hamlin of Lehigh, 5-2, to earn the national title at 184. Michigan 141-pounder Kellen Russell won his first national title, closing out the season with a perfect 37-0 record after defeating No. 3 Boris Novachkov of Cal Poly, 3-2, in the final bout.
[FIVE // golden gophers pace big ten teams in the ncaa pool]
Four Big Ten student-athletes captured individual titles at the 2011 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships this past week, while Minnesota led all conference squads at the meet. Minnesota’s Haley Spencer captured the national title in the 200-yard breaststroke, while teammates Jillian Tyler took first in the 100-yard breaststroke and Kelci Bryant earned the 1-meter diving crown. Wisconsin senior Maggie Meyer claimed the first NCAA individual title in Badger swimming history by winning the 200 backstroke with a Big Ten-record time of 1:50.76. The Golden Gophers led all Big Ten teams competing at the national event, tallying a school-record 192 points for a program-best ninth place. Wisconsin amassed 160 points to place 11th, followed by Indiana (86.5) in 15th and Ohio State (64) in 17th place. Purdue was 25th, Iowa and Michigan tied for 30th, and Penn State was 35th. Following the NCAA Championships, Minnesota’s Bryant and Golden Gopher diving coach Wenbo Chen received top honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of American (CSCAA). Bryant was named the CSCAA Diver of the Championships after winning the 1-meter diving national title and adding national runner-up honors on the 3-meter springboard. Bryant is the first athlete to win multiple NCAA titles in Minnesota swimming and diving history. Chen coached both Bryant and freshman Maggie Keefer to All-America honors at the 2011 Championships. Keefer competed in all three diving events, earning All-America Honorable Mention acclaim with an 11th-place finish in 1-meter diving.
[SIX // michigan women’s gymnastics claims big ten crown]
The Michigan women's gymnastics team earned its fifth-straight and 19th overall Big Ten Championship on Saturday at Minnesota's Sports Pavilion. The Wolverines posted the highest score of any team in three of the championships' four events en route to a team score of 196.600 and the conference title. Penn State finished second with a team score of 196.375 while Illinois took third at 196.075. Minnesota landed in fourth place at 195.325, followed by Ohio State in fifth (194.900), Iowa in sixth (194.850) and Michigan State in seventh (194.425). The Nittany Lions' Sharaya Musser won the all-around title, racking up a score of 39.475. Musser and Illinois' Amber See tied for the vault title, posting a score of 9.900. Michigan's Kylee Botterman and Jordan Sexton each won individual titles, as Botterman took first in the floor exercise (9.950) and Sexton won the balance beam crown (9.875). Penn State's Natalie Ettl won her second-straight title on the uneven bars with a score of 9.925. The conference's individual award winners were also announced at the championships, with Botterman receiving the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year award. Ohio State's Carey Fagan earned Coach of the Year honors, while the Buckeyes' Sarah Miller was named Freshman of the Year.
[SEVEN // women’s gymnastics all-big ten teams announced]
The Big Ten announced Friday the 2011 women's gymnastics All-Big Ten teams and Sportsmanship Award honorees. The 11-gymnast first team and nine-gymnast second team were chosen through a vote by the conference's coaches. The All-Big Ten first team was headlined by Michigan's Kylee Botterman, who received first-team honors in each of her four seasons with the Wolverines. Botterman is the 11th Michigan gymnast to land on the first team four times and the first since Calli Ryals (2001-04). For a complete look at the All-Big Ten teams and Sportsmanship Award honorees, click here.
[EIGHT // eight hoops standouts among finalists for wooden award]
Eight Big Ten basketball standouts have been named finalists for the 2011 John R. Wooden Award. The Big Ten leads all conferences with five men’s honorees and boasts two of the three schools which have multiple selections. Still in the running for the award are Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, and Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor. Three women's basketball standouts were included on the national ballot for the women’s Wooden Award. Michigan State's Kalisha Keane, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender were all included on the final ballot of 20 student-athletes. The Wooden Award All-America Teams will be announced the week of the Elite Eight, with the Wooden Award winner being announced on April 8.
[NINE // osu’s sullinger and purdue’s johnson earn national awards]
The United States Basketball Writers Association named their 2010-11 All-America Team Monday with the Big Ten boasting two candidates in Purdue's forward/center JaJuan Johnson and Ohio State's freshman forward Jared Sullinger. Johnson became the first Boilermaker to garner first-team honors in 17 years while Sullinger is the Buckeyes' second consecutive first-team member, as Evan Turner earned the award last season. The Big Ten is the only conference with two first-team honorees. On Tuesday, Sullinger was named by the USBWA as the winner of the 2011 Wayman Tisdale Award as the men's National Freshman of the Year.
[TEN // indiana’s drouin picks up the national hardware]
Speaking of national honors, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) picked Indiana high jumper Derek Drouin this past week as its male National Athletes of the Year for the 2011 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field season. The junior won the NCAA high jump title with a clearance of 7-5 (2.26m), and moved him to a tie for third indoors all-time in the collegiate ranks. Drouin is the first back-to-back indoor national champ since USC's Jesse Williams in 2005 and 2006.
[ELEVEN // the passing of a gopher great]
Finally this week, legendary Minnesota football coach Murray Warmath passed away Wednesday at age 98 in Bloomington, Minn. Warmath led the Golden Gophers to a national championship and went to two Rose Bowls during his 18-year tenure with Minnesota. Warmath became head coach at Minnesota in 1954 and coached until 1971, with the highlight being the Gophers’ national title after an 8-1 season in 1960.