This Week in the Big Ten

Michigan's Sara Driesenga was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Michigan's Sara Driesenga was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Player of the Week on Tuesday.

March 24, 2013

[ONE // third time also the charm for penn state wrestling]
Penn State won its third NCAA Wrestling Championships title in as many seasons after picking up two individual weight class titles on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. The Nittany Lions totaled 123.5 team points en route to the national title, while third-place Minnesota and fourth-place Iowa finished in the top five with 103 and 73 points, respectively.  The Nittany Lions' Ed Ruth (184 pounds) and Quentin Wright (197) each won titles to push Penn State to the national crown, while Illinois’ Jesse Delgado (125), Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (133), Iowa’s Derek St. John (157) and Minnesota’s Tony Nelson (285) also won national championships on Saturday to give the Big Ten six of the 10 individual champions.

[TWO // nebraska claims big ten women’s gymnastics championship]
Nebraska earned the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships title on Saturday, winning its second consecutive crown. The Huskers tallied a team score of 197.800 en route to the title, while Michigan followed in second place with a score of 197.225 and Minnesota finished third with 196.775 points. Illinois took fourth place with a team score of 196.475, followed by Ohio State in fifth (195.950), Penn State in sixth (195.825), Michigan State in seventh (195.450) and Iowa in eighth (193.400).  At the conclusion of the meet, 20 student-athletes were named to the All-Championships Team, while eight standouts were named as Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees.  

[THREE // and the awards go to…]
The votes have been counted and the 2013 Big Ten women’s gymnastics postseason honors have been announced.  At the conclusion of the conference championship on Saturday, Michigan’s Joanna Sampson was named Gymnast of the Year, while Minnesota’s Lindsay Mable and Meg Stephenson were voted as Freshman and Coach of the Year.  Sampson is the second Wolverine to be honored as the league’s top gymnast in the past three seasons.  Mable is the first Golden Gopher to earn such distinction since Gena Palm in 1989, while Stephenson received Coach of the Year accolades for the third time and first since 2002.  This past Monday, 15 gymnasts earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after finishing the regular season ranked in the top eight of at least one event. The All-Big Ten first team consisted of Illinois’ Alina Weinstein, Michigan’s Brittnee Martinez, Joanna Sampson, Sachi Sugiyama and Katie Zurales, Minnesota’s Shannon Golich, Lindsay Mable and Kylie Schermann, Nebraska’s Jessie DeZiel, Janelle Giblin, Jennifer Lauer and Emily Wong, Ohio State’s Sarah Miller and Penn State’s Madison Merriam and Sharaya Musser.  Collecting second-team All-Conference honors were Illinois’ Sunny Kato, Giana O’Connor and Amber See, Michigan’s Natalie Beilstein and Shelby Gies, Michigan State’s Taira Neal, Minnesota’s Kayla Slechta, Nebraska’s Brittany Skinner and Ohio State’s Alyssa Marohn and Melanie Shaffer.

[FOUR // a B1G effort from big ten squads in ncaa men’s tourney]
One-quarter of the NCAA Sweet 16 belongs to the Big Ten as four conference teams advanced to regional action after earning a pair of wins this week in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  No. 1 seed Indiana, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan State and No. 4 Michigan captured wins this weekend to punch their respective tickets to regional play, which begins Thursday.  On Sunday, Indiana got past No. 9 Temple 59-52, Ohio State topped No. 10 Iowa State 78-75 on a last-second three-pointer by Aaron Craft, while Michigan advanced Saturday with a 78-53 win over No. 5 VCU and Michigan State downed No. 6 Memphis, 70-48.  Illinois and Minnesota were eliminated from the tournament on Sunday, while Wisconsin dropped out Friday following a 57-46 defeat to Ole Miss.  For a closer into tournament play, click here.

[FIVE // big ten sends six to the women’s dance]
Six Big Ten women’s basketball teams were selected into the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship field of 64, it was announced this past Monday night. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue were chosen to represent the conference in the tournament. The announcement marked the second consecutive year the Big Ten had at least six teams representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament field, and the sixth time in conference history.  No. 5 seed Michigan State and No. 6 Nebraska opened tournament play with wins on Saturday as the Spartans defeated No. 12 Marist 55-47, and the Huskers downed No. 11 Chattanooga, 73-59.  On Sunday, the remaining four teams stayed alive as No. 9 Iowa beat No. 8 Miami (Fla.), 69-53, No. 8 Michigan stopped No. 9 Villanova 60-52, No. 3 Penn State ousted No. 14 Cal Poly 85-55, and No. 4 Purdue ended No. 13 Liberty’s season, 77-43.

[SIX // four additional hoops teams playing in the postseason]
In addition to the 13 Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball teams that advanced to NCAA Championship competition, four other programs earned the right to play in the postseason.  On the men’s side, Iowa knocked off Indiana State 68-52 in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament, while Purdue dropped Western Illinois 81-67 in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.  The Hawkeyes went on to defeated Stony Brook 75-63 in the second round and will now travel to Virginia for a quarterfinal contest on Wednesday.  Purdue hosts Santa Clara on Monday.  On the women’s side, Illinois bested Miami (Ohio) 73-60, while Minnesota fell 54-51 to Ball State in the WNIT.

[SEVEN // burke named basketball's best]
Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke has been named the Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year, it was announced on Tuesday. Burke becomes the Wolverines' second National Player of the Year selection, and first since Cazzie Russell in 1966.  Burke was joined by Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Creighton's Doug McDermott, Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk and Indiana's Cody Zeller on SI's All-America team.  Burke, who was recently named a Sporting News and USBWA All-America first teamer, was the Big Ten's Player of the Year and earned unanimous All-Big Ten first team honors.

[EIGHT // usbwa honors big ten trio as all-americans]
Three Big Ten standouts were named to the USBWA All-America Team, it was announced on Monday afternoon, with two players earning first-team accolades. Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Michigan's Trey Burke were selected to the first team, while Hoosier Cody Zeller garnered second-team All-America honors. Indiana, who had two players earn All-America honors in the same season for the first time since 1976, is one of two programs with multiple honorees on this year's team. Burke is the first Michigan USBWA All-American since Jalen Rose in 1994.

[NINE // five named to wbca all-region team]
Five Big Ten women's basketball standouts were named to the WBCA All-Region team, it was announced on Tuesday. The Region 6 team is comprised of five Big Ten student-athletes as Minnesota's Rachel Banham, Nebraska's Jordan Hooper, Ohio State's Tayler Hill and Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were recognized. The WBCA selection committee will select the 10-member Division I Coaches All-America team from the 52 members of the various All-Region teams.

[TEN // driesenga named nfca’s nation’s best]
Michigan's Sara Driesenga was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Player of the Week, the organization announced on Tuesday, after posting a 3-0 mark with wins over nationally ranked foes. She fired a complete-game against No. 18 Washington, allowing a single tally on five hits, while also going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a RBI. In the win over No. 2 Arizona State, Driesenga tossed 2.1 frames of scoreless relief as the Wolverines rallied from a two-run deficit for a 5-4 triumph. She also fired a four-hit shutout and was 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs during Michigan's 9-1 victory over No. 14 Arizona.

[ELEVEN // ticket talk:  here comes hockey]
Xcel Energy Center and the Big Ten announced this past Tuesday that All-Session Ticket Package Reservations for the inaugural 2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, to be held Thursday – Saturday, March 20 – 22, 2014, will go on sale at 10 a.m. CT on Monday, March 25.  The tournament will feature all six teams – Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin – in a single-elimination format. The tournament will consist of five games (two games on Thursday, March 20; two games on Friday, March 21; championship game on Saturday, March 22). All-Session Ticket Packages include one ticket to each of the five games of the tournament.  Ticket packages range from $80-$160 and reservations can be placed at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. To charge by phone using Ticketmaster TDD/TTY, call 800-359-2525. An arena seating chart is located at www.xcelenergycenter.com/seating/hockey.jsp.

[TWELVE // gophers golden on the ice]
Finally this week, since we are talking hockey and we began the week in review with a national champion, it would only be fitting to end with a national champion in the sport of hockey.  After playing in four overtimes through two NCAA tournament games, the University of Minnesota women's hockey left no doubt in defending its 2011-12 Frozen Four championship Sunday, downing Boston University 6-3 to complete a perfect 41-0-0 season and win its fourth NCAA title at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.  The Gophers extended their NCAA-record winning streak to 49 games, dating back to Feb. 18, 2012. The victory also gave the WCHA its 13th consecutive NCAA title.

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