March 25, 2012
[ONE // the road continues for the buckeyes]
Congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes on advancing to their first trip to the NCAA Final Four since 2007, following a 77-70 win over No. 1 Syracuse Saturday. Jared Sullinger rallied the Scarlet and Gray in the second half and scored 19 points and seven rebounds in the win. OSU becomes the third Big Ten team in the last four years to reach the national semifinals. On Friday, Indiana ended its season with an 102-90 loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16, which marked the highest-scoring game of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
[TWO // green, sullinger on nabc all-america team]
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced this past Tuesday that Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger were among the five players named to the 2012 NABC Coaches’ Division I All-America First Team. The Big Ten duo was joined by Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Creighton’s Doug McDermott, and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.
[THREE // traveling miles from colorado to nebraska]
A warm Big Ten welcome goes out to Tim Miles, who was named Saturday as the University of Nebraska’s new men's basketball coach. Miles brings 17 years of head coaching experience and a proven track record of building successful basketball programs to Lincoln. He joins Nebraska after five seasons as the head coach at Colorado State University. In 2011-12, Miles led the Rams to 20 victories and their first NCAA Tournament berth in nine seasons.
[FOUR // penn state falls in ncaa tournament; minnesota wins wbi]
The Minnesota and Penn State women’s basketball teams each wrapped their 2011-12 seasons on Sunday, with the Gophers claiming the WBI Championship, while the Lady Lions fell in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals to Connecticut. The Golden Gophers, who scored an 88-74 comeback victory over Northern Iowa, concluded the 2011-12 season with a 19-17 overall record and with a season-best four-game winning streak. It is the first winning season for Minnesota since the 2008-09 season, when it recorded a 20-12 record and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Senior Kiara Buford, who had 14 points, six assists and four steals in the title game, was named the 2012 WBI Most Valuable Player, while freshman Rachel Banham, who scored a game-high 26 points for the home team, was named to the All-Tournament team. The fourth-seeded Lady Lions suffered a 77-59 loss to No. 1 seed Connecticut on Sunday evening. The loss marks the end of the Lady Lions season that saw Penn State win the Big Ten regular-season title and advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2004. Junior Mia Nickson was solid in the interior for the Lady Lions with 19 points and five rebounds.
[FIVE // lady lion up for top coaching honor]
Speaking of the Penn State women’s basketball team, congratulations and best of luck to Lady Lion mentor Coquese Washington, who was named a finalist for a second national coach of the year honor on Thursday after being named WBCA Region 6 Coach of the Year. She is one of eight coaches to earn regional distinction and is now in the running for WBCA National Coach of the Year. Washington was also named to the USBWA watch list for its national coach of the year award. Washington led the Lady Lions to their first Big Ten Championship in eight seasons in 2011-12 and was named conference Coach of the Year by both her peers and the media after leading the team to a 24-6 record overall and a 13-3 mark in Big Ten play.
[SIX // buckeye baller up for wade trophy]
Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis was named one of 12 finalists for the 2012 Wade Trophy, which annually honors the top player in women's college basketball, it was announced by the WBCA on Friday. Prahalis, the 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year, set the conference's all-time record for career assists with 901 and is the only player in Big Ten history to record 2,000 points and 900 assists in her career. She was named a first-team All-Big Ten performer and is also a finalist for the Lieberman Award, awarded to the nation's top point guard. The candidates were selected by a vote of committee members composed of leading basketball coaches, journalists and administrators. The winner will be announced during the WBCA Awards Show, which will be held on Monday, April 2, in Denver, the site of this year's Women’s Final Four.
[SEVEN // huskers flip over big ten gymnastics title]
Nebraska earned the Big Ten Women's Gymnastics Championships title on Saturday, winning the crown in its first conference championship meet. The Huskers tallied a team score of 197.100 en route to the title, while Ohio State followed in second place with a score of 196.225 and Minnesota finished in third at 195.950. Michigan took fourth place with a team score of 195.875, followed by Illinois in fifth (195.850), Penn State in sixth (195.700), Iowa in seventh (195.425) and Michigan State in eighth (194.675). The Huskers' Emily Wong won the all-around competition, finishing with a combined score of 39.600. Wong also tied for the balance beam and floor exercise titles to help Nebraska to the championship. Wong tied with Illinois' Kelsey Joannides for the balance beam title with matching scores of 9.900 and tied with teammates Jessie DeZiel and Lora Evenstad for the floor exercise title with scores of 9.900. Evenstad also took home the bars crown with a mark of 9.925, while Michigan's Sachi Sugiyama won the vault title with a score of 9.950. In addition, the conference’s individual awards and All-Championships Team selections were announced following the meet. Those award winners can be found by clicking here.
[EIGHT // and the honors go to…]
Staying on the mat, the Big Ten announced its women’s gymnastics All-Big Ten teams this past Monday. The All-Conference teams feature top-six performers in the all-around and the top six in each of the four events, based on the student-athletes’ regional qualifying average. Seven gymnasts earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after finishing the regular season ranked in the top three of at least one event. The All-Big Ten first team consisted of Illinois’ Kelsey Joannides, Nebraska’s Jessie DeZiel, Lora Evenstad, Janelle Giblin and Emily Wong, Ohio State’s Sarah Miller and Penn State’s Sharaya Musser. Collecting second-team All-Conference honors were Illinois’ Amber See and Alina Weinstein, Iowa’s Tesla Cox, Michigan’s Katie Zurales, Michigan State’s Taira Neal, Nebraska’s Jamie Schleppenbach, and Penn State’s Whitney Bencsko and Madison Merriam.
[NINE // time to dry off]
The Big Ten recorded 10 top-10 finishes Sunday at the NCAA Championships in Federal Way, Wash. Michigan placed fifth at the championships with 271 points, while Indiana recorded 140 points en route to a 10th-place finish. The Hoosiers were followed by No. 12 Ohio State (106), No. 17 Purdue (56) and No. 24 Minnesota (37). Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin also received points at the event. Michigan's Connor Jaeger and Dan Madwed took home top-five finishes on the final day. Jaeger finished third in the 1,650 freestyle (14:35.14), while Madwed placed fifth in the 200 butterfly (1:42.61). In the diving well, Indiana's Conor Murphy placed fifth on the platform with a score of 413.25. Among the notables on Friday, three Big Ten swimmers placed in the top-five in the 400 individual medley. Michigan's Kyle Whitaker (3:41.37) placed second, Wisconsin's Michael Weiss (3:43.12) was third and Indiana's Samuel Trahin (3:44.37) finished fourth in the event. The Wolverines' Dan Madwed recorded a fourth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (45.91), while teammate Michael Wynalda finished sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:34.66). In the three-meter event, Indiana's Zach Nees (380.00) and Darian Schmidt (370.75) and Ohio State's Shane Miszkiel (364.55) placed sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Opening the event on Thursday, the Wolverines recorded five top-10 finishes. In the 500 freestyle, Jaeger (4:15.67) and Sean Ryan (4:17.27) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, while Kyle Whitaker registered a sixth place finish in the 200 individual medley (1:43.91). The Hoosiers' Jason Schnur recorded highest Big Ten finish, placing third in the 50 freestyle (19.46).
[TEN // diamond notes]
Big Ten baseball opened conference play this past week with Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Purdue all earning 2-1 records to own the early lead in the league standings . The Hoosiers took two from Penn State, the Hawkeyes earned a pair of wins against Northwestern, the Huskers rallied to take the series from Illinois, and the Boilermakers picked up two victories in Columbus against Ohio State. Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota were all idle in conference action this past week.
[ELEVEN // softball stuff]
In softball, Michigan, Nebraska and Purdue are each out to a 3-0 conference start and sit atop the Big Ten standings. Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin all sit 2-1, followed by Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota at 1-2, and Michigan State, Northwestern and Penn State at 0-3 in league play. As for the conference leaders, the Wolverines won three at home against the Nittany Lions, the Huskers swept the Wildcats, and Purdue took all three contests from the Spartans this past week.
[TWELVE // here’s to the hodge]
Finally this week, congratulations to Penn State sophomore 165-pounder David Taylor, who has been awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy as the National Wrestler of the Year. Taylor, the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, finished the season at 32-0 overall en route to Big Ten and NCAA titles. Taylor is just the third sophomore to win the award after current Nittany Lion head coach Cael Sanderson won it in his sophomore season at Iowa State. Additionally, for the first time in the history of the award, both the Hodge Trophy winner and runner-up were from the same team as Ed Ruth finished second in the balloting. Ruth was dominant at 174 all year as he reeled off two pins at NCAAs, a technical fall in the semis and put up an impressive 13-2 major decision over Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui in the finals. PSU's third NCAA champ, Frank Molinaro, finished fourth in the voting behind Cornell's three-time NCAA champ in junior Kyle Dake. Iowa junior Matt McDonough was sixth after his second title in three consecutive trips to the NCAA finals at 125.