March 28, 2010
[ONE // michigan hails victorious once again in women’s gymnastics]
Congratulations to the Michigan women’s gymnastics team on capturing its fourth straight Big Ten Championship Saturday afternoon. The win was Michigan's 17th in the last 19 years and the team never trailed throughout the meet. Michigan finished with a 196.900 score, with Penn State finishing second with 196.525. Iowa was third with 195.575, while Michigan State and Minnesota tied for fourth at 195.350. Illinois' 195.025 score was good for sixth and host Ohio State was seventh with 194.700. In addition, a pair of Penn State gymnasts won major individual awards as senior Brandi Personett was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for the second straight year, while teammate Sharaya Musser was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Michigan's Bev Plocki and Illinois' Bob Starkell shared Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
[TWO // big ten represents in the pool]
Four Big Ten squads placed in the top 15 at the 2010 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships this past week, while a pair of conference standouts captured a total of three gold medals at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio. Michigan (204 points) led all league schools with a seventh-place finish, followed by Ohio State (136.5) in ninth, Purdue (97) in 13th and Minnesota (82) in 14th. Wisconsin (12), Indiana (4), and Northwestern (1) rounded out the field by placing 30th, 31st and 34th, respectively. Purdue sophomore David Boudia took home the gold medal in both 1- and 3-meter diving, while Michigan’s Tyler Clary placed first in the 400-yard IM.
[THREE // michigan state comes back to indy]
Congrats to Michigan State on earning its second straight trip to the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Raymar Morgan’s free throw with less than two seconds remaining gave the Spartans a 70-69 victory over Tennessee Sunday, clinching the Midwest Regional title and the team’s sixth Final Four trip in 12 years. Fifth-seeded MSU (28-8) will play hometown favorite Butler, another No. 5 seed, in Indianapolis on Saturday. In other Big Ten action, No. 2 Ohio State fell to Tennessee, 76-73, on Friday, while No. 1 Duke topped No. 4 Purdue, 70-57. Michigan State advanced to the regional final with a 59-52 victory over No. 9 Northern Iowa.
[FOUR // illini fall in men’s nit action]
While Michigan State’s season is continuing, Illinois saw its men’s basketball campaign come to a close this week, falling 77-71 to No. 3 seed Dayton in the NIT. Leading the way for the Fighting Illini, who finished the 2009-10 season 21-15, was Demetri McCamey with 13 points and 10 assists. On Monday, the Illini advanced to meet Dayton after a 75-58 win over Kansas State in the quarterfinals. In that win, Mike Davis had 16 points and 16 rebounds for his 15th double-double this season, while Mike Tisdale had 17 points.
[FIVE // looking ahead to 2011]
While we are on the topic of postseason NCAA Basketball, the Big Ten announced this past week that all-session tickets are now on sale for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds, to be held Friday and Sunday, March 18 and 20, at the United Center in Chicago. The Big Ten will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at the United Center for the fourth time overall. The conference first hosted the event in 1998, the week after the first Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament was held at the same facility. The Big Ten also hosted first and second round contests in 2002 and 2007.
[SIX // ohio state star named national player of the year]
Despite a heartbreaking loss to Tennessee on Friday, there was some good news for Ohio State and junior star Evan Turner. The Big Ten Player of the Year was named by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as the winner of the 2009-10 Oscar Robertson Trophy, annually presented to the National Player of the Year. The 6-7, 210-pound standout was the consensus choice by voters in all nine geographical districts of the USBWA. Turner becomes the first national player of the year from Ohio State since Jerry Lucas won his second straight USBWA Player of the Year award in 1962. Turner is also the first Big Ten player to win the honor since Purdue's Glenn Robinson in 1994.
[SEVEN // big ten women’s basketball concludes ncaa play]
NCAA action concluded for three Big Ten women’s basketball teams this past week as Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State all fell in the second round. On Monday, No. 8 Iowa lost 96-67 to No. 1 Stanford, despite Kachine Alexander scoring a game-high 27 points. No. 5 Michigan State, led by Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and her 10 points, five rebounds and four assists, was eliminated 70-52 by No. 4 Kentucky on Monday as well. The No. 2 seed Buckeyes dropped an 87-67 decision to No. 7 Mississippi State on Tuesday. Jantel Lavender led OSU with 17 points, while Samantha Prahalis tallied 14 points and six assists, setting a Big Ten single-season record with 289 on the year.
[EIGHT // big ten foes battle in wnit; pair of teams still alive]
By no means is the Big Ten women’s basketball season over, however, as the Michigan Wolverines are heading to the WNIT Semifinals following an impressive 78-52 blowout victory over Syracuse on Sunday in Ann Arbor. With the win, U-M advances to the WNIT semifinals for the first time in the 37-year history of the program and will face Miami (Fla.) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Crisler Arena. Illinois, also competing in quarterfinal action, lost 53-51 Sunday to Illinois State. Earlier this week Illinois put itself into quarterfinal play by ousting Marquette 74-72 in overtime and Missouri State, 65-53. Michigan advanced to quarterfinal action after defeating fellow conference foe Northwestern, 65-44, in a win that gave the Wolverines 20 on the season, marking the second 20-win season in program history and the team's first since 1999-00. Northwestern earned a meeting with the Wolverines after taking out St. Bonaventure, 66-62.
[NINE // buckeye pair named among wade finalists]
Earlier this week the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee along with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) announced the 12 finalists in contention for The State Farm Wade Trophy. Two Ohio State Buckeyes – junior center Jantel Lavender and sophomore guard Samantha Prahalis – were among those honorees. The candidates were selected by a vote of committee members comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball administrators. Members of the committee will select the winner of The State Farm Wade Trophy from the 10-member Division I State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team and will be announced at the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team and The State Farm Wade Trophy Announcement during the WBCA National Convention in San Antonio, held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four®.
[TEN // women’s hoops standouts named finalists for all-america honors]
In addition to their selections as finalists for the State Farm Wade Trophy, Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis were among four conference standouts to be named among 40 finalists on Thursday for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) State Farm Coaches' All-America Team. Illinois’ Jenna Smith and Iowa’s Kachine Alexander were also named to the list. All four players from the Big Ten, who were all-region selections, made the cut from 52 to 40 players.
[ELEVEN // buckeye pitcher named to national watch list]
Finally this week, Ohio State junior right-hander Alex Wimmers has been named to the College Baseball Foundation Pitcher of the Year watch list for 2010. The Preseason All-American and 2009 Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Year has posted a 5-0 record with a 2.12 earned run average in five starts. The Cincinnati native entered this past week leading the Big Ten with 41 strikeouts in 34.0 innings pitched while allowing opposing batters to hit just .236.