This Week in the Big Ten

Former Illinois golfer D.A. Points won his second career PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the Shell Houston Open. Three other Big Ten grads placed in the top 40.

March 31, 2013

[ONE // a-maize-ing performance]
Michigan won its Big Ten-leading 12th NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships title and first since 1995 on Saturday night at the IU Natatorium on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in Indianapolis, Ind. The Wolverines totaled 480 team points en route to the national title, while ninth-place Indiana finished in the top 10 with 201 points. Michigan had 27 top-10 finishes on the way to the crown, including individual titles from Connor Jaeger in the 500-yard freestyle (4:10.84) and 1,650 freestyle (14:27.18) and the Wolverines’ 200-yard medley relay team consisting of Miguel Ortiz, Bruno Ortiz, Sean Fletcher and Zach Turk (1:22.27). Wisconsin’s Andrew Teduits also won a national title, taking the 200 backstroke crown in 1:38.27.

[TWO // when one makes four]
The fourth-seeded Michigan men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Final Four with a 79-59 triumph over third-seeded Florida on Sunday inside Cowboys Stadium. Freshman guard Nik Stauskas scored 19 first-half points, including five three-pointers, helping the Wolverines to leads of 13-0 and 23-5 early in the opening half. In addition to Stauskas' game-high 22 points and career-high six triples, sophomore guard Trey Burke finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while freshman forward Mitch McGary added 11 points and nine rebounds. The Wolverines advanced after a stunning overtime comeback thriller over No. 1 seed Kansas, 87-85, on Friday.  Elsewhere in the Big Ten, No. 2 seed Ohio State saw its run to the Final Four end with a 70-66 defeat to No. 9 Wichita State on Saturday, while No. 3 Michigan State was eliminated by No. 2 Duke 71-61 on Friday.  On Thursday, No. 1 seed Indiana fell 61-50 to No. 4 Syracuse.

[THREE // hawkeyes heading to the big apple]
The Big Ten men’s basketball season isn’t all about Final Four-bound Michigan either… congratulations to the Iowa Hawkeyes on advancing to New York City for the 2013 National Invitation Tournament semifinals.  Iowa (24-12), a No. 3 seed in the tournament, will travel to NYC for the NIT Semifinals to face No. 2 seed Maryland (25-12) Tuesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 9:30 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden. The Hawkeyes advanced to the NIT semifinals for the first time in school history with a 75-64 triumph at Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. The win snapped the Cavaliers' 19-game home win streak, which was the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.  Iowa has won 10 of the last 13 games and have done so by an average of 13.2 points per game.

[FOUR // chicago’s cats celebrating coach chris collins]
Northwestern has hired Chris Collins as head men's basketball coach, it was announced on Wednesday. Collins becomes the 24th head coach of the Wildcats men's basketball program. A native of Northbrook, Ill., Collins has served at Duke since 2000, and was named Associate Head Coach in 2008.

[FIVE // big ten’s final four]
Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-America Teams, it was announced on Monday. Oladipo and Burke were named first-team honorees, giving the Big Ten the most first-team recipients and overall selections. The complete list can be found by clicking here.

[SIX // big ten women’s basketball season concludes]
Illinois and Nebraska suffered losses this past week to officially bring the Big Ten women’s basketball season to a close.  The 24th-ranked Huskers fell 53-45 to No. 5 Duke on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Norfolk Regional semifinal.  Sixth-seeded Nebraska, which advanced to its second Sweet 16 in the last four years, ended the season with a 25-9 overall record that included a 12-4 Big Ten mark and a conference runner-up finish. Illinois, which was vying for a chance to play for a WNIT Championship, had its 2012-13 season ended by Kansas State on Saturday.  The Wildcats bested the Illini by a score of 66-48.  The Orange and Blue finished 19-14, their best winning percentage since going 19-12 in 2006-07, and the run to the WNIT quarterfinals equaled the deepest postseason advancement in school history.

[SEVEN // washington worthy]
Penn State's women's basketball coach Coquese Washington is in the running for National Coach of the Year accolades by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Named Region 6 Coach of the Year last Monday for the second consecutive season by the group, Washington is one of eight coaches in the running for the WBCA national honor. Washington led the Lady Lions to their second straight Big Ten Championship and was named conference Coach of the Year by the media after leading the team to a 24-4 regular season record and a 14-2 mark in Big Ten play.

[EIGHT // lucas longing for the wade]
Penn State women's basketball standout Maggie Lucas was named a finalist for the 2013 State Farm Wade Trophy, it was announced on Wednesday. The award, given annually to the nation's most outstanding player, will be presented at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Awards Show on April 8. Voted the Big Ten Player of the Year, Lucas finished as the conference's third-leading scorer at 20.1 points per game. The junior is seventh in Lady Lion history with 1,857 points and is on pace to become the fifth member of Penn State's 2,000-point club. Lucas also ranks second in Penn State history and third in Big Ten annals with 293 career three-pointers made. 

[NINE // milestone moments]
A trio of “milestone moments” took place this past week in the sports of baseball, softball and tennis.  Beginning with baseball, congratulations to the Indiana Hoosiers, who by way of a 6-4 decision over Iowa on Sunday, captured their school-record 15th consecutive win.  The 1996 Indiana squad took 15 straight games as well, with three coming against Division-II competition.  The Hoosiers (22-3, 6-0) sit atop the Big Ten standings after two weeks of conference play and have won 20 of the last 21 games overall.  Staying on the diamond, a tip of the cap to Michigan head softball coach Carol Hutchins, who earned her 1,300th career win following a 7-4 victory at Penn State on Friday.  Hutchins is just the third NCAA softball coach to reach that plateau.  And now staying in the state of Michigan, kudos to Michigan State head men’s tennis coach Gene Orlando, who recorded his 300th career victory following a 6-1 win at Purdue on Sunday.

[TEN // former big ten standouts shine on pga tour]
A handful of former Big Ten golfers shined on golf’s biggest stage this past week at the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open.  Congratulations to former Illinois golfer D.A. Points on earning his second career PGA Tour win.  He shot a final-round 6-under-par 66 to win by one at 16-under overall.  A couple of Indiana Hoosiers posted top-30 results, including Steve Wheatcroft, who made quite the headlines this past week.  Wheatcroft, who had to qualify on Monday just to get in the tournament, carded a pair of bogey-free rounds of 67 to sit atop the leaderboard heading into Saturday.  He finished the event tied for 22nd, just one stroke ahead of former Hoosier Jeff Overton in a 27th-place tie at 7-under 281.  Former Illini Steve Stricker finished tied for 38th at 5-under 283 for the tournament.

[ELEVEN // gophers, badgers conclude hockey seasons in ncaa play]
Minnesota and Wisconsin fell in the first round of the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament this past Friday. The top-seeded Golden Gophers were bested by fourth-seeded Yale, 3-2, in overtime, while the fourth-seeded Badgers fell to top-seeded UMass Lowell, 6-1.  Next year, the winner of the inaugural Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship.  In June of 2011, the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors established men’s ice hockey as an official conference sport beginning with the 2013-14 academic year, which will feature a 20-game conference schedule with each team playing the other five schools four times. Tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, to be held Thursday-Saturday, March 20-22, 2014, are now on sale.

[TWELVE // working hard in the winter]
Finally this week, the Big Ten recognized this past Wednesday a total of 620 winter sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team. The list of honored student-athletes features 38 men's and 54 women's basketball players, 53 men's and 50 women's gymnasts, 124 men's and 211 women's swimmers and divers and 90 wrestlers. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.  At least nine of these student-athletes have maintained unblemished GPAs.  Congratulations to all our wonderful student-athletes on continued academic success!