This Week in the Big Ten

Nebraska's Jordan Hooper was one of several women's basketball standouts who earned All-America honors this past week.

Nebraska's Jordan Hooper was one of several women's basketball standouts who earned All-America honors this past week.

April 7, 2014

[ONE // hoops season concludes with nit title, final four run]
Minnesota secured the Big Ten's 10th NIT Championship on Thursday, defeating SMU at Madison Square Garden, 65-63. Senior Austin Hollins led all scorers with 19 points, and was joined in double figures by Andre Hollins (14) and Deandre Mathieu (13). Under the leadership of first-year head coach Richard Pitino, Minnesota, which also captured the 1993 NIT title, set a school record for overall wins this season.  On Saturday, four Badgers scored in double figures, but a three-pointer by Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison denied Wisconsin a trip to the NCAA National Championship game, as UW fell 74-73 at AT&T Stadium.  The Badgers' Ben Brust and Sam Dekker both scored a team-high 15 points, and were joined in double figures by Traevon Jackson and Bronson Koenig.

[TWO // all-american men]
Three Big Ten standouts were named Associated Press (AP) and Wooden Award All-Americans this past Monday. Michigan's Nik Stauskas was named to the 10-member Wooden team and was a second-team AP All-American. Michigan State's Gary Harris and Adreian Payne were both named AP All-America honorable mention selections.

[THREE // defending his craft]
Ohio State's Aaron Craft was named a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American in the sport of collegiate men's basketball on Thursday.  Craft was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award in mid-February along with Penn State's Tim Frazier. Craft, who was named the NABC National Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, is a two-time Academic All-America of the Year. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard, and was named to the Allstate Good Works Team. For more on Craft's career, CLICK HERE.  

[FOUR // all-america accolades roll in for women’s hoop standouts]
A number of All-America honors were handed out this past week in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four, with the Big Ten well-represented by several players.  Last Monday, Penn State senior Maggie Lucas was named a USBWA All-American.  Lucas earned the honor for the second straight year, becoming the second Lady Lion to earn multiple USBWA All-America accolades, joining three-time honoree Kelly Mazzante.  Lucas was one of five conference standouts honored last Tuesday as All-Americans by the Associated Press.  Nebraska's Jordan Hooper garnered second-team accolades, Lucas was named to the third team and Iowa's Samantha Logic, Minnesota's Rachel Banham and Nebraska's Rachel Theriot were named honorable mention selections.  Finally, Nebraska’s Hooper was named to the 10-member WBCA All-America Team, it was announced on Saturday.  In addition, Iowa's Logic, Minnesota’s Banham and Amanda Zahui B. and Penn State's Lucas were among those named WBCA Honorable Mention All-Americans. Zahui is one of two freshmen to earn honorable mention distinction.

[FIVE // penn state’s taylor wins hodge trophy]
Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler David Taylor, firmly established as one of collegiate wrestling's all-time greats, was named this past week as the 2014 Dan Hodge Trophy Winner, collegiate wrestling's Heisman Trophy. Taylor, who recently capped off a stellar collegiate career with an unbeaten season and his second NCAA individual title, won the award for the second time. For just the third time in the 20-year history of the Dan Hodge Trophy, college wrestling's top award will go to same individual more than once in a career. Taylor dominated the official ballots in the same way he did opponents on the mat, winning 38 of the 43 official votes from the Hodge Trophy Voting Committee. Taylor joins his coach and three-time winner Cael Sanderson (2000-2002) and Missouri's Ben Askren (2006-07) as the only multiple-time winners in the two-decade history of the award, as he also won the Hodge in 2012. A wrestler from a Big Ten school has taken home the honor on eight occasions, including six out of the last seven years.

[SIX // seven teams something to flip about]
The 2014 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics National Championships qualifier selections were announced this past Tuesday by the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Committee, with all seven Big Ten men's gymnastics teams earning a spot.  The national qualifier, which consists of two pre-qualifying sessions, will be conducted April 10 at the Crisler Center on the campus of Michigan. Three teams and the top three all-around competitors not on one of the qualifying teams, plus the top three individuals on each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor, will advance from each pre-qualifying session to the finals session. Final competitions will take place April 11-12, also at Michigan.  The Wolverines won the 2013 title with a team score of 443.200.  For qualifying teams, individuals and scores, click here.

[SEVEN // big ten’s final four gets nod for ncaa championships]
After all eight Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams were named to the NCAA Regional Championships, four conference squads have scored their way to the NCAA Championships, as Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State all advanced to the national meet, which will be held April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala.  The Fighting Illini will make their second consecutive appearance and fourth overall. The Wolverines will make their 21st appearance in program history, while the Cornhuskers advanced for the 22nd time in school history. The Nittany Lions will be making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2009.

[EIGHT // gymnasts garner all-america honors]
Seven Big Ten women's gymnasts earned All-America honors by the National Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches Association this past week. Gymnasts are chosen based on their final individual ranks in all four positions and the all-around entering NCAA Regional competition. The top eight gymnasts in each event based on Regional Qualifying Scores are given first-team honors, while gymnasts ranked ninth through 16th are given second-team honors. Michigan's Joanna Sampson and Austin Sheppard, Minnesota's Lindsay Mable and Nebraska's Emily Wong were named to the first team, while Illinois' Amber See, Nebraska's Jessie DeZiel and Penn State's Kassidy Stauder earned second-team honors.

[NINE // ticket talk]
Single-session tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Baseball Tournament at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha are now on sale to the general public. The tournament is scheduled to span five days from Wednesday, May 21 through Sunday, May 25, with a minimum of 13 games and a maximum of 15 games set to be played at the home of the College World Series.  Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting the CenturyLink Center Box Office.  Single-session tickets are priced as follows: club level ($13.50), reserved ($11), college student/18-under ($6). Children two and under will not need a ticket. Single-game general admission tickets will be available the day of the game for $9.

[TEN // diamond notes]
No. 24 Indiana is back in the national baseball rankings and back on top the Big Ten standings at 7-1.  At Iowa, the Hoosiers took the first two outings out of the three-game series that ends Monday, thanks in large part to the long ball.  IU went deep four times in Saturday’s 6-3 victory and hit another four home runs Sunday in the 14-3 win.  Illinois sits second overall in the Big Ten standings at 5-1, followed by Penn State (4-1), Nebraska (4-2), and Minnesota (5-4).  In softball, Michigan has continued its unbeaten streak in conference play, moving to 9-0 in Big Ten action following a three-game sweep of rival Ohio State in which the Wolverines outscored the Buckeyes 20-1.  Purdue sits second in the softball standings at 7-2, followed by Minnesota at 6-2 and a four-way tie at 5-4 that includes Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State.

[ELEVEN // sappingfield honored for class work]
Michigan's Nicole Sappingfield has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate softball.  Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through May 12. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS award winner will be announced during the 2014 Women's College World Series (May 29-June 4).  Sappingfield is a two-time All-Big Ten selection and has twice been named an Academic All-Big Ten honoree. To be eligible for the award, a NCAA Division I student-athlete must have notable achievements in four categories: community, classroom, character and competition. The acronym CLASS stands for "Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School."

[TWELVE // wolverines on gridiron for great cause]
Finally this week, the Michigan football team held its annual Mott Spring Game presented by PNC Bank on Saturday in front of nearly 15,000 fans at Michigan Stadium. The spring game served as the concluding event of the Wolverines' 2014 spring practices. For the fifth consecutive year, the game raised money for U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Since 2010, the event has earned more than $1 million for the hospital. The team started with positional drills and special teams practice before moving to the full-squad scrimmage. For more information, click on this link.