This Week in the Big Ten

Congratulations to members of the Michigan men's gymnastics team, which was crowned Big Ten Champions this past weekend.

April 7, 2013

[ONE // michigan makes finals; hawkeyes fall in final]
Making its first NCAA Final Four appearance in 20 years, the University of Michigan men's basketball team received a big lift from its bench in defeating Syracuse, 61-56, in the national semifinal round Saturday before a crowd of 75,350 at the Georgia Dome. The Wolverines (31-7) will play No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the national championship game Monday at 9:23 p.m. on CBS.  In other Big Ten basketball news, Iowa suffered a 74-54 loss to Baylor on Friday in the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament in Madison Square Garden. The Hawkeyes finished the 2012-13 season with a 25-13 record, the second most victories in school history.

[TWO // wolverines win gymnastics title; postseason honors announced]
Totaling a team score of 438.900 points, Michigan held off the field at the 2013 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships to take home the team title on Friday night on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Wolverines claimed their 16th Big Ten title and first since 2009.  Michigan held off second-place Penn State, which finished the competition with a score of 434.050 to win the championship. Minnesota earned a third-place team finish with 430.350 points, while Ohio State came in fourth with 426.600 points. Illinois came in fifth (424.450), Iowa was sixth (422.500) and Nebraska (416.250) rounded out the team standings.  Michigan’s Sam Mikulak was crowned the Big Ten all-around champion for the second time, as he first took the crown in 2010.  The second day of the 2013 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships saw individual event winners crowned and All-Conference teams and award winners announced on Saturday night. Four schools won event titles, including three from Big Ten Champion Michigan and one each from Illinois, Iowa and Penn State.  The individual award winners and All-Big Ten teams were announced following competition on Saturday Mikulak was voted Big Ten Gymnast of the Year for the second time, as he also earned the honor in 2011. A Wolverine has claimed Gymnast of the Year honors four times in the last five years and six times overall. Penn State’s Trevor Howard claimed Freshman of the Year accolades, the third Nittany Lion to win the award and first since Felix Aronovich in 2010. Michigan head coach Kurt Golder was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third time and first since winning back-to-back honors in 1999 and 2000.

[THREE // regional recap; big ten trio advances]
After all eight Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams were selected to NCAA Regional competition, the conference will now send three teams of those squads and six gymnasts to the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships following the conclusion of NCAA Regional competitions on Saturday night. Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota will head to the national meet after finishing among the top two at their respective regional sites, while Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State will send individual all-around competitors to the championships, scheduled for April 19-21 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.

[FOUR // burke’s hardware store]
Michigan guard Trey Burke claimed a pair of national honors on Thursday, winning the Associated Press National Player of the Year and the Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the nation's top point guard. Burke became just the second Wolverine in program history to receive the AP award, joining U-M legend Cazzie Russell, who also earned the nation's top honor in 1966.  Burke also became the first Wolverine in program history to earn the Cousy award, which has been given annually to the nation's top point guard since 2004.  A day after winning the Associated Press Player of the Year award, Burke was named the John R. Wooden Award winner and the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year on Friday morning. He is the first Wolverine to take home the Wooden Award honor and the second Wolverine to win the USBWA award, following Cazzie Russell in 1966, and the first Big Ten standout since Evan Turner in 2010 to take home both honors.

[FIVE // big ten duo unanimous all-americans]
The NCAA announced on this past Tuesday that three Big Ten standouts earned Consensus All-America honors, including two to earn unanimous distinction. The NCAA utilizes the All-America squads from the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and The Sporting News to determine consensus honorees.  Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Michigan's Trey Burke were named Unanimous First-Team All-Americans, while Indiana's Cody Zeller garnered Consensus Second-Team All-America honors. Oladipo garners Indiana's first first-team distinction since A.J. Guyton in 2000, while Burke is the first Wolverine to claim the accolade since Chris Webber in 1993.

[SIX // win with class]
Indiana guard Jordan Hulls, who led the Hoosiers to the Sweet 16 was selected Thursday as the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I men's basketball. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men's basketball coaches, national basketball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I men's basketball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, community, character and competition.  On the women’s side, two standouts were named to 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award teams, it was announced on Friday. Purdue's Drey Mingo was selected as a first-team honoree, while Iowa's Jaime Printy collected second-team recognition.

[SEVEN // sinclair swishes way to state farm title]
Indiana women's basketball player Aulani Sinclair outlasted seven other long distance shooters from around the country to win the 2013 State Farm 3-Point Championship. Sinclair tallied the second-best total of the first round with a score of 17 as the top four shooters moved on to the semifinals. The senior then put up the best score in the semis with 20 to earn a spot in the finals. In the final round, Sinclair took on Marissa Kastanek of NC State. Kastanek shot first and finished with a score of 17. Sinclair stepped up and tallied a score of 20 to take home the title. With participating in the event, Sinclair became the first player in Indiana women's basketball history to compete in the annual 3-point competition. 

[EIGHT // women’s hoops honor roll]
Eight Big Ten women's basketball standouts received All-America honors from the Associated Press, it was announced on Tuesday. Penn State's Maggie Lucas was tabbed a second-team honoree, while teammate Alex Bentley, Illinois' Karisma Penn, Minnesota's Rachel Banham, Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, Ohio State's Tayler Hill and Purdue's Drey Mingo collected honorable mention recognition.  In addition, Lucas added another All-America honor to her collection as she was named to the 10-player United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America team, it was announced on Wednesday. Lucas, who was selected as a second team Associated Press All-America, is the first Lady Lion to earn USBWA honors since Tanisha Wright in 2005.

[NINE // a coach is honored]
Former Purdue men's basketball coach Gene Keady has been elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its seven-man induction class of 2013, it was announced this past week.  Keady and the rest of the class will be officially inducted into the Hall on Nov. 24 at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City. Including his 512 wins in his 25 seasons at Purdue, Keady boasts 550 wins in his career as a Division I coach and 879 triumphs all-time in various head coaching capacities. He guided the Boilermakers to six Big Ten Championships and 22 postseason appearances.

[TEN // a coach is welcomed]
Richard Pitino has been selected as the finalist for the position of University of Minnesota men's head basketball coach. Pitino and the university have a reached an understanding in principle on the key terms of an agreement, according to Director of Athletics Norwood Teague. Pitino recently served as head coach at Florida International for the 2012-13 season, where he guided the Panthers to an 18-14 mark, snapping a 12-year streak with a losing record, and the Sun Belt Tournament championship game.

[ELEVEN // national honors for northwestern]
Northwestern sophomore Amy Letourneau swept both National Player of the Week awards this past week, earning the Louisville Slugger/NFCA honor and the USA Softball College accolade.  The awards come on the heels of being named the B1G Player of the Week this past Monday.

[TWELVE // more than a game]
Finally this week, the Big Ten kicked off its spring football season with the post of its annual prospectus and ended the week with a touching story during Nebraska’s spring game, which was featured on BTN.  It’s one that deserves watching.  Congratulations to Nebraska…and 7-year-old Jack!