This Week in the Big Ten

WNBA President Laurel Richie poses with Ohio State's Tayler Hill after being drafted No. 4 overall by Washington Mystics during the 2013 WNBA Draft Presented By State Farm on April 15.

April 22, 2013

[ONE // a-maize-ing performance]
Congratulations to the Michigan men’s gymnastics team on capturing the 2013 NCAA Championship this past week.  The Wolverines took home the national title and U-M junior Sam Mikulak was crowned the all-around champion on the campus of Penn State on Saturday night. The title marked the Wolverines’ second national championship in four years and their fifth overall. The crown was the third championship by a Big Ten school in the last four years, as Illinois claimed the national title last season.  The Wolverines finished the session with a score of 443.200, defeating second-place Oklahoma, which finished with a score of 440.100 during the final rotation. Penn State, Iowa and Illinois also competed in the team final, with the Nittany Lions posting a fourth-place finish with 436.100 points, the Hawkeyes finishing fifth with 426.450 points and the Illini placing sixth with 422.550 points.  In addition, four conference standouts took home national titles, and combined for five of the six individual titles, on the final day of the NCAA Championships on Sunday. Michigan’s Sam Mikulak won the high bar competition for the second consecutive year and earned the parallel bars crown. Illinois’ Fred Hartville took home the vault championship, Ohio State’s Michael Newburger won the pommel horse competition and Penn State’s Trevor Howard placed first in the floor exercise.

[TWO // a perfect (top) 10 result]
Michigan’s Joanna Sampson took home the floor exercise title, one of seven top-10 efforts by five combined Big Ten gymnasts at the individual event finals on the final day of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships on Sunday. To go along with Sampson’s individual crown, teammate Katie Zurales, Minnesota’s Lindsay Mable and Hanna Nordquist and Nebraska’s Emily Wong each recorded top-10 efforts at the championships.  Sampson recorded a score of 9.9375 to win the floor exercise title, while Wong followed in third (9.9125) and Mable tied for fourth (9.9000). Mable and Wong also finished in the top 10 on the vault, as Mable tied for fifth (9.9000) and Wong placed 10th (9.8833). Nordquist and Zurales tied for second on the balance beam with a score of 9.8875.

[THREE // sharing is caring]
The No. 6-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team wrapped up its fourth consecutive Big Ten regular-season championship with a 7-0 win at Ohio State on Sunday at the Varsity Indoor Center in Ann Arbor.  Michigan, which finished with a 10-1 conference mark, shares the title with Nebraska, which sealed its first-ever Big Ten regular season title.  It also marked Nebraska's first regular-season conference title since winning the Big Eight title in 1978. 

[FOUR // buckeyes bound for top seed]
The fifth-ranked Ohio State men’s tennis team won its eighth-consecutive Big Ten regular-season title Sunday when it beat No. 26 Michigan, 4-0, in Ann Arbor. The championship marks the Buckeyes’ 11th overall as they were co-champions in 1915 and winners in 1931 and 1943 as well.  Ohio State finished the regular season atop the Big Ten standings with an 11-0 conference record.  OSU will now serve as host of the Big Ten Tennis Tournament for the first time since 2002.  In all, the Scarlet and Gray have won the conference tournament eight times – 1991, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

[FIVE // tennis tourney time]
The Big Ten announced the seedings and pairings for the 2013 B1G Men’s Tennis Tournament on Sunday.  Big Ten Champion and No. 1 Ohio State received a bye into the quarterfinals, while Minnesota was seeded No. 2, followed by Michigan, Illinois and Northwestern in the top five.  Indiana garnered the sixth seed, followed by No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 9 Purdue, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 11 Penn State and No. 12 Iowa.  The tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday, with first-round matches starting at 9 a.m. ET at Ohio State’s Varsity Tennis Courts. Friday’s quarterfinal matches also begin at 9 a.m., while Saturday will showcase the tournament semifinals starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday’s championship match is scheduled for Noon.

[SIX // time to tune in]
The Big Ten Network is the home for complete coverage of Big Ten spring championships in May, televising events in the sports of baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, rowing, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. In all, BTN will televise more than 50 hours of coverage, including the entire Big Ten Baseball Tournament.  Broadcast coverage of the Big Ten’s spring championships begins at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, May 6, with the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament from Indiana, followed by the Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament at 7 p.m. ET hosted by Ohio State. The Illinois men’s and Purdue women’s teams look to defend their Big Ten Tournament crowns from a year ago.  For a complete look at the broadcast schedule, click here.

[SEVEN // wildcats’ wrigley]
On a magical night at Wrigley Field, the Northwestern Wildcats, behind a complete-game, three-hit shutout from senior Luke Farrell blanked the Michigan Wolverines in the first game of a key three-game series, 6-0.  Farrell matched a career high by going nine innings on the bump. He retired the first 12 Wolverines he faced before a single to center field broke up his no-hit bid in the fifth inning. The right-hander finished with nine strikeouts and allowed just three hits in his second win of the season.   The game at Wrigley Field was the first event that is part of an innovative, multi-year agreement and reciprocal marketing partnership that paves the way for several of Northwestern's 19 varsity programs to play at the Friendly Confines. The ballpark at the corner of Clark and Addison streets in Chicago will also host the Wildcats in lacrosse, soccer and football games, among others, in upcoming years.

[EIGHT // spring ball]
Three Big Ten football teams wrapped up spring practice on Saturday, including spring games for Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin. In Michigan State’s Green & White Game, the White defeated the Green 24-17, while Penn State’s Blue knocked off the White 67-47.  The Cardinal team, composed of Wisconsin's defensive unit, forced their offensive counterparts on the White squad to go three-and-out on three straight possessions around halftime, a swing that -- given the game's unique scoring system -- proved to be the difference in a 61-47 win in front of 12,050 fans Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

[NINE // a new coach in columbus]
Kevin McGuff has been named head coach of the Ohio State women's basketball team, as announced by the university on Tuesday. McGuff recently competed his 11th year as a head coach. The last two were at the University of Washington and the previous nine at Xavier University. He has compiled an overall record of 255-99 and has reached the postseason each year.

[TEN // drafted to play at the next level]
Four Big Ten women's basketball standouts were taken in the 2013 WNBA Draft this past Monday night. Ohio State's Tayler Hill was picked fourth overall by the Washington Mystics, Nebraska's Lindsey Moore was chosen by the Minnesota Lynx with the 12th pick, Penn State's Alex Bentley was taken 13th by the Atlanta Dream and fellow Lady Lion Nikki Greene was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with 26th selection.

[ELEVEN // promoted for postgraduate work]
Two student-athletes from the University of Nebraska – Katelyn White and Sean Fisher – have been chosen as the 2013 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award recipients by the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership. The award is an annual scholarship recognizing one male and one female Big Ten senior student-athlete pursuing a postgraduate degree for achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership. In recognition of the Big Ten’s leadership in fully integrating athletics into the academic mission of its member institutions, the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership initiated the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award in 2008. Each Big Ten institution was asked to nominate one male and one female student-athlete for 2013, with a $10,000 scholarship awarded to each winner.  The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is named for the former Big Ten Conference commissioner who served from 1971-89.

[TWELVE // strike force]
Finally this week, a tip of the cap goes to the Nebraska bowling team, which captured its fourth NCAA title in school history Saturday night, as the top-ranked Huskers defeated Vanderbilt, 4.5-2.5 (211-199, 166-197, 156-169,190-190, 202-182, 246-200) at Super Bowl Lanes in Canton, Mich., in front of a national television audience.  The Huskers have won four NCAA titles since bowling became an NCAA sanctioned sports in 2003, while this year’s title was the first for Nebraska since 2009. NU also won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005. In the first 10 years of NCAA sponsorship, the Huskers have finished first or second five times.