April 23, 2012
[ONE // illinois men’s gymnastics wins national championship]
Illinois rallied from more than two points down with two rotations to go to claim the 2012 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championship on Friday night. It marked the Illini’s first national title since 1989 and the third championship by a Big Ten school in the last six years (Penn State in 2007, Michigan in 2010). The Illini finished the session with a score of 358.850, racing past second-place and host Oklahoma, which finished with 357.450 points, during the final rotation. Penn State and Michigan also competed in the team final, with the NIttany Lions placing third with 354.800 points and the Wolverines finishing sixth with 351.050 points. Trailing by more than two points heading into the pommel horse, the team’s second-to-last event, Illinois posted a program record score of 60.750 to close the deficit to within a point. A 58.750 team total on the high bar, their final event, allowed the Illini to secure the team championship, the 10th in program history.
[TWO // illini’s ruggeri wins top gymnastics honor]
Congratulations to Illinois senior gymnast Paul Ruggeri on winning the 2012 Nissen-Emery Award, presented annually to the nation's top senior male gymnast. He is the fourth Illinois gymnast to win the award which honors career excellence in gymnastics along with good sportsmanship and high academic performance. Ruggeri is a seven-time All-American, three-time NCAA Champion, five-time U.S. senior national team member and six-time Big Ten Champion.
[THREE // huskers lead the way at ncaa women’s gymnastics championship]
Nebraska gymnasts posted three top-10 finishes in the individual event finals during the last day of competition at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships on Sunday to conclude the Big Ten gymnastics season. Jessie DeZiel, Janelle Giblin and Emily Wong each placed in the top 10 of their respective events for the Huskers. DeZiel tied for sixth on floor exercise, posting a 9.900. Giblin also recorded a sixth-place finish, earning a 9.7625 on the vault, while Wong finished with a mark of 9.825 on the balance beam, good for a 10th-place showing.
[FOUR // buckeyes earn big ten men’s tennis title]
Ohio State clinched the Big Ten Men’s Tennis Championship on Sunday, claiming a 6-1 win over No. 21 Michigan en route to the outright title. The third-ranked Buckeyes closed the regular season with a perfect 11-0 record in Big Ten play and a 29-2 overall mark to take their seventh-straight and 11th overall conference title. Ohio State clinched a share of the crown on Wednesday after earning a 7-0 win over Purdue. Sunday’s win also will give the Buckeyes the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament.
[FIVE // men’s tennis tournament bracket announced]
Speaking of the Big Ten Tournament, the conference office announced the seedings and pairings for the postseason event on Sunday, with conference champion Ohio State taking the No. 1 seed and a bye into the quarterfinals. Michigan finished the regular season 9-2 in conference matches and 16-6 overall en route to the No. 2 seed. Illinois (14-7 overall, 8-3 Big Ten) follows at No. 3 after earning the head-to-head tiebreaker over fourth-seeded Minnesota (13-6, 8-3). The top four seeds in the tournament receive first-round byes and begin play in Friday’s quarterfinals. Indiana (21-8, 7-4) earns the fifth seed, owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over Northwestern. The Hoosiers will take on No.12 Iowa (1-21, 0-11) in the first round, with the winner moving on to face the Golden Gophers. The sixth-seeded Wildcats (14-9, 7-4) will take on No. 11 Penn State (11-13, 1-10), with the winner advancing to face the Fighting Illini in the quarterfinals. Michigan State (17-10, 6-5) claims the seventh-seed and will take on 10th-seeded Purdue (10-15, 2-9), with the Wolverines awaiting in the second round, while the winner of No. 8 Wisconsin (12-11, 4-7) and No. 9 Nebraska (10-14, 3-8) will face the top-seeded Buckeyes. The tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday, with first-round matches taking place at 9:30 a.m. CT at Northwestern’s Vandy Christie Tennis Center. Friday’s quarterfinal matches begin at 9:30 a.m., while Saturday will showcase the tournament semifinals starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday’s championship match is scheduled for Noon. BTN will air the championship match on Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m. ET.
[SIX // michigan, northwestern share women’s tennis title]
On the women’s side, Michigan and Northwestern clinched a share of the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Championship on Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats claimed their 14th title in program history, while the Wolverines earned their fourth Big Ten crown. With Northwestern’s 7-0 victory over No. 47 Indiana on Sunday afternoon, the 12th-ranked Wildcats clinched a share of the Big Ten title. Northwestern finished 10-1 in Big Ten play and 17-7 overall en route to the regular season crown. The Wildcats earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Michigan. The 14th-ranked Wolverines clinched a share of their fourth Big Ten title after defeating No. 62 Ohio State, 5-2 in Ann Arbor, Mich. U-M finished with a 10-1 conference slate and a 17-6 overall record, earning the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.
[SEVEN // women’s tennis tournament bracket released]
And now that you know the first two seeds in the upcoming Big Ten Women’s Tennis Tournament, here are the rest of the seeds! Illinois (17-6 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) enters the event as the No. 3 seed after earning the head-to-head tiebreaker over fourth-seeded Nebraska (23-3, 9-2). The top four seeds in the tournament receive first-round byes and begin competition on Friday. Purdue (14-6, 6-5) holds the No. 5 seed and will battle No. 12 Michigan State (8-14, 0-11) in the first round, with the winner advancing to face the fourth-seeded Huskers. Indiana, Ohio State and Penn finished at 4-7 in conference play, creating a three-way tie for the seventh seed. By virtue of a 2-0 record against the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions, the Hoosiers claim the No. 7 seed in the tournament, while Penn State earns the eighth seed based on head-to-head results against Ohio State. The Hoosiers (15-10, 4-7) will take on No. 10 Wisconsin (12-11, 3-8) in the first round, with the second-seeded Wolverines awaiting the winner in the quarterfinals. The Nittany Lions (12-10, 4-7) will face off against No. 9 Ohio State (9-15, 4-7), and the winner will meet the top-seeded Wildcats in Round 2. The tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday, with first-round matches beginning at 10 a.m. ET at Ohio State’s Varsity Tennis Center. Friday will feature quarterfinal matches beginning at 10 a.m., while Saturday will showcase the tournament semifinals starting at 10 a.m. Sunday’s championship match is scheduled for Noon ET. BTN will air the championship match on tape delay on Wednesday, May 9 at 6 p.m. ET.
[EIGHT // big ten spring championships coming to btn]
The Big Ten Network is the home for complete coverage of Big Ten spring championships in May, televising events in the sports of baseball, men's and women's golf, rowing, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's outdoor track and field. Each of these events will be produced in high definition. Broadcast coverage of the Big Ten's spring championships begins at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 9, with the Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament from Ohio State. The Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament, hosted by Northwestern, is at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 10. The Ohio State men's and Northwestern women's teams look to defend their Big Ten Tournament crowns from a year ago. The Big Ten Men's Golf Championships will air at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 13, with the Big Ten Women's Golf Championships directly following at 11 a.m. ET. Both will be televised from French Lick, Ind. The Illinois men's team and Michigan State women's team will both look to defend their titles from 2011. Coverage continues on BTN with men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, rowing, and baseball hit the airwaves in late May. For a complete look at the BTN’s Big Ten Championship schedule, click here.
[NINE // spring football update]
Three Big Ten football teams held their annual spring football games on Saturday, including two programs with first-year head coaches. At Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Urban Meyer saw his Scarlet team defeated the Gray team, 20-14, on a nippy, gray afternoon in the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game. Braxton Miller threw for 258 yards and Rod Smith capped his 47-yard rushing day with a winning touchdown run from seven yards out. In a battle of offense versus defense, the blue-clad defensive squad posted a 77-65 win over offensive unit wearing the white uniforms in the Beaver Stadium debut of head coach Bill O'Brien in front of an estimated 60,000 fans at the annual Blue-White Game presented by AAA. On the complete flip side of things, fans of defensive football were all smiles Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium as Minnesota wrapped up its 2012 spring with the annual Maroon and Gold game. A lone 21-yard field goal from Chris Hawthorne proved to be the difference as the Maroon eked out 3-0 win in a shortened spring game that featured a running clock and just two 25-minute halves.
[TEN // a wolverine welcome]
Michigan named Kim Barnes Arico as its new head women's basketball coach on Friday. Barnes Arico arrives in Ann Arbor after spending the past 10 seasons at St. John's, guiding the Red Storm to a Sweet 16 in last year's NCAA Tournament and back-to-back second round appearances in 2010-11. Throughout her 10 seasons at St. John's, Barnes Arico built the Red Storm into a national power and one of the elite teams in the Big East Conference. She guided St. John's to four NCAA Tournament appearances, with the Red Storm advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2012 after back-to-back second round appearances the previous two tournaments (2010, '11). In 2006, she led St. John's to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988. Barnes Arico led her Red Storm teams into postseason competition seven of her 10 seasons, with four NCAA Tournament berths and three WNIT appearances. She reached at least the second round of each national tournament in all seven appearances. The winningest women's basketball coach in St. John's history, Barnes Arico compiled a 176-133 overall record with the Red Storm, with five 20-win campaigns, including three straight to end her tenure. She was twice named Big East Coach of the Year (2006, 2012) and had 11 of her players earn All-Big East honors and six receive All-Rookie team selection.
[ELEVEN // prahalis set to play on big stage]
Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis became the 14th Big Ten player in history selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft when she was drafted sixth overall by the Phoenix Mercury on Monday. She became the 69th Big Ten player chosen in the 16-year history of the WNBA Draft. Prahalis was named Big Ten Player of the Year in 2012 after leading the conference in assists and scoring during the Big Ten season. The Commack, N.Y., native also set the Big Ten record for most assists in a career with 901, becoming the first player in Big Ten history to finish with more than 900 assists. She is also one of only two players in NCAA history to record 2,000 points and 900 assists in a career. Prahalis helped guide Ohio State to two Big Ten Championships and three conference tournament titles. She becomes the second conference player to be drafted in the first round in as many years, following former teammate Jantel Lavender, who was selected fifth overall in 2011 by the Los Angeles Sparks.
[TWELVE // here comes hockey]
Finally this week, with men's ice hockey set to become an official Big Ten sport with the 2013-14 academic year, the conference office announced this past Thursday that the Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournaments will be held at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., in 2014 and 2016, and at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich., in 2015 and 2017. The inaugural Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament will be held March 20-22, 2014, at Xcel Energy Center. The tournament moves to Joe Louis Arena the following year and will be held March 19-21, 2015, and March 16-18, 2017, in Detroit. The 2016 event will return to Saint Paul and be held March 17-19. Tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament in Saint Paul are expected to go on sale in the summer of 2013. The tournament will feature all six teams - Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin - in a single-elimination format. Thursday's quarterfinals will feature the No. 3 seed facing the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed battling the No. 5 seed. The top two seeds will open tournament play in the Friday semifinals, with the No. 1 seed against either the No. 4 or 5 seed and the No. 2 seed facing the No. 3 or 6 seed. The championship game will be held on Saturday.