April 25, 2008
by Jeff Smith
[ONE // championship week begins with men's tennis]
Thursday was a busy day around the Big Ten as two conference championships got underway, while another two were preparing for Friday's opening rounds. We start in Iowa where the Hawkeyes are hosting the Men's Tennis Championships. Three matches took place on Thursday with No. 8 Iowa defeating No. 9 Purdue (4-0), No. 6 Indiana ousting No. 11 Northwestern (4-0) and No. 7 Michigan beating No. 10 Michigan State (4-1). Four quarterfinal matches are set for Thursday and live scoring for each contest can be found by clicking here. A preview of the tournament, which concludes Sunday with the championship match at noon CT, can be accessed by following this link. In addition, congratulations to Ohio State's Bryan Koniecko and Ty Tucker, and Wisconsin's Marek Michalicka, as the three were named Big Ten Athlete, Coach and Freshman of the Year, respectively, on Thursday. A complete list of All-Conference and Sportsmanship Award honorees can be found here.
[TWO // ...and now to women's tennis]
The posted preview of the Women's Tennis Championships tells us that top-ranked Northwestern is looking for its 10th straight conference title this weekend at Purdue. The Wildcats were paired with Minnesota in Friday's quarterfinal after the eighth-seeded Golden Gophers topped No. 9 seed and host Boilermakers (4-2) on Thursday. No. 7 Iowa and No. 11 Wisconsin were also first day winners, as the Hawkeyes defeated Penn State (4-1) and the Badgers upset No. 6 Michigan State (4-2). Live scoring, results and recaps can be followed by clicking on this link. We also congratulate Northwestern's Maria Mosolova and Claire Pollard on taking home postseason honors. Mosolova was named the conference's Athlete and Freshman of the Year, while Pollard was selected as Coach of the Year. Additional All-Conference honors can be found here.
[THREE // men's golf teams ready to vie for the conference title]
Friday marked the start of the 89th Men's Golf Championship, which is being held this weekend at the Forest Akers West course at Michigan State. The teams teed off Friday morning for 36 holes of action and will play one 18-hole round on Saturday and Sunday each. The host Spartans are not only the highest ranked conference team - 24th in the nation - but they are also the co-defending champions along with Minnesota. Last year marked the first time in tournament history co-champions were named. Michigan State and Golfstat.com will provide live hole-by-hole coverage, which can be found here. This weekend's event also marks the return to campus for former Spartan and current Iowa head coach Mark Hankins. Featured last week on bigten.org, Hankins guided the Spartans to a pair of conference titles and is now hoping to do the same in Iowa City.
[FOUR // women's golf squads head to penn state]
Penn State will serve as host of the 26th annual Women's Golf Championships this weekend at the Blue Course in University Park, Pa. The 36-18-18 hole format will be the same as the men's, with action beginning on Friday. Michigan State captured last year's championship on its home course and will look for its fourth overall title this weekend. Four teams - No. 6 Purdue, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 40 Ohio State and No. 43 Indiana - are ranked among Golfweek/Sagarin's Top 50. Live scoring can be found by accessing this link.
[FIVE // and where can you see all these championships?]
The Big Ten Network of course! Continuing its impressive first year of televising all that is Big Ten, the BTN announced Tuesday that it will broadcast eight conference championships this spring. Sports such as baseball, men's and women's golf, softball, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's outdoor track and field will have their respective championships televised between May 4 and May 24 in high definition. For a complete schedule, which includes what action will be broadcast live or by tape delay, click on this link.
[SIX // wolverines miss out on super six; women's gymnasts advance]
Big Ten champion Michigan finished Thursday's preliminaries of the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships by missing out on Friday's Super Six finals. Michigan was fifth out of six teams in the afternoon session with a score of 196.075, falling shy of third-place Stanford's 196.900. Several Big Ten competitors found success at the national meet, including Illinois freshman Allison Buckley, who became the school's first All-American Thursday with a sixth-place score of 9.825 on the balance beam, which was good for second-team honors. Minnesota junior Carmelina Carabajal earned an all-around score of 39.000 to place 14th in her session, giving her the top score among individual competitors, including all other Big Ten gymnasts. For more on individual results, follow the live scoring found here.
[SEVEN // big ten stars to tackle nfl draft this weekend]
As highlighted on bigten.org Tuesday and Thursday, the Big Ten will look to continue its tradition of success at this weekend's NFL Draft in New York. The Draft begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, but we know the No. 1 pick is already a member of the Big Ten family. Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday to become the top overall pick in this year's draft. Congratulations to Jake, the Wolverines, and the rest of the prospective picks from the Big Ten. To follow along with the NFL Draft, click here!
[EIGHT // spring is still in the air]
After last weekend's impressive three-and-a-half hour journey through Big Ten Country, highlighting the majority of the conference football spring contests, two schools will host their spring games on the Big Ten Network this weekend. Gopher fans can log on to bigtennetwork.com to access free streaming coverage of the game, or can head straight to the page by logging on to this link. The annual game will start at 8 p.m. ET Friday night, while Northwestern will take to the field at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. That game can be seen here. Want to relive last weekend's excitement??? Catch Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and the rest of the BTN football crew in this review.
[NINE // big ten hoopsters make nba playoffs]
Nine former Big Ten basketball standouts from seven conference teams are participating this week in the NBA Playoffs. Illinois and Iowa are each represented by two players, while the Houston Rockets boast a league-high four former Big Ten stars. Best of luck to Illinois' Deron Williams (Utah) and Luther Head (Houston); Iowa's Ryan Bowen (New Orleans) and Reggie Evans (Philadelphia); Michigan State's Morris Peterson (New Orleans); Minnesota's Bobby Jackson (Houston); Penn State's Calvin Booth (Philadelphia); Purdue's Carl Landry (Houston) and Wisconsin's Michael Finley (San Antonio).
[TEN // iowa skipper reaches 400 career wins]
Congratulations to Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm for earning his 400th career victory this week. Dahm reached the milestone on Wednesday with a 5-2 win over Northern Iowa. Dahm is in his fifth year with the Hawkeyes and is coming off a season where he took Iowa to a 31-23 mark in 2007 - the best record the school had in 14 years.
[ELEVEN // welcome jim phillips]
And finally, while we congratulated Jim Phillips back in February on his hiring as Northwestern's new director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation, we want to welcome him during his first official week of work. Phillips was introduced Tuesday in a press conference on the Wildcats' campus and the transcript and video of that event can be found by following this link. Welcome Jim, once again, to the Big Ten.