This Week in the Big Ten

Incoming Northwestern freshman Matt Fitzpatrick poses with the Havemeyer Trophy after winning in the final round of match play at the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. on Sunday. (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Aug 18, 2013

[ONE // the btn bus and commissioner delany continue trip through big ten country]
Week two of the BTN’s annual fall bus tour continued through Big Ten Country this past week, visiting Purdue on Monday, Northwestern on Tuesday, Illinois on Wednesday, Wisconsin on Thursday, and Minnesota on Friday.  The tour, which has been covered by the BTN across multiple platforms here, wraps up this Monday and Tuesday in Nebraska and Iowa, respectively.  Additionally, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany stayed on the road in celebration of his 25th season leading the Big Ten.  This past week Commissioner Delany made stops at both Northwestern and Wisconsin practices.  Catch a full recap of his trips by clicking here.

[TWO // big ten football’s five in the top 25]
The Associated Press released its preseason top 25 poll on Saturday, with five Big Ten football teams ranked among the top 25. After an undefeated season in 2012, Ohio State led the way at No. 2, including one first-place vote. Other Big Ten teams among the top 25 are No. 17 Michigan, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 22 Northwestern and No. 23 Wisconsin.

[THREE // penn state picked to take volleyball title]
Defending Big Ten Champion Penn State was chosen as the conference favorite for the 2013 volleyball season as voted on by the Big Ten coaches, it was announced on Friday. Earning the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship last season, the Nittany Lions top the poll for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.  Minnesota, which finished tied for second in the Big Ten in 2012, was voted to finish second this season. Michigan, which advanced to the NCAA semifinals last season, was selected to finish third this year, while Nebraska, which also finished the 2012 conference season tied for second, was tabbed fourth in the voting. Michigan State and Illinois round out the poll at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.  Additionally, conference coaches selected a Preseason All-Big Ten Team, which features three unanimous selections and seven returning members.

[FOUR // seven squads ranked in preseason volleyball poll]
The Big Ten leads the country with seven volleyball teams ranked in the AVCA Division I Coaches 2013 Preseason Poll, including four top-10 squads, which is tied for tops among all conferences. Big Ten Champion Penn State leads the conference contingent at No. 2, followed by Minnesota at No. 6. After reaching the national semifinals last season, Michigan begins the season ranked seventh in the country, while Nebraska comes in at No. 10. Michigan State begins the season at No. 14, Purdue is No. 16 and Ohio State is No. 23. Illinois and Wisconsin are also receiving votes in the preseason rankings.  For the complete poll, click here.

[FIVE // penn state also picked in women’s soccer poll]
The Big Ten announced its 2013 women's soccer preseason coaches' poll and players to watch list on Wednesday, with defending champion Penn State earning top honors among the 12 conference teams. The Nittany Lions enter the season as the conference favorites after winning their 15th straight Big Ten title in 2012, the most consecutive titles by a Big Ten women's program in any sport. Penn State compiled a 10-0-1 record in Big Ten play (21-4-2 overall) last season and advanced to the national championship game. Michigan checks in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by Illinois (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 4) and Wisconsin (No. 5). The complete preseason coaches' poll and the players to watch list can be found by clicking here.

[SIX // trio of women’s soccer programs ranked nationally]
Three Big Ten women's soccer teams are ranked among the top 25 of the NSCAA/Continental Tire preseason poll, which was released this past Tuesday. Penn State enters the 2013 season ranked fourth overall after winning their 15th straight Big Ten title in 2012. Michigan checks in at No. 19 in the preseason poll, while defending Big Ten Tournament champion Ohio State is ranked 23rd. Notably, Illinois collected 31 votes in the preseason poll - the Fighting Illini advanced to the Big Ten Tournament Championship game last November.

[SEVEN // two men’s soccer squads ranked in preseason poll]
Defending NCAA Champion Indiana enters the 2013 men's college soccer season as the nation's No. 1 team, as announced in the NSCAA/Continental Tire preseason top 25 poll on Tuesday afternoon. The Hoosiers won their eighth national title in 2012, becoming the first No. 16 seed in history to win the championship. Northwestern, who won a share of the Big Ten Championship last season, also begins the campaign in the top 25, checking in at No. 19 in the preseason poll. Michigan, the Big Ten Tournament runner-up in 2012, also collected four votes in the poll.

[EIGHT // thirteen to watch on the pitch]
The Big Ten had 13 men's soccer players named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Top 100, which was unveiled on from Aug. 13-15. Indiana's A.J. Corrado (No. 8), Chris Ritter from Northwestern (No. 9) and Michigan's Fabio Pereira (No. 10) were all top-10 selections.  Defending national champion Indiana had a conference-high five student-athletes recognized in the Top Drawer Soccer National Top 100, followed by Northwestern (4), Michigan (2), Michigan State (1) and Wisconsin (1).

[NINE // get ready to tune in this fall]
This past week the BTN released its broadcast schedule for Big Ten fall sports, including volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, and field hockey.  Big Ten volleyball will see extensive coverage of the 2013 season, with more than 70 matches set to air on BTN, BTN2Go and the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN), with additional matches on ESPN2. Each BTN and BTDN broadcast will also be available on BTN2Go.  BTN will televise 13 Big Ten men's soccer games during the 2013 season, including seven matches throughout the conference slate, and 13 Big Ten women's soccer matches, including 10 games throughout Big Ten play.  In field hockey, BTN will televise at least nine matches this season, including the semifinals and finals of the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament. Each BTN broadcast will also be available on BTN2Go.

[TEN // notes from the hardwood]
Big Ten basketball snagged a few headlines this past week, involving the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, national attendance, and College GameDay.  On Thursday, ESPN finalized the network and time assignments for the 15th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by DICK's Sporting Goods on December 3 and 4.  The day before, the NCAA announced the Big Ten led the nation in men's basketball attendance for the 37th consecutive season. The Big Ten led all conferences with an average attendance of 13,114, which is over 2,400 more fans per game than the next-closest conference.  Also on Wednesday, ESPN announced its College GameDay will broadcast live from the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., on Jan. 25, 2014, when Michigan State hosts rival Michigan.

[ELEVEN // big ten standouts shine in gymnastics, tennis and golf]
Congratulations to three Big Ten student-athletes, one of whom is an incoming freshman, on their individual accomplishments in their respective sports this past week.  On Sunday, incoming Northwestern freshman Matt Fitzpatrick defeated Australian Oliver Goss, 4 and 3, to win the 113th United States Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Fitzpatrick is the second Englishman to ever win the U.S. Amateur and is the first in 102 years, following in Harold Hilton's footsteps from 1911.  Also on Sunday, Michigan senior Sam Mikulak became the first Wolverine men's gymnast in program history to capture an all-around United States championship, winning the event at the 2013 P&G U.S. Championships with a two-day score of 181.40.  In one year, Mikulak has captured the Big Ten, NCAA and United States all-around titles, the only three all-around events he has entered this season.  In tennis, Michigan State senior Drew Lied upset top-seeded Chris Diaz of Ohio State to win the men's singles draw at the ITA/USTA National Summer Championships this past Tuesday. With the victory, Lied received an automatic bid into the main draw of the 2013 ITA Men's All-American Championships, held in Tulsa, Okla., beginning Sept. 28.

[TWELVE // making the big ten bigger]
Finally this week, the Big Ten Conference announced the hiring of staff members Kimberly Smith, Brandon Winbush, Tony Buyniski, Brian Keidel, Adam Augustine and Brett McWethy, and a promotion for Brenda Hilton. Smith was hired as the Director of Human Resources; Winbush will serve as the conference's Director of Information Technology; Buyniski and Keidel each joined the Big Ten's Video Services division, and Augustine and McWethy will both serve as Associate Directors of Communications. Hilton was promoted to Director of Building Services.