This Week in the Big Ten

Aug. 29, 2010

[ONE // here’s to hoops]
Every Big Ten men’s basketball conference regular-season and tournament game will be nationally broadcast for the fourth consecutive year, the conference announced on Thursday. The Big Ten’s media agreements result in more than 100 games appearing on CBS Sports, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network in the 2010-11 season.  Big Ten men’s basketball will reach a live national audience on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday during the conference season. The Big Ten slate will open on Monday, Dec. 27, with Indiana hosting Penn State at 6:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. The ESPN family will broadcast its first game of the conference schedule the following day on ESPN2 as Minnesota travels to Wisconsin for a 7 p.m. ET tip. CBS Sports will air its first contest of the Big Ten season on Saturday, Jan. 22, when Ohio State heads to Illinois for a Noon ET contest.

[TWO // big ten network signs on to cover majority of men’s hoops games]
The Big Ten Network will once again televise the bulk of the 2010-11 Big Ten Conference men's basketball schedule, with 61 intra-conference game telecasts this season, it was announced Thursday. Overall, the network will televise 108 men's basketball games, all in high definition, including three contests at the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. Since the network's launch, every home Big Ten men's basketball game has been produced for television or the internet, giving the Big Ten the widest exposure of any conference in the nation. The Big Ten Network will tip-off the season with 44 games in 42 nights beginning Nov. 12. The network will televise the home openers for Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State and Purdue. Every Big Ten men's basketball team will make at least 10 appearances on the linear network this season.

[THREE // getting ready for gameday]
Speaking of nationally-televised basketball games, two Big Ten men's hoops games will be featured on ESPN's College GameDay Driven by State Farm, ESPN announced on Wednesday.  2009 Final Four participant Michigan State will make a pair of appearances, playing at Purdue on Jan. 22 before hosting Illinois on Feb. 19. Both games will tip at 9 p.m. ET.

[FOUR // women’s hoops schedule announced]
The Big Ten announced its 2010-11 conference women's basketball schedule Friday, revealing extensive exposure for its 11 institutions. In total, 37 regular season conference games will be broadcast to a national audience, 32 of which will be televised live by the Big Ten Network, four on ESPN2 and one on CBS Sports.  Additionally, the Big Ten Network will televise 14 non-conference games nationally and will stream a select number of non-conference and conference games on The dates, times and distribution for the complete streaming schedule will be announced prior to the start of the season. Each Big Ten team will be featured at least five times on national television during the conference season, which begins on Thursday, Dec. 30, with 10 of the conference's 11 teams in action.

[FIVE // new award watch lists announced]
Nine conference football players have been named to annual watch lists for two awards, it was announced this past week.  Five standouts, including Illinois' Mikel Leshoure, the Ohio State duo of Dan Herron and Brandon Saine, Penn State's Evan Royster and Wisconsin's John Clay, have been named candidates to watch for the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation's top running back. Five Big Ten players have claimed the Doak Walker Award, most recently when Iowa's Shonn Greene was honored in 2008.  The Rimington Trophy committee has released its 2010 fall watch list, which includes three Big Ten centers named to the earlier watch list and one conference addition. Michigan's David Molk, Northwestern's Ben Burkett and Ohio State's Mike Brewster remain on the watch list, while Wisconsin's Peter Konz has been added. Big Ten centers have claimed four of the first 10 Rimington Awards, most recently when Penn State's A.Q. Shipley was honored in 2008.

[SIX // look who’s talking football]
When the Big Ten Network kicks off its fourth football season on the air, two new main play-by-play voices and a talented new group of accomplished former Big Ten stars as analysts or hosts will be behind the microphones, it was announced Wednesday by the BTN.  LeCharles Bentley, Rosevelt Colvin, Muhsin Muhammad, Derek Rackley, Amani Toomer and Dan Dierdorf are among the new faces on the Big Ten Network this fall, bringing strong Big Ten connections and a combined 66 years of NFL experience, eight Pro Bowl honors and three Super Bowl rings.  The network will also introduce Eric Collins and Tom Hart as the new main play-by-play voices on Big Ten Network football game telecasts.

[SEVEN // at the net, ahead of the class]
Five Big Ten volleyball student-athletes were named candidates for the inaugural 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for volleyball, it was announced Thursday. The award will be given annually to outstanding seniors who have demonstrated excellence in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition.  Big Ten candidates include Illinois' Laura DeBruler, Michigan's Lexi Zimmerman, Minnesota's Lauren Gibbemeyer, Northwestern's Sabel Moffett and Penn State's Arielle Wilson. In total, 30 volleyball student-athletes were selected to the list, which will be narrowed to 10 midway through the season. The final group will be placed on the official ballot that will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans.  An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their community.

[EIGHT // volleyball opens with successful weekend]
Big Ten volleyball opened the 2010 season in perfect fashion as conference teams combined to go 12-0 on the first day of action. Eight of the 12 matches went the minimum three sets and Wisconsin, the only conference team to play two matches on Friday, swept both Winthrop and William & Mary at the Tribe Invitational. Big Ten volleyball enjoyed another successful day of competition Saturday as the conference combined for a 17-2 record and saw eight teams claim invitational titles. Illinois claimed the Illini Classic, Indiana won the Georgia Tech Classic, Michigan State captured the Michigan State Showcase, Minnesota finished as the Gopher Invitational champion, Northwestern won the Chicagoland Classic, Ohio State was victorious at the Sports Imports Classic, Penn State clinched the Carolina Classic crown and Wisconsin claimed the Tribe Invitational.

[NINE // every big ten field hockey teams appears in national poll]
All seven Big Ten field hockey teams were mentioned in the Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I preseason poll, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association announced Tuesday. Five were ranked in the top 20, while two also received votes in the year's first poll. After winning both the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in school history, Michigan State earned the highest ranking in the poll of any Big Ten team, checking in at No. 7.  The Spartans are followed by No. 14 Ohio State, No. 17 Indiana, No. 18 Penn State and No. 19 Iowa. Northwestern and Michigan also received votes in the first poll of 2010.

[TEN // field hockey opens 2010 season]
The 2010 Big Ten field hockey campaign began this past weekend as six of the seven conference teams were in action, including taking part in the 2010 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.  Michigan State was the lone Big Ten team to go undefeated, with a 4-2 win over Central Michigan on Saturday and a 1-0 shutout over No. 10 Duke on Sunday.  Indiana (L, 1-0, No. 9 Boston College / W, 2-1, Massachusetts), Northwestern (L, 6-1, No. 8 Syracuse / W, 4-2, Northeastern) and Penn State (W, 4-0, No. 16 Old Dominion / L, 3-0, No. 3 Virginia) all split their two contests this week.  Iowa (3-1, No. 6 Wake Forest / 3-0, No. 1 North Carolina) and Michigan (3-0, No. 1 North Carolina / 5-1, No. 6 Wake Forest) both dropped two games on the week.  After advancing to the NCAA Championship in 2009, No. 14 Ohio State starts its 2010 season when the Buckeyes travel to Ohio on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

[ELEVEN // osu men tabbed conference soccer favorite]
Finally this week, defending Big Ten Champion Ohio State has been tabbed as the preseason favorite in the 2010 Men's Soccer preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced on Wednesday. Rounding out the poll's top four are Indiana at No. 2 and Northwestern and Penn State tied for third. Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin fill the final three spots in the poll. Additionally, the Big Ten announced a "Players to Watch" list for the first time, highlighting three student-athletes from each team entering the 2010 season. The complete poll and list can be found by clicking here.