This Week in the Big Ten

Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas of Penn State was one of three B1G standouts named to the Preseason Wade Watch this past week.

Oct. 14, 2013

[ONE // nittany lions roar past michigan]
In a week where three Big Ten football games were each decided by two touchdowns or more, it was the fourth contest that reached a fourth overtime before a winner was declared.  In what was head coach Bill O’Brien’s biggest victory in two years at Penn State, the Nittany Lions stunned No. 18 Michigan 43-40 in four overtimes.  Elsewhere, Michigan State stopped Indiana 42-28, Nebraska posted a 44-7 win over Purdue, while Wisconsin handled No. 19 Northwestern, 35-6.

[TWO // time to talk tickets]
All-session tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Women's and Men's Basketball Tournaments went on sale to the general public this past Saturday.  Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is the site of the women's tournament from March 6-9 and the men's tournament from March 13-16, featuring 22 games over eight days. To purchase tickets within your university block, please contact your institution's ticket office for on-campus sale dates. General admission tickets for the women's event and balcony level tickets for the men's tournament can be purchased at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Ticket Office, Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  The Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will call Indianapolis and Bankers Life Fieldhouse home this March and again in 2016. The 2014 tournament marks the ninth time Indianapolis has hosted the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Circle City's 18th Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament.

[THREE // not too soon to talk ncaa basketball tournament]
Four Big Ten institutions will serve as hosts during the 2014 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, the NCAA announced on Wednesday. Iowa, Penn State and Purdue are slated to host opening-round matchups, while Nebraska is one of four regional hosts. Opening-round contests at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the Bryce Jordan Center and Mackey Arena will be contested on March 22-25, while the newly minted Pinnacle Bank Arena will host regional contests on March 29 and 31 or March 30 and April 1. All roads from the opening rounds to the regional sites will lead to Nashville for the 2014 Women's Final Four. Bridgestone Arena will serve as the host site for games to be played on April 6 and 8.

[FOUR // three big ten women on the wade watch list]
Three Big Ten players are among the preseason Wade Watch list, a 25-member cast announced by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on Tuesday. Minnesota's Rachel Banham, Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Penn State's Maggie Lucas each appear in the preseason running for the award, which honors the Division I Player of the Year. Lucas was the consensus Big Ten Player of the Year in 2013, winning the honor from the coaches and media, while earning unanimous All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches group. Hooper earned first-team accolades from both panels, while Banham was a first-team coaches honoree. It is the second season Hooper and Lucas have earned the Wade Watch honor, while Banham garners her first preseason accolade.

[FIVE // the puck has been dropped]
The inaugural season of Big Ten hockey got underway this past week with conference teams scoring a combined 7-2 record.  No. 11/10 Michigan was first on the ice on Friday and the Wolverines shined with a 3-1 victory over No. 4/4 Boston College.  In addition to on-ice news, the Big Ten and the Xcel Energy Center announced that Sunday would be the first day that All-Session Ticket Packages for the inaugural Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, to be held Thursday – Saturday, March 20–22, 2014, would be on sale.  The tournament will feature all six teams – Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin – in a single-elimination format. The tournament will consist of five games (two games on Thursday, March 20; two games on Friday, March 21 and the championship game on Saturday, March 22). All-Session Ticket Packages include one ticket to each of the five games of the tournament.

[SIX // fall sports standings report]
Despite being winless in Big Ten play, the Ohio State (0-2-1) men’s soccer notched its first tie of the league slate, going the distance with No. 18 Michigan State on Sunday, 1-1.  The Spartans sit second overall behind an undefeated 3-0 Penn State ballclub.  Speaking of Penn State, Big Ten women's soccer closed out the week with a top-20 matchup as No. 19 Michigan defeated No. 11 Penn State, 1-0.  Nebraska (5-1-0) remains atop the conference standings.  In volleyball, the Spartans are the lone team undefeated in conference action at 6-0, followed by Nebraska and Penn State tied for second at 5-1.

[SEVEN // smellin’ the roses]
Michigan's Bob Chappuis was nominated this past week as one of three finalists for the Rose Bowl Game All-Century Class as representatives from the 1940's.  The candidates, as selected by an esteemed panel from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), are the fourth of a series of names that will be unveiled each Sunday throughout the remainder of the college football regular season. In commemoration of the 100th Rose Bowl Game, the All-Century Class will highlight and honor great players and coaches throughout the history of The Granddaddy of Them All.  For more on Chappuis, click here.

[EIGHT // three football standouts honored nationally]
Three Big Ten football players were recognized nationally this past week, including Michigan's Devin Funchess, who was named the John Mackey Award Tight End of the Week for his career-best performance in Michigan's 42-13 victory against Minnesota. Funchess established new career highs in receptions and receiving yards against the Golden Gophers, finishing U-M's Big Ten opener with seven catches for 151 yards and one touchdown. The sophomore tight end posted four receptions of more than 20 yards against Minnesota -- three of which came on third down -- on his way to recording his second career 100-plus-yard receiving effort.  Elsewhere, a pair of Big Ten running backs in Iowa's Mark Weisman and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon has been added to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented to the nation's top college football player. The Big Ten now has 11 players on the Maxwell Award watch list, with Weisman and Gordon joining the Michigan duo of Devin Gardner and Taylor Lewan, the Nebraska pair of Ameer Abdullah and Taylor Martinez, Northwestern's Venric Mark, the Ohio State tandem of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller, Penn State's Zach Zwinak and Wisconsin's James White. Student-athletes from current Big Ten schools have claimed the Maxwell Award on 20 occasions, with honorees from nine different conference institutions.

[NINE // hobbs honored by top drawer soccer]
Minnesota freshman goalkeeper Tarah Hobbs earned a spot on the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week, it was announced this past Tuesday. Hobbs earned the accolade after making seven saves in Minnesota's 0-0 double overtime draw against Ohio State on Oct. 4. She then collected seven saves to help the Golden Gophers shut out No. 7 Penn State, 1-0, on Oct. 6. The day prior to earning the national award, Hobbs was named Big Ten Defensive Player and Co-Freshman of the Week.

[TEN // huskers’ robinson heralded by avca]
Nebraska outside hitter Kelsey Robinson was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week this past Tuesday, the third Big Ten player in a row to earn the honor and fourth this season. Robinson led No. 10 Nebraska to victories over No. 8 Minnesota and No. 23 Wisconsin to improve its Big Ten record to 4-0. On the week, the senior averaged 6.3 kills and posted a .417 hitting percentage. Other Big Ten student-athletes named National Player of the Week this season include Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary (Sept. 10), Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus (Sept. 24) and Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski (Sept. 30).

[ELEVEN // two dozen softball standouts recognized by nfca]
Five teams and 24 Big Ten softball players were recognized by the NFCA as All-Academic teams and All-American Scholar Athletes, the Association announced this past Monday. Collecting All-Academic team plaudits were Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State and defending Big Ten Tournament Champion Wisconsin.  The All-America Scholar Athlete award is bestowed upon any player submitted by a member coach who achieved a 3.50 grade point average or higher during the 2012-13 academic year. NFCA All-Academic teams that compiled at least a 2.9 cumulative team GPA were also recognized.  Click here to find a list of 2012-13 Big Ten softball players that were named All-America Scholar Athletes.

[TWELVE // thoughts going to the gophers]
Finally this week, our thoughts and well wishes are with the Minnesota football family as head coach Jerry Kill has stepped away from the sidelines to continue to take time to focus on his treatment and better manage his Epilepsy.  As he has done in previous situations, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the acting head coach when Kill is away. Claeys is in his 19th year as a member of Kill's staff.  To see the press conference video with Claeys and athletics director Norwood Teague, click here.  Get well soon, Coach!