This Week in the Big Ten

At 7-0 on the year, Michigan State has cracked the top 10 in both rankings for the first time since the 2003 campaign.

At 7-0 on the year, Michigan State has cracked the top 10 in both rankings for the first time since the 2003 campaign.

Oct. 17, 2010

[ONE // michigan state, wisconsin grab headlines on the gridiron]
After three weekends of Big Ten play, Michigan State is now the only undefeated team in the conference after improving to 7-0 with a win over Illinois on Saturday. The Spartans are 3-0 in Big Ten action and tied atop the conference standings with Iowa and Purdue, who improved to 2-0 in league play with triumphs over Michigan and Minnesota, respectively. Ohio State and Wisconsin are next in the standings at 2-1 after the Badgers handed the Buckeyes their first loss of the season. For full recaps on each Big Ten contest this past Saturday, click on this link.

[TWO // four football squads found in nation’s top 13 and first bcs rankings]
The Big Ten leads all conferences with four of the top 13 teams in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls, as Michigan State has cracked the top 10 in both rankings for the first time since the 2003 campaign. The Spartans improved to 7-0 for the first time since opening with nine straight triumphs in 1966 and have now climbed to eighth in both the AP and coaches polls. The last time MSU appeared among the top 10 in both rankings was on Oct. 26, 2003, when the school was ranked ninth by the media and tenth by the coaches. Three other conference programs rated among the top 13 in the country, including No. 10/11 Wisconsin (AP/USA Today), No. 11/10 Ohio State and No. 13/12 Iowa. In addition, Michigan and Northwestern were receiving votes in both polls.  In addition, the first BCS rankings were released Sunday night with the Big Ten leading all conferences with four teams among top 15, followed by three teams each for Big 12 and SEC.  Michigan State ranks seventh, Ohio State is 10th, while Wisconsin and Iowa are 13th and 15th, respectively.

[THREE // gopher great now a big ten icon]
Minnesota's Dave Winfield was named Tuesday as Big Ten Icon No. 15. The countdown of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, continues at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a profile of the St. Paul, Minn., native, the first person in history to be drafted by teams in the NFL (Minnesota Vikings), NBA (Atlanta Hawks) and MLB (San Diego Padres). The episode contains exclusive interviews with Winfield, Kevin McHale, Paul Molitor, Minnesota baseball coach John Anderson, former Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Jon Roe and others.  Winfield played baseball and basketball at Minnesota. As a junior, Winfield helped the Gophers win the 1972 Big Ten basketball title. As a senior, Winfield averaged more than 10 points and six rebounds, helping the basketball team to a 21-5 record. On the baseball diamond, he was one of the best players in the country. He posted a 9-1 record on the mound, with 109 strikeouts in 82 innings, and hit .385 at the plate to lead Minnesota to the Big Ten championship and a third-place finish at the College World Series.

[FOUR // let the hoops hysteria begin]
The 2010-11 Big Ten basketball season has officially begun, with the Big Ten Network covering several schools’ annual “Hoops Hysteria/Midnight Madness” event on Saturday.  The BTN streamed Hoops Hysteria events from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin, while packaging the best dunks seen around Big Ten Country. Watch Jim Jackson's favorite five dunks here, and catch up on each school’s coverage on the links above.

[FIVE // time to talk tourney tickets]
The Big Ten announced this past week that all-session tickets for the 2011 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will go on sale to the general public on Monday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. EST. Tickets can be purchased at all 11 Big Ten university ticket offices, Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis is the site of the women's tournament from March 3-6 and the men's tournament from March 10-13, with both events including 10 games over four days.  The Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will call Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse home through 2012. The 2011 tournaments mark the seventh time Indianapolis has hosted the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse and the Circle City's 16th Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament.

[SIX // the super six series]
Six conferences joined forces this past week to create the Super Six Series women's basketball challenge. Conferences participating are the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Southeastern and Pacific-10.  The initial year of the series will be 2010-11, and it will continue through at least 2011-12. Two teams from each conference will participate, resulting in six games played in on-campus venues. Each conference will have one home game and one away game annually. Games will be played during the beginning of the season each year.  Michigan State and Minnesota will represent the Big Ten in the inaugural Super Six Series. The Spartans will travel to Baylor on Nov. 19, while the Gophers will host Pittsburgh on Nov. 17, the opening matchup of the Super Six Series which will be broadcast nationally on www.bigtennetwork.com.

[SEVEN // doing flips in the national rankings]
All six Big Ten men's gymnastics teams earned top-10 status in the 2011 GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, it was announced this past week. Defending national champion Michigan leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 2.  The Wolverines tied with top-ranked Stanford for the most first-place votes in the poll, receiving seven. Reigning Big Ten champion Illinois is not far behind in the top-15 poll, checking in at No. 4. Ohio State makes its 2011 debut at No. 6, followed by Penn State at No. 7, Minnesota at No. 8 and Iowa at No. 10. The 2011 poll marks the 10th straight year that all six Big Ten squads enter the season as top-10 teams.

[EIGHT // heading to the world championships]
Michigan's Chris Cameron and Ohio State's Brandon Wynn were chosen recently to represent the United States at the 2010 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on Oct. 16-24 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Qualifications for the men will begin on Monday. Cameron and Wynn are two of the six U.S. team members competing in the Championships, while Illinois' Paul Ruggeri has been named an alternate.  Cameron, the 2010 Big Ten and NCAA all-around champion, also led the Wolverines to their first NCAA title since 1963. The senior became the fourth gymnast to earn the individual NCAA all-around title in Michigan history.  Wynn also earned Big Ten and national titles in 2010, earning top billing on the rings at both competitions. He became the first Buckeye gymnast to earn the national title since 2004.  Ruggeri led the Illini to their second straight Big Ten Championship in 2010, taking home the individual titles in the vault and high bar competitions en route to first-team All-Big Ten status.

[NINE // indiana’s bruin earns top weekly soccer honor]
After reeling in his third Big Ten men's soccer Offensive Player of the Week award of the season this past Monday, Indiana's Will Bruin was named the NSCAA National Player of the Week. The junior scored three goals in two games and helped Indiana take down No. 11 Creighton last week.

[TEN // a preview of nationals]
Several Big Ten men’s and women’s cross country teams were in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday to “preview” the track for the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships next month.  On the women’s side, Michigan State (279) finished sixth in the “blue” race, followed by Iowa (353) in 10th, Ohio State (434) in 14th and Purdue (727) in 31st.  Michigan State’s Emily MacLeod was the top Big Ten runner in the race, placing ninth at 20:33.5.  In the “white” race, Minnesota (241) was fifth, while Michigan (311) was seventh, Illinois (566) was 24th, while Northwestern (570) placed 25th and Wisconsin (604) 27th.  Minnesota’s Stephanie Price finished sixth at 20:25.2.  On the men’s side, Ohio State (400) placed 13th in the “blue” race, followed by Illinois (441) in 15th, Michigan State (521) and Purdue (549) in 18th and 19th, respectively, and Michigan (595) in 23rd.  The Wolverines’ Bobby Aprill placed 41st in 24:22.3.  Minnesota was the lone Big Ten squad in the “white” race, placing 12th at 391, while Pieter Gagnon was the top Gopher runner, finishing 51st in 24:35.3.

[ELEVEN // ahead of the class]
Finally this week, three Big Ten volleyball student-athletes were named finalists this past week for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for volleyball. The award is given annually to outstanding seniors who have demonstrated excellence in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition. Illinois' Laura DeBruler, Minnesota's Lauren Gibbemeyer and Penn State's Arielle Wilson are among this year's 10 finalists. Fans can log on to www.seniorclassaward.com and vote once a day through Nov. 23, as one-third of fans' votes will be used, along with votes from national media and coaches, to determine this year's winner, which will be announced during the 2010 NCAA Championship.

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