This Week in the Big Ten

With a win at Indiana on Saturday, Wisconsin clinched its second-straight ticket to the Big Ten Football Championship Game.

Nov. 12, 2012

[ONE // badgers bound for indy]
With two weekends of Big Ten play remaining, Wisconsin has punched its ticket to Indianapolis and will play either Michigan or Nebraska in the second annual Big Ten Football Championship Game. The Badgers will serve as the Leaders Division representative for the second straight season while the Wolverines and Cornhuskers look for their first title game berth. The Big Ten Football Championship Game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Lucas Oil Stadium with the winner earning the Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy and a chance to play in the Rose Bowl Game.  Wisconsin improved to 4-2 in the conference with two games remaining. The Badgers hold at least a two-game advantage and head-to-head victories over Illinois, Indiana and Purdue to secure the title game berth.  For a complete look at how Big Ten teams fared this past weekend, including Ohio State clinching a share of the Leaders Division crown, click here.

[TWO // sparty’s party in men’s soccer]
No. 5 Michigan State defeated No. 3 Michigan, 2-1, in overtime Sunday afternoon in Evanston, Ill, to claim the 2012 Men's Soccer Big Ten Tournament Championship. Adam Montague netted the first goal for the Spartans in the 38th minute from 22 yards out to give Michigan State a 1-0 lead. After back and forth play, T.J. Roehn nailed the equalizer for the Wolverines in the 87th minute to force overtime. Seven minutes into the extra frame, Sean Conerty found the back of the net to give the Spartans the win and their third Big Ten Tournament title.  MSU’s Adam Montague was named Offensive Player of the Tournament, while teammate Kevin Cope was tabbed as the Defensive Player of the Tournament.  Both players headlined an 11-member All-Tournament Team, which can be found here along with a complete wrap-up of the 2012 event.

[THREE // …and the awards go to…]
The Big Ten announced its men’s soccer All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners at the Big Ten Tournament banquet on Thursday evening. Indiana’s Eriq Zavaleta was the unanimous selection for Offensive Player of the Year. Northwestern’s Chris Ritter earned the Defensive Player of the Year award, and teammate Joey Calistri was the unanimous choice for Freshman of the Year. Penn State’s Bob Warming reeled in Coach of the Year honors.  Zavaleta, Ritter and Calistri all earned spots on the All-Big Ten first team and are joined by Indiana’s A.J. Corrado, Michigan’s Tyler Arnone, Michigan State’s Adam Montague, Northwestern’s Nikko Boxall and Tyler Miller, Penn State’s Jacob Barron and John Gallagher, and Wisconsin’s AJ Cochran. Zavaleta and Ritter were both unanimous choices for first-team honors. The Big Ten also recognized seven Sportsmanship Award honorees. The complete All-Big Ten teams, including the All-Freshman Team and Sportsmanship Award honorees, can be found here.

[FOUR // five in, two out, three still left to play]
Five Big Ten women’s soccer programs -- Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin – were selected earlier in the week to compete in the first round of the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship on Saturday.  Illinois, Michigan and Penn State have advanced in the tournament with opening-round wins, while Ohio State was ousted in penalty kicks and Wisconsin concluded its season with a 1-0 defeat by UCLA.  For a complete look at Big Ten teams in NCAA Tournament action this past week, click here.

[FIVE // field hockey season concludes in ncaa tournament]
Three Big Ten field hockey teams -- Iowa, Michigan and Penn State – were selected earlier in the week for the 2012 NCAA Field Hockey Championship.  In action over the weekend, Big Ten Tournament Champion Penn State was the lone team to advance out of the first round, only to be stunned by Syracuse 5-2 in quarterfinal action on Sunday.  The Nittany Lions, ranked No. 3 in the NFHCA Poll, ended their season with an 18-4 record.  A complete round of the B1G’s NCAA action can be found here.

[SIX // get to running]
Big Ten Cross Country will be well-represented at the NCAA Championships, with four men’s teams, four women’s teams and nine individual runners selected to the field for the national meet. The championships are set for Saturday, Nov. 17, in Louisville, Ky.  Michigan and Wisconsin earned automatic berths to the men’s championships based on their top-two finishes at the Great Lakes Regional on Friday, while Indiana and Michigan State received at-large bids. Illinois’ Hunter Mickow and Jannis Topfer, Ohio State’s Donny Roys and Purdue’s Johnnie Guy and Matt McClintock also qualified automatically based on their regional finishes, while Penn State’s Sam Masters earned an at-large bid.  The Michigan and Michigan State women’s teams finished in the top two at the Great Lakes Regional on Friday to lock up automatic berths to the national meet, while Penn State automatically qualified by placing first at the Mid-Atlantic Regional and Minnesota received an at-large bid. Indiana’s Kelsey Duerksen earned an at-large bid and Wisconsin’s Ashley Beutler and Gabi Anzalone qualified automatically based on their regional finishes.  The NCAA Championships are scheduled for Noon ET on Nov. 17, beginning with the women’s 6,000-meter race, followed by the 10,000-meter men’s race at approximately 1:15 p.m. ET.  Click here for the complete selections.

[SEVEN // hoops season is here!]
Eleven of the 12 B1G men’s basketball teams opened their respective 2012-13 seasons this past week, scoring a combined 10-2 record.  Purdue was the lone team to compete in a pair of games, going 1-1 at the 2K Sports Classic in West Lafayette, Ind.  On Friday, top-ranked Indiana began its season with a convincing 97-54 defeat of Bryant, while No. 5 Michigan dropped Slippery Rock, 100-62.  Two Big Ten teams were involved in special events commemorating Veteran’s Day this past week, as No. 14 Michigan State fell to UConn 66-62 in a hangar at the U.S. Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, while fourth-ranked Ohio State had its opener against Marquette canceled due to playing conditions.  At the 2012 Carrier Classic on the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Friday, game officials noticed condensation on court as the teams were set to do battle on the carrier.  After many attempts to prepare the playing surface for safe competition, it was determined the court was unsafe.

[EIGHT // four women’s basketball teams off to 2-0 starts]
Speaking of the Carrier Classic, the No. 19/21 Ohio State women’s team was able to open its season on the carrier, falling 57-51 to #7/6 Notre Dame.  Elsewhere, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern all began the 2012-13 season 2-0, while Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin all earned a “W” in the opener.

[NINE // fourteen named candidates for wooden award]
This past week, nine men’s and five women’s basketball players were named candidates for the Wooden Award, given annually to the college basketball player of the year.  The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine players on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State each have two players on the list, accounting for three of the eight teams nationally with multiple honorees. The complete list of Big Ten players to earn recognition included Illinois’ Brandon Paul, Indiana’s Christian Watford and Cody Zeller, Michigan’s Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan State’s Keith Appling, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, and Penn State’s Tim Frazier.  On the women’s side, five standouts were named among the 30 preseason candidates. Nebraska and Penn State each had two players named to the list, two of only seven schools with multiple candidates, while Ohio State's Tayler Hill was also named to the preseason list. Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, and Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were also among those named preseason candidates for the honor. All five were also named to the Wade Trophy Watch List during the preseason. It is the second appearance on the Wooden Award list for Bentley, while the others are making their debut to the list.

[TEN // 31 flavors…or academic all-district honorees]
A total of 31 Big Ten fall sport student-athletes were honored this past week as 2012 Capital One Academic All-District recipients, including 19 on the gridiron.  Five volleyball players also earned the distinction, as did five women’s soccer players and two men’s soccer stars.  

[ELEVEN // national acclaim]
Two Big Ten standouts earned national acclaim this past week as they were named National Player of the Week in their respective sports.  Penn State setter Micha Hancock was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week after leading the Nittany Lions to back-to-back Big Ten wins. Hancock recorded 46 assists, 15 digs and tied a career-high with seven aces in a four-set win over No. 10 Minnesota before recording 40 assists, 11 digs and two aces in a sweep of Wisconsin. The award was the first by a Big Ten student-athlete this season, while Hancock became the first Nittany Lion to win the award since Megan Hodge took home the honor on Nov. 3, 2009.  Minnesota's Kyler Van Swol was named Counsilman Hunsaker Division I Swimmer of the Week by, it was announced on Tuesday. The junior won three of the four events he competed in in the Golden Gophers' defeat of Big Ten rival Iowa two weeks ago.  Van Swol took first place in the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly and 200-meter medley relay against the Hawkeyes. His 100-meter butterfly time of 47.82 was the fastest time nationally this season.

[TWELVE // postgraduate plans]
Finally this week, the Big Ten announced the establishment of annual postgraduate scholarships to be awarded to 24 student-athletes beginning with the current academic year. The conference will award $7,500 scholarships based primarily on academic achievements to one male and one female student-athlete from each of its 12 institutions who plan to continue their education.  Each Big Ten institution will develop its own procedures for selecting its male and female scholarship recipients. The conference office will announce the 24 student-athletes earning the inaugural Big Ten postgraduate scholarships in May of 2013.  For more on the announcement, click here.