This Week in the Big Ten

Nov. 15, 2009

[ONE // all roses for ohio state; others become bowl eligible]
Ohio State earned the Big Ten's automatic berth in the BCS and a share of its fifth straight Big Ten championship, while Michigan State and Minnesota became bowl eligible in an exciting day of Big Ten football on Saturday.  The Buckeyes earned their first Rose Bowl berth in 13 years with a 27-24 overtime victory over Iowa.  Michigan State won 40-37 on the road at Purdue, while Minnesota edged South Dakota State, 16-13, to earn bowl eligibility.  Northwestern bested Illinois 21-16 for the Land of Lincoln Trophy, Wisconsin ousted Michigan 45-24 and Penn State held off Indiana, 31-20.

[TWO // buckeyes claim men's soccer tournament]
The No. 25-ranked and top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes captured the 2009 Big Ten Men's Soccer Tournament title with a 1-0 win over Penn State Sunday afternoon on Indiana's Yeagley Field at Armstrong Stadium. David Tiemstra scored the game-winning goal with 43 seconds remaining in regulation to give Ohio State its second tourney title in three years and its third overall, as well as the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The championship contest marked the second meeting between the two teams in the tournament finale and the first since 2000 when the Buckeyes edged the Nittany Lions in overtime, 3-2.  OSU also earned a slim one-goal victory over Penn State in the regular season.  For a complete look at the results from this week's Big Ten Tournament, click here.

[THREE // conference office honors men's soccer standouts]
Following first day action at the Big Ten Men's Soccer Tournament Thursday, the conference office announced the 2009 All-Big Ten and All-Freshman teams, as well as individual award winners. For the first time-ever, the annual Player of the Year award was divided into two separate accolades to highlight exceptional offensive and defensive performances. Penn State's Jason Yeisley was selected as Offensive Player of the Year, while Northwestern's Mark Blades and Ohio State's Doug Verhoff were tabbed Co-Defensive Players of the Year. Newcomers Matt Lampson of Ohio State and Kevin Cope of Michigan State were dubbed Co-Freshmen of the Year and Buckeye head mentor John Bluem was lauded as Coach of the Year by his peers.

[FOUR // women's soccer honorees announced as well]
On Wednesday, the Big Ten office announced all postseason honors for women's soccer.  Penn State seniors Katie Schoepfer and Alyssa Naeher were tabbed Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, after leading the Nittany Lions to their Big Ten record-tying 12th-consecutive conference championship. PSU newcomer Christine Nairn takes home Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors while Erica Walsh earned the nod from her peers to garner Coach of the Year laurels. The selections marked the second Penn State sweep of the postseason honors and the first since the conference divided the award for Player of the Year into separate offensive and defensive accolades in 2004.

[FIVE // five soccer squads invited to play in ncaa tournament]
This past Monday, five Big Ten women's soccer teams - Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin  -- were selected to the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship.  This year marked the eighth time in the 28-year history of the event that the Big Ten has sent five or more teams to the NCAA Championship, including in six of the last eight seasons.  The Badgers remain the lone conference team in the tournament as they prevailed, 4-3, in a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 draw with Arizona State on Friday and then blanked Central Florida 1-0 on Sunday.  Penn State fell 6-2 to Virginia in second-round play after advancing from a 5-0 shutout over Colgate.  In opening round action, Ohio State fell 3-1 to Oregon State, Michigan State dropped a 1-0 match to Santa Clara, and Purdue was defeated 2-0 by Central Michigan. 

[SIX // field hockey concludes ncaa play]
Like women's soccer, Big Ten field hockey teams advanced to the 2009 NCAA Championship this week, however all three invited squads - Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State - concluded their seasons in first and second round action.  In the Winston-Salem, N.C. Regional, North Carolina topped Ohio State 4-2 and Wake Forest captured a 2-0 shutout over Indiana.  Following a dominant 7-0 win over Delaware, Michigan State fell 3-2 in overtime to Virginia on Sunday.  Chantae Miller and Jantine Steinmetz scored goals for the Spartans, while MSU keeper Elissa Unger recorded 11 saves against the high-powered Virginia offense.  The Spartans finished the season 18-4 overall and were the Big Ten Champion and Big Ten Tournament Champion.

[SEVEN // men's cross country completes ncaa regional]
Big Ten men's cross country teams were in action this past weekend in NCAA Regional competition.  In the Great Lakes Regional, hosted by Indiana, Wisconsin (62 points) claimed first, followed by Michigan State (128) and Ohio State (144) in second and third, respectively.  Indiana (213) was eighth, Michigan (259) was 10th, and Purdue (398) placed 15th.  Big Ten runners held the top five positions in the regional, led by Ohio State's Jeff See (31:03.16).  Placing second through fifth was Wisconsin's Landon Peacock (31:08.36), Mohammed Ahmed (31:08.75), Indiana's Andrew Poore (31:11.70) and Michigan State's Patrick Grosskopf (31:12.98).  In the Midwest Regional, Minnesota (125) placed fourth, followed by Iowa (170) in sixth and Illinois (278) in 10th.  The Golden Gophers' Hassan Mead, the Big Ten Champion and Athlete of the Year, captured the regional title with a winning tome of 30:21.9.  In the Mid-Atlantic Regional, Penn State (384) was 16th, led by eighth-place finisher Vince McNally in 32:00.3.

[EIGHT // women's cross country runs well in regional action]
Big Ten women's cross country teams were also in NCAA Regional action this weekend.  In the Great Lakes Regional, Ohio State (102 points) placed second, followed by Michigan (104), Indiana (105) and Michigan State (121) in third through fifth, while Purdue (228) was seventh and Wisconsin (358) was 12th.  Michigan State's Emily MacLeod (20:42.70) captured the individual title over runner-up Kaitlyn Peale (20:51.92) of Michigan.  In the Midwest Regional, Minnesota (60) took home the crown over second-place Illinois (86) and fifth-place Iowa (160).  The Illini's Angela Bizzarri (20:07.5) topped Minnesota's Megan Duwell (20:14.5) for the regional title.  In the Mid-Atlantic Regional, Penn State (98) was fourth, led by fourth-place finisher Bridget Franek (20:41).

[NINE // big ten women's hoops ready to challenge big 12]
The Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences announced this past Wednesday the formation of an annual inter-conference challenge for women's basketball, which will span at least two years and will begin in the fall of 2010. The series will feature a home-and-home format over the initial two-year agreement, and each of the Big 12's teams will play in each Challenge, while one Big Ten team, Wisconsin, will play two Challenge games each year.  The 2010 Challenge will be played Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5, with the exception of the Kansas at Wisconsin game, which will be played on Nov. 21. The Big Ten will have seven home games during the 2010 Challenge, which will be referred to as the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. In 2011, the Big 12 will have seven home games, and the series will be referred to as the Big 12/Big Ten Challenge.  This Challenge represents the second inter-conference series for the Big Ten, who also participates in an annual challenge with the ACC. It is the first for the Big 12 in which all institutions will participate.

[TEN // more gus, more excitement on the hardwood]
Gus Johnson, recognized as one of the most exciting and entertaining sportscasters in the industry, will be calling at least 15 games this year on the Big Ten Network, an increase over last season the Big Ten Network announced Wednesday.  Joining the popular CBS announcer on the Big Ten Network will be former two-time conference Player of the Year Jim Jackson, who returns for his third season as lead analyst.  Additional Big Ten Network studio talent this season for men's basketball will include Steve Smith, Dan Dakich, Tim Doyle, Kendall Gill, Gene Keady, and Shon Morris. Tauja Catchings, Vera Jones, Mary Murphy and Stephanie White lead the women's basketball coverage.  More on the BTN talent crew and information on several in-depth basketball shows that will appear this season can be found here.

[ELEVEN // welcome to the big ten]
Finally this week, the Big Ten announced Wednesday that former head coach and current Mid-American Conference (MAC) Associate Commissioner Rick Boyages will assume the role of Big Ten Associate Commissioner for Men's Basketball beginning on Jan. 1, 2010.  Boyages, a 19-year college basketball coaching veteran, will serve as the Big Ten's primary administrator and conference office liaison for the sport of men's basketball and will also have primary oversight for the men's basketball officiating program, including supervision of an officiating technical advisor to be hired following the 2009-10 season.  Welcome Rick!