Nov. 29, 2009
[ONE // big ten network announces football honors]
The Big Ten announced the 2009 All-Conference football teams and individual award winners Monday night as selected by the coaches and a media panel, with four different schools sharing the individual accolades. Wisconsin running back John Clay was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year while Badgers' linebacker Chris Borland was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and the media. On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones was tabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by the media, while the coaches honored Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick as the Big Ten Defensive Player and Defensive Lineman of the Year. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz collected his third Dave McClain Coach of the Year award from the media while tackle Bryan Bulaga was honored by the coaches as the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. Check out more information on the winners and All-Big Ten squads by clicking here.
[TWO // football standouts honored in the classroom as well]
The Big Ten topped all conferences for the fifth straight season with eight student-athletes named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first or second teams in football as announced Tuesday by CoSIDA. The Big Ten also led the way with six first-team selections, matching the third-highest total in conference history behind only the seven first-team honorees in 2008 and the eight first-team choices in 2006. The Big Ten paces all conferences with 43 Academic All-Americans in the sport of football over the last five years, including at least eight honorees every season. The Big Ten's total of eight Academic All-Americans led all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences, followed by the FCS' Missouri Valley with five selections and the FBS' Big 12 with four honorees. The first-team selections included six honorees from the Big Ten and nine choices from all other FBS conferences, including two each from the Big 12 and SEC.
[THREE // illini cross country runner earns top national honor]
Illinois’ Angela Bizzarri was named the National Cross Country Female Athlete of the Year on Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Bizzarri became the first women’s Illini cross country athlete to win the NCAA Division I cross country national title, which occurred this past Monday, and just the second Illini cross country athlete overall to win the title. The Mason, Ohio native set a new personal best on the LaVern Gibson course running 13 seconds better than she did at the 2008 championships. Bizzarri, the Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, earned her first regional title this season after finishing as the runner-up the previous three seasons at the Midwest Region meet.
[FOUR // bizzarri’s title headlines ncaa women’s cross country meet]
Illinois’ Angela Bizzarri used a late kick to capture the women’s individual crown at the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships Monday afternoon. The Big Ten Conference was well represented at the national event as eleven teams invaded Terre Haute, Ind., including seven women’s squads. Bizzarri raced her way to the top of the winner’s podium on the strength of a 19:46 effort in the six-kilometer event. The Illinois senior was down 13 seconds from the lead entering the final 2000 meters of the race before surging to the front of the pack for the win. Also placing in the top 10 was Minnesota’s Megan Duwell who posted a seventh-place finish with a time of 20:06.9. The Gopher senior led her team to a 10th place team finish to lead all conference teams in the overall standings. In addition to Bizzarri and Duwell, Michigan’s Kaitlyn Peale and Penn State’s Bridget Franek earned All-America honors by virtue of their top-40 finishes in Monday’s Championship event. Click here for a look at the complete women’s results.
[FIVE // badgers leads all men’s cross country teams at ncaa meet]
On the men’s side of the NCAA Cross Country Championship, Wisconsin led all conference teams with a seventh place finish. The Badgers placed four harriers in the top 40 percent of individual competitors and were led by freshman Mohammed Ahmed in 26th place. Big Ten Athlete of the Year Hassan Mead of Minnesota led all conference competitors by completing the 10-kilometer course in 29:51 to finish inside the top 15. For their efforts, Ahmed and Mead also earned All-America status and were joined by Ohio State’s Jeff See on the list of distinguished honorees.
[SIX // indiana and northwestern conclude ncaa men’s soccer competition]
Two Big Ten teams dropped out of the NCAA Championship Sunday afternoon as Indiana and Northwestern each lost 1-0 heartbreakers in the Round of 16. The No. 9 Wildcats battled to a scoreless tie well into the second half before Austin Neil scored to give Tulsa the game-winning tally in the 73rd minute. NU keeper Misha Rosenthal saved five shots while the Northwestern offense fired 11 shots as the Wildcats ended their 2009 season 11-5-4. The Hoosiers' season came to a close Sunday with a loss at No. 5 North Carolina. IU keeper Luis Soffner made five saves and Andy Adlard had three shots on goal for Indiana, which finished the year 12-10-1. North Carolina's Alex Dixon scored the game's only goal in the 27th minute.
[SEVEN // six volleyball squads selected for ncaa championhip play]
Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State will compete in the 2009 NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship, the NCAA Division I Volleyball Committee announced Sunday night. This year marks the 11th season in the past 12 that the Big Ten has placed six or more teams in the NCAA bracket. The Big Ten is tied with the Big 12 for second in the nation with six teams competing in the NCAA Championship, trailing only the Pac-10’s eight selections. The conference stands alone in second with four national seeds, behind only the Pac-10’s total of five. The complete first- and second-round schedule can be found by clicking this link.
[EIGHT // penn state perfect again]
Congratulations to outright Big Ten volleyball champion Penn State! For the third straight season, the top-ranked Nittany Lions closed out their regular season undefeated after sweeping No. 12 Michigan, 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-23). With the shutout victory, Penn State (32-0, 20-0) earned its 96th consecutive match, 72nd straight contest at home and 65th Big Ten win in a row.
[NINE // purdue hoops it up in paradise]
While Penn State’s volleyball team was busy taking the Big Ten crown at home this past week, Purdue’s men’s basketball squad was proudly representing the conference in the Virgin Islands. The Boilermakers captured the Paradise Jam title on Monday with a 73-72 victory over Tennessee. No. 6 Purdue led 42-41 at halftime and was led in the final by tournament MVP E’Twaun Moore with 22 points. Robbie Hummel, an All-Tournament team member, added 20 points, while JaJuan Johnson netted 11 points in just 18 minutes of play before fouling out.
[TEN // northwestern wins wild contests on the hardwood]
Speaking of tournament victories, the Northwestern men’s basketball team topped Iowa State 67-65 this weekend to capture the Chicago Invitational Challenge title, while the Wildcats’ women’s team downed Penn, 61-39, in the finale of the DoubleTree White Invite. But those tournament headlines came after Northwestern scored big wins on the hardwood earlier in the week. On the men’s side, the Wildcats upset No. 23 Notre Dame 72-58 on Friday as part of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. The contest marked the first meeting between Northwestern and Notre Dame in 25 years. As for the women, NU outlasted No. 15 DePaul 59-55 Tuesday evening at Welsh-Ryan Arena. It was the first win over a ranked team since January 23, 2005 when the Wildcats upset then-No. 22 Penn State.
[ELEVEN // another slew of greatest games on the big ten network]
The Big Ten Network announced this past Tuesday that legendary NCAA championship title victories, shocking upsets and buzzer-beating shots are among the 16 new episodes of the network’s popular series, The Big Ten's Greatest Games. The series returns for a third season at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 30. New episodes will air every Monday throughout the regular season. The schedule features eight NCAA Tournament games, including Ohio State's 1960 NCAA title game victory against Cal and Indiana's 1976 NCAA championship game against Michigan. Other memorable classics will air this winter, including Indiana's upset of top-ranked North Carolina in the 1984 Sweet Sixteen, which proved to be Michael Jordan's final collegiate game, the ""Flying Illini's"" Elite Eight victory against Syracuse, Penn State's 2001 win against UNC that sent the Nittany Lions to the Sweet 16 and Michigan State's upset of Connecticut in last year's Final Four in Detroit.