Oct. 1, 2007
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Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin own perfect records in Big Ten action heading into the third weekend of conference play. The Golden Gophers and Nittany Lions will square off in a battle of the unbeaten on Saturday, while the Big Ten Network will televise two conference matchups.
Big Ten on TV
Two Big Ten volleyball matches will hit the national airwaves this week, beginning on Wednesday as Northwestern travels to Michigan State for a 6:30 p.m. ET matchup on the Big Ten Network. The game will be broadcast on a same-day delay and is scheduled to air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. Minnesota and Ohio State will play in front of a national audience on Friday in a match that will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. ET.
Lions Roaring Through Big Ten Season
Over the last three seasons, Penn State owns a .955 (42-for-44) winning percentage in conference play. Spanning the last five years, the Lions are 77-7, which equals a .917 winning average. Penn State is 4-0 in Big Ten play for the third-straight season and the seventh time in the last 10 years.
Big Ten Among Nation's Elite
The Big Ten and Pac-10 are the only two major conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC) with all their teams over .500 on the season. With all 11 squads at .538 or better, the Big Ten is the only major conference in the nation to boast all its teams with winning percentages higher than .530. Along with the Big East, the Big Ten is one of only two major conferences to boast three teams with unblemished conference records.
Gophers Streaking in Conference Play
Jumping out to a 4-0 Big Ten record for the second straight year, Minnesota has won its last 19 conference games dating back to Nov. 18, 2006 against Iowa. The Gophers have won 24 of their last 27 conference matches, which combines for an .889 winning percentage.
Familiar Teams at Top of Standings
For the third straight season, Penn State and Wisconsin sit atop the conference standings with 4-0 records. For the second year in a row, the trio of Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin all own perfect records through two weeks of Big Ten Play. This season and last season mark the only two times in the past decade that three teams have gone 4-0 to open conference competition.
Big Ten Stuffs the Competition
Heading into last weekend's action, the Big Ten claimed two of the top 10 and three of the top 15 blocking teams in NCAA Division I. Penn State was second in the nation with 3.67 blocks per game, while Minnesota was sixth (3.56) and Wisconsin was 14th (3.28). The block averages for all three squads increased after last week's play.
Home Sweet Home
After a 10-match, five-week road trip, Wisconsin returns home this weekend to host Purdue and Indiana. The Badgers went 9-1 on the road swing and are winners of their last nine matches. The 10-match road trip is the longest of any team in the conference this season. Wisconsin is undefeated (3-0) this year on its home court.
Big Ten in the Polls
The Big Ten boasts two of the top 10 teams in the nation, including Penn State, which is spending its seventh consecutive week in the No. 3 spot. Wisconsin is in its fourth straight week at No. 9. Minnesota moved up one spot to No. 11. This week, Michigan drops from 11th to 16th. The Big Ten has had at least four teams among the nation's top 20 in each of the AVCA's seven polls this season.