Oct. 9, 2012
First Serve: With a 6-0 record through the first three weeks of Big Ten play, Penn State takes sole possession of first place in the conference standings. Four top-25 contests highlight this week’s schedule, including one top-10 matchup. Ten of the conference’s 12 matches this week will be broadcast live or streamed online.
The Week That Was: Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State each put together back-to-back Big Ten road wins last week, while Minnesota posted two conference victories on its home court. Top-ranked Penn State remained unbeaten in conference play, defeating Northwestern (3-0) and No. 21 Illinois (3-2). Iowa earned wins at Indiana (3-1) and No. 12 Purdue (3-0), Nebraska defeated the Boilermakers (3-0) and the Hoosiers (3-2), and Ohio State took down No. 21 Illinois (3-2) and Northwestern (3-0). The Gophers picked up wins over Michigan (3-1) and No. 25 Michigan State (3-2).
Where We Rank: The Big Ten once again leads all conferences with seven teams ranked in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, including two of the top three teams. Penn State remains at No. 1 for the third consecutive week, while Nebraska moves up a spot to No. 3, and Minnesota remains at No. 10. Purdue checks in at No. 17, Ohio State is No. 19, Illinois is No. 22, and Michigan State is No. 25. Michigan is receiving votes outside the top 25.
Let’s Put It To A Vote: Big Ten schools have claimed the No. 1 ranking in the AVCA Coaches Poll six out of eight weeks this season, as Nebraska and Penn State have each been the top vote-getters three times in the 2012 campaign. The Nittany Lions have topped the poll since September 24, while the Huskers paced the field from August 27 - September 10.
Statistically Speaking, Part One: The Big Ten boasts several student-athletes in the NCAA top 10 in various statistical categories. Three of the top four performers in aces per set hail from Big Ten teams as Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is second (.62), Penn State’s Micha Hancock is third (.58) and Minnesota’s Daly Santana is tied for fourth (.53). Wicinski is also among the leaders in points per set (5.20), ranking seventh nationally. Four Big Ten standouts rank among the top 10 in hitting percentage, as Penn State’s Katie Slay ranks second (.465), Minnesota’s Tori Dixon is fourth (.453), Illinois’ Anna Dorn is sixth (.441) and Northwestern’s Katie Dutchman is seventh (.430).
Statistically Speaking, Part Two: In the team rankings, Minnesota leads the country in hitting percentage (.322), ranks third in assists (13.83), ninth in kills (14.58) and is tied for 10th in aces per set (1.65). Penn State ranks fourth and fifth, respectively, in hitting percentage (.313) and kills per set (.313). Nebraska ranks seventh in hitting percentage (.303), while Michigan State ranks ninth (.293). The Spartans also appear in the top 10 in aces per set, ranking seventh nationally (1.70).
Don’t Touch That Dial: Ten of this week’s 12 Big Ten matches will be broadcast live or streamed online. Wednesday’s Illinois-Michigan match and Friday’s Purdue-Penn State contest will each be shown live at 8 p.m. ET on BTN, while Sunday’s Minnesota-Nebraska contest will air live at 3 p.m. on ESPN2. Additionally, seven of the conference’s matches will be streamed live at www.BTN.com.
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