Nov. 28, 2006
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
The Big Ten will send seven conference teams to the NCAA Championship, which ties the Pac-10 and the SEC for the highest conference representation.
This season marks the sixth time in conference history the Big Ten has had seven or more teams selected to the NCAA Championship. The conference sent a record eight teams to the NCAAs in 1999 and 2002 and boasted seven NCAA participants in 1995, 2003 and 2004.
The Big Ten is 40-21 (.656) with seven participants in the tournament. In comparison, the conference is 61-36 (.629) when six teams participate in the tournament and 22-15 (.595) when eight teams advance to postseason play.
The Big Ten holds an overall NCAA Championship record of 178-110 (.618), dating back to 1983. The conference has boasted a combined winning percentage of .600 or higher in 11 of the last 13 years and a .500 or better record in each of the past 14 tournaments. The Big Ten was 10-6 (.625) in 2005.
The Big Ten has recorded 10 or more wins in the past three NCAA Championships. In 2005, the conference boasted a 10-6 mark, which was preceded by a league record of 15 wins in 2004 (15-7). The Big Ten posted an 11-7 record in 2003.
In 1999, Penn State (36-1) became the lone school in the league to win the NCAA Championship.
Three Big Ten teams -- Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin -- will all serve as host for first and second round action. This is the third straight year both Penn State and Wisconsin have served as hosts for the first and second rounds.
Three Big Ten teams -- No. 3 Penn State, No. 11 Ohio State and No. 14 Purdue -- have been seeded in the Seattle (Wash.) Region. This rarity marks just the second time a conference has ever had three seeded teams slotted in the same region for the NCAA Championship since the NCAA increased the seeds from eight teams to 16 in 1998. The Pac-10 boasted No. 4 seed Arizona, No. 5 Stanford and No. 12 USC in the Palo Alto (Calif.) Region in last year's tournament. However, Arizona was the lone Pac-10 team to advance to regional play in 2005.
Of the seven Big Ten squads that made the NCAA field, six have an all-time tournament winning percentage of .500 or better, led by Minnesota, which makes its 12th appearance with a 22-11 record (.667). Penn State follows at .652 (45-24) over 25 years, while Wisconsin enters its 14th tournament with a mark of 26-14 (.650). Ohio State's record of 24-16 (.600) spans 15 years, while Michigan State makes its 11th appearance at 11-10 (.524). Purdue is an even 9-9 (.500) over nine years and is making its 10th appearance. Michigan enters its seventh NCAA Tournament with a record of 5-6 (.455)
Penn State is one of just three teams (Stanford, UC Santa Barbara) to have earned bids to all 26 NCAA Championships.
BIG TEN REGULAR SEASON NOTES
Penn State Captures Fourth Straight Outright Title
With an 18-2 conference record, Penn State captured its 10th Big Ten Championship and fourth-straight outright title, which is a first in conference history. Penn State won four consecutive championships from 1996-99, but shared the titles with Michigan State in 1996 and Wisconsin in 1997 before winning outright in 1998 and 1999. The only other program to win more than two consecutive conference championships was Illinois, whose 1986-88 teams captured three solo titles.
Over Half of Big Ten Teams Boast 20+ Wins
For just the sixth time since the Big Ten expanded to 11 teams in 1991, over half the conference squads have captured 20 wins or more in a season. The year's feat also marks the second time (1994-95) the Big Ten has ever had back-to-back seasons with six teams at 20 wins or more. Currently, Michigan (21-12), Minnesota (23-7), Ohio State (23-7), Penn State (29-2), Purdue (21-10) and Wisconsin (24-6) have eclipsed the 20-win mark, while Michigan State (19-11) is one victory away from giving the Big Ten seven teams with 20 or more victories. The conference has boasted six 20-win teams in 1994, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2005 and 2006.
Five Schools Ranked in Top 25 Poll
Five Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 25 of the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll. Penn State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 5, followed by No. 9 Minnesota, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 18 Ohio State and No. 23 Purdue. Michigan State is currently receiving votes outside the top 25.
Big Ten Players & Teams Ranked in NCAA Stats
According to the latest NCAA stats, through Nov. 26, Penn State ranks first in hitting percentage (.319) and second in blocks (3.63). Michigan State is ninth in kills (16.92), 10th in assists (15.63) and 12th in hitting percentage (.279). Ohio State currently ranks ninth in hitting percentage (.284). Illinois' Lizzie Bazzetta (13.64) is the highest-ranked conference standout as she ranks sixth in assists (13.64).
Win No. 200 Worth the Waite
Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite, who was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the conference mentors this week, won his 200th match as a Badger when his team swept No. 22 Purdue this past weekend. Waite is 200-61 in his eighth year at UW. Wisconsin will be competing in its 15th overall and 11th consecutive NCAA tournament.
Spartan Sweeps & Stats
At 19-11, Michigan State's 19 regular-season wins mark the highest Spartan win total since the 2003 campaign. MSU also posted a span of eight straight sweeps earlier this season, and has swept its opponent in 16 of its 19 wins this year. In her second year as Spartan head coach, Cathy George is just four wins shy of her 400th career victory, while the Michigan State program is just two wins short of 600 in its history.
No. 18 Ohio State finished the month of November with a perfect 8-0 mark and won all 24 games it played in. The Buckeyes won eight straight matches by 3-0 shutouts.