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This Week in the Big Ten

February 4, 2014

[ONE // seven big ten standouts collect super bowl rings]
Seven former Big Ten standouts ended their week on a high note as Super Bowl Champions, following the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos.  Ex-Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson accounted for 232 yards and two touchdowns and Purdue product Cliff Avril had three tackles and a pair of passes defended. BTN.com was quick to break down the performances of all Big Ten products in the game, which can be viewed by clicking here.

[TWO // state of big ten basketball found in michigan]
It was an interesting start and finish to the week for the Big Ten men’s basketball leaders Michigan and Michigan State, but at week’s end the two teams are tied atop the standings at 8-1.  The squads are two games ahead of third-place team Iowa (6-3), a team which the Spartans beat 71-69 in overtime on Tuesday.  Two stunners highlighted Wednesday’s action as Penn State upset No. 24/23 Ohio State 71-70 in overtime, while Northwestern topped No. 14/13 Wisconsin, 65-56.  On Thursday, Nebraska shocked Indiana at home, 60-55, and No. 10/14 Michigan dropped Purdue, 75-66.  The Buckeyes rebounded on Saturday to win the weekend’s marquee matchup with a 59-58 victory over No. 14/13 Wisconsin.  On Sunday, Indiana defended its home court with a 63-52 upset win over Michigan.

[THREE // lady lions roaring along]
Penn State used a key rivalry win on Thursday and avoided a scare on Sunday to stay atop the conference’s women’s basketball standings at 8-1.  The Lady Lions defeated Purdue 75-72 on Thursday and escaped a 79-75 decision to Northwestern on Sunday.  Michigan State, which sits one game back of Penn State, earned a 71-67 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday and an 89-73 win over Purdue on Saturday. 

[FOUR // five hoops stars earn academic all-district honors]
A total of five Big Ten basketball standouts were named CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District on Thursday.  On the men’s side, Nebraska's Shavon Shields, Northwestern's Drew Crawford and Dave Sobolewski and Ohio State's Aaron Craft were recognized, with Craft, Crawford and Sobolewski named to the Academic All-District 5 Team, while Shields was recognized by District 7.  On the women’s side, Michigan's Nicole Elmblad was named to the Capital One Academic All-District first team on Thursday.

[FIVE // wolverine earns national player of the week award]
Michigan's Nik Stauskas, who claimed Big Ten Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week this past Monday, was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week on Tuesday.  Stauskas, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, averaged 22.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game in leading Michigan to wins over Iowa and Michigan State, a pair of AP top-10 teams.  For that award-winning week, he shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the field, 60.0 percent (9-of-15) from three-point range and 85.7 percent (6-of-7) from the free throw line.

[SIX // minnesota hockey tested, remains unbeaten]
Top-ranked Minnesota earned its second tie of the season in Big Ten hockey action on Friday as the Golden Gophers tied Michigan State 2-2 before falling 2-1 to the Spartans in a shootout.  Minnesota would respond the next night with a 1-0 victory over MSU, which improved the team’s NCAA-best unbeaten streak to 14 games.  Elsewhere in the league, No. 12/12 Michigan defeated No. 9/9 Wisconsin 3-1 on Friday and then outlasted the Badgers in a shootout 1-0 after settling for a 2-2 tie.  Ohio State was also victorious, scoring a 5-1 triumph over Penn State.

[SEVEN // wolverines top rival buckeyes in men’s gymnastics]
The No. 2 Michigan men’s gymnastics team posted a 444.750-440.800 victory over rival and No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday in a battle of two of the nation’s top-four teams.  No. 4 Illinois was in action at Nebraska for a tri-meet with No. 7 Minnesota as well.  The Illini defeated the host and 10th-ranked Huskers, 440.800-420.700, but fell to the Golden Gophers with a score of 435.000-432.700.

[EIGHT // top-25 matchups highlight week in women’s gymnastics]
This past week in Big Ten women’s gymnastics, a pair of top-25 meets on Saturday highlighted the schedule.  No. 8 Nebraska held off No. 14 Minnesota, 196.975-195.900, while No. 24 Penn State earned its second straight B1G win with a 196.150-195.625 decision at No. 21 Ohio State.  On Friday, No. 4 Michigan dropped in-state rival Michigan State, 196.800-193.900, and No. 17 Illinois held off Iowa, 196.475-195.050.

[NINE // penn state earns at least of wrestling title]
With its 32-9 win over No. 11 Michigan on Sunday afternoon, No. 1 Penn State clinched at least a share of the Big Ten Wrestling Dual Meet Championship. The regular season conference title marks the second in the past three years for the Nittany Lions. With Sunday’s win, Penn State improved to 7-0 in Big Ten matches and 13-0 overall. The Nittany Lions will face No. 2 Minnesota in their final Big Ten dual match on Sunday, Feb. 9. 

 [TEN // indiana baseball to begin season ranked third nationally]
Indiana checks in at No. 3 in the preseason rankings released by Baseball America this past Monday, the highest preseason rating for any Big Ten team in the publication since Michigan was also No. 3 in 1988. The Hoosiers appear among the top 10 in preseason standings released by Perfect Game (No. 5) and College Baseball Newspaper (No. 7). The Hoosiers finished the 2013 season with a school record 49 victories and ranked seventh in the Baseball America poll.

[ELEVEN // michigan, nebraska leading big ten softball in national poll]
Michigan and Nebraska are both ranked among the top 10 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll, which was released on Tuesday. The Wolverines open the season ranked No. 5, while the Cornhuskers were No. 9. Reigning Big Ten Champion Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa also received votes in the preseason poll.  The preseason rankings mirrored last week's NFCA preseason poll, in which Michigan was slotted fifth and Nebraska was ranked No. 9.

[TWELVE // seven softball standouts to watch]
Finally this week, seven student-athletes from six Big Ten schools were selected to the "Watch List" for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, as announced by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball on Wednesday.  The Big Ten's representatives on the watch list were Iowa's Megan Blank, Michigan's Sara Driesenga and Sierra Romero, Minnesota's Kaitlin Richardson, Nebraska's Tatum Edwards, Purdue's Andie Varsho and Wisconsin's Mary Massei. All seven standouts were named first-team All-Big Ten in 2013.

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