THIS WEEK IN THE BIG TEN
February 17, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
[ONE // hockey reps coming up B1G in olympics]
The 14 players from Big Ten hockey schools taking part in the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, made a very significant impact in the tournament's opening round, which concluded Sunday. Former Minnesota standout Phil Kessel leads all players in the event with seven points (four goals, three assists), including a hat trick in Sunday's 5-1 win for the United States over Slovenia. Skating on a line with Kessel, former Badger Joe Pavelski is tied for fourth overall with three assists through three games. Former Buckeye Ryan Kesler has also tallied multiple points, registering a goal and an assist for the U.S. Also recording points for the United States were Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) with a goal and both Blake Wheeler (Minnesota) and Max Pacioretty (Michigan) with an assist each while Ryan Miller (Michigan State) claimed a victory in his lone start. The United States finished first in Group A, earning the No. 2 seed for the playoff round. The U.S. will face either the Czech Republic or Slovakia in quarterfinal action on Wednesday. For more information regarding Big Ten players representing other countries on the ice, click here.
[TWO // state of michigan falters, still atop big ten standings]
It was not a pleasant Sunday afternoon for the Michigan and Michigan State men’s basketball teams, however both squads remained atop the conference standings at 10-3 in league action. Iowa sits third at 8-4, followed by Wisconsin at 8-5 and Ohio State at 7-6. All three road teams earned victories Sunday, including No. 21/21 Wisconsin upsetting No. 15/18 Michigan, 75-62, Nebraska stunning No. 9/10 Michigan State, 60-51, and Minnesota stopping Northwestern, 54-48. All other ranked teams did not succumb to any surprises this past week, leaving the only other headline as Michigan’s 60-50 victory over No. 22/20 Ohio State on ESPN’s “Super Tuesday.”
[THREE // four hoops honorees recognized at midseason by naismith award]
Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble, Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Michigan State's Keith Appling and Gary Harris were named to the midseason top 30 list for the Naismith Award on Thursday. The award recognizes the men's basketball National Player of the Year. Marble is among the Big Ten’s best in scoring and steals, Stauskas is the conference’s top perimeter shooter, Appling is near the top of the league’s stat lines in scoring and assists, while his teammate Harris ranks third in scoring and fourth in steals.
[FOUR // lady lions still lingering at top of women’s basketball standings]
Penn State’s women’s basketball team has concluded yet another week atop the women’s basketball standings at 11-2. Michigan State and Nebraska follow in a tie for second at 9-3 in conference play, while Iowa and Purdue are tied for fourth at 8-5. On Monday, the Hawkeyes gave head coach Lisa Bluder a memorable 90-84 win over Northwestern. With the victory, she surpassed C. Vivian Stringer as Iowa's all-time winningest coach. Bluder -- one of 13 active Division I coaches with 600 or more wins -- is 271-163 all-time as the Hawkeye head coach. The Hawkeyes were unable to close out the week with a victory as they fell 74-73 to No. 23 Purdue. Another Big Ten coach reached a milestone this past week. Head coach Pam Borton tallied her 300th-career victory as Minnesota secured its fourth-straight Big Ten win at Northwestern, 82-64, Saturday afternoon. The four-game league winning streak is the first for the Golden Gophers since the 2008-09 season.
[FIVE // three women’s stars finalists for naismith award]
Three Big Ten women's basketball standouts remain in the running for the Naismith Women's College Player of the year award, chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors. Minnesota's Rachel Banham, Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Penn State'sMaggie Lucas represent the conference on the list of 30 student-athletes. In late March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow down the pack to four finalists and the winner will be selected during the Final Four. For the full list, click here.
[SIX // tourney ticket talk]
This past Saturday, both all-session and single-session tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament were made available to the general public for purchase. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000, and through the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office. Single-session ticket prices vary from $10 to $16 depending on the sessions, while all-session tickets are available for $70. Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis will be the site of the women’s tournament from March 6-9. The tournament features all 12 Big Ten teams competing in 11 games over four days for the 2014 tournament crown and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
[SEVEN // these four have class]
Four Big Ten basketball players were named finalists this past week for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in college basketball. Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Penn State's Tim Frazier represent Big Ten men’s basketball, while Nebraska'sJordan Hooper and Penn State's Maggie Lucas were named finalists on the women’s side. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through March 24. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winners.
[EIGHT // big ten trio honored for good works]
Three Big Ten basketball standouts were named this past Tuesday to the Allstate NABC/WBCA Good Works Teams. The Big Ten represented nearly one-half of the Division I men’s players on the team as Michigan's Jordan Morgan and Ohio State's Aaron Craft were named to the five-member squad. On the women’s side, Purdue senior guard Courtney Moses was honored with the distinction for her work in the community and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. To read more about Morgan's off-the-court efforts, click here. Craft's eligibility for the Good Works Team can be documented here. In its second year, the community service honor recognizes college basketball players who have made a commitment to improving their communities and the lives of others.
[NINE // take me out to the ballgame]
Big Ten programs helped open the 2014 NCAA baseball season this past weekend as all 11 squads took to the field for the first time. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue each had opening-weekend series scheduled, while Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio State were slated to take part in various tournaments around the country. The Golden Gophers were the lone B1G team to open the season without a blemish, finishing 3-0 against Northern Illinois in Glendale, Ariz. It was the school’s first sweep of a single-opponent on opening weekend since 1998, when the Gophers swept Nebraska. Iowa and Michigan State sit second in the early conference standings at 2-1, followed by Nebraska and Ohio State at 2-2, while Penn State is 1-1.
[TEN // hoosiers heralded as best in big ten baseball]
Indiana was the unanimous choice by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to claim the Big Ten Championship, it was announced on Wednesday. The conference’s coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three players from their own squads to a Players to Watch list. The Hoosiers were followed in the preseason poll by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan State, with Illinois and Michigan tied for fifth.
[ELEVEN // putting a stop to this]
Four Big Ten pitchers were named to the National College Baseball Writers Association Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, ranking second among all conferences. Indiana's Ryan Halstead, Michigan's Jacob Cronenworth, Nebraska's Josh Roeder and Ohio State's Trace Dempsey were each named to the watch list for the award, given annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. A midseason list will be announced the week of April 21, with the finalists revealed on June 4. The winner will be announced during the 2014 College World Series.
[TWELVE // michigan strikes a match]
Finally this week, with its final match with Purdue tied at 2-2-1, the Michigan men’s golf team won a sudden-death playoff to claim its first Big Ten Match Play Championship on Saturday at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. The two-day event featured all 12 Big Ten squads, with the Wolverines posting an 11-7-2 record during the competition. BTN will broadcast the 2014 Big Ten Match Play Championship via tape delay on Sunday, March 16. The 90-minute program will air at a time to be determined. For more information and results on the event, click here.