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This Week in the Big Ten

March 3, 2014

[ONE // tourney time!]
The Big Ten announced on Sunday the bracket for the 2014 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, with Penn State and Michigan State collecting the top two seeds after each earned shares of the Big Ten Championship. With its win over Michigan on Saturday, the Lady Lions claimed their third-straight Big Ten Championship, while the Spartans clinched a share of the crown with their victory over Indiana this evening. The 2014 Big Ten Tournament will be played Thursday through Sunday, March 6-9, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.  In addition to Penn State and Michigan State, Nebraska earned the No. 3 seed, followed by No. 4 Purdue, No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Minnesota, and No. 7 Michigan.  Rounding out the field is No. 8 Ohio State, No. 9 Northwestern, No. 10 Indiana, No. 11 Wisconsin, and No. 12 Illinois.

[TWO // all sold out]
For the second consecutive year, the conference office announced that the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is officially sold out. The 2014 event is scheduled for March 13-16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.  The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament features 11 games over four days, beginning with four contests on Thursday, and the top four teams will receive byes into the quarterfinal round on Friday.  The 2014 edition serves as the 18th time the women's tournament will be held in Indianapolis, while the men tip off in Indy for the ninth time. The Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments will also be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2016.

[THREE // michigan men continue to a-maize, part one]
Following its 66-56 victory over Minnesota, coupled with Illinois' win over Michigan State, Michigan clinched at least a share of its 14th Big Ten Championship on Saturday night. Boasting a 13-3 mark with two games remaining in the conference season, the Wolverines win their second Big Ten title in the past three years after earning a share of the crown in 2012. Michigan can claim its first outright championship since the 1985-86 campaign with a win at Illinois on Tuesday night.

[FOUR // michigan men continue to a-maize, part two]
Michigan captured the 2014 Big Ten Men's Swimming & Diving Championship Saturday night at the Donald B. Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich.. The title marks the Wolverines' fourth consecutive crown and 38th overall.  Michigan compiled 889 points throughout the four-day event. Indiana finished second after collecting 564 points and Ohio State was third with 515 points. Minnesota finished fourth with 378 points, while Penn State recorded 349.5 points to finish fifth.  Penn State's Shane Ryan was named the Swimmer of the Championships, while Indiana's Darian Schmidt was tabbed the Diver of the Championships. Minnesota's Jakub Maly was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Michigan head coach Mike Bottom was tabbed the Swimming Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive season, while Indiana diving coach Drew Johansen was named the Diving Coach of the Year.  The 2014 All-Big Ten Teams along with the Sportsmanship Award honorees can be found by clicking here.

[FIVE // penn state back on track]
The Penn State women won the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The Nittany Lions posted three individual crowns and one relay title to claim the championship. The title marks Penn State’s third overall and first since 2010.  Penn State totaled 114.50 points en route to the championship, while Michigan (104 points) and Nebraska (92 points) came in second and third, respectively. Minnesota finished in fourth place with 64.50 points, while Purdue rounded out the top five with 53 points.  BTN will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 8.  The complete results and All-Big Ten teams can be found by clicking here.

[SIX // wisconsin wins again]
Wisconsin took home the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The Badgers posted four individual crowns en route to their second-straight title and 25th overall. Wisconsin totaled 122.50 points to claim the championship, while Nebraska (118 points) and Penn State (72 points) came in second and third, respectively. Illinois finished in fourth place with 71.50 points, while Purdue rounded out the top five with 61 points. 

[SEVEN // big ten medal detector]
Eighteen current and former Big Ten student-athletes, coaches and university students earned 20 Olympic medals at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games held February 7-23 in Sochi, Russia. The conference brought home medals in both men’s and women’s ice hockey, bobsled and ice dancing, including five gold, 11 silver and four bronze. Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin each saw its Olympic competitors bring home medals. Minnesota led all schools with five participants and one coach medaling, while participants from Michigan and Wisconsin took home five medals each.

[EIGHT // four hockey goaltenders up for richter award]
Michigan's Zach Nagelvoort, Michigan State's Jake Hildebrand, Minnesota's Adam Wilcox and Wisconsin's Joel Rumpel are among the 18 candidates for the inaugural Mike Richter Award, which honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men's hockey. The award will be presented at the 2014 NCAA Men's Frozen Four in Philadelphia.  Candidates for the Mike Richter Award were determined by nominations from all 59 NCAA Division I men's hockey head coaches. The finalists and winner will be selected by a committee of coaches, scouts and members of the media.

[NINE // lucas halfway to naismith award]
Penn State guard Maggie Lucas was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2014 Women's Naismith Trophy, which honors the National Player of the Year, it was announced on Thursday. The senior is averaging 21.6 points per game, which is 15th nationally, and was named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. Four finalists will be announced on March 21st, with the winner revealed during the Women's Final Four.

[TEN // big ten pair named finalists for lieberman award]
Two conference standouts are among a group of 22 players national who were named finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the nation's top point guard. Iowa's Samantha Logic and Northwestern's Ashley Deary remain in the running for the honor. The duo entered the week ranked among the national top 10 in assists per game with Logic third at 7.5 assists and Deary, who is one of two freshman named to the list, ranked ninth at 6.6 assists per contest. The list will be narrowed to five in March and the winner will be announced at the Women's Final Four in April.

[ELEVEN // back to the future]
Big Ten schools on Friday revealed a breakdown of their opponents for the 2015 Big Ten men’s and women's basketball seasons.  Next year, the 14 Big Ten teams will compete in an 18-game conference schedule, playing five teams both home and away and eight teams once. Each team will play four of its single-play opponents at home and four on the road.  On the women’s side, Big Ten teams previously competed in 18-game conference schedules from the 1982-83 through the 1993-94 seasons, and again from the 2007-08 through the 2009-10 campaigns.  Click here for a look at the men’s breakdown for next year.

[TWELVE // ready to run (or walk) in indy]
Finally this week, the fifth annual Big Ten Hoops Day 5K returns to Indianapolis as part of the 2014 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments. The run/walk is scheduled for Sunday, March 16, at 11 a.m. and tips off Championship Sunday of the men's tournament. Registration for the Big Ten Hoops Day 5K is $20 if you sign up online at www.tuxbro.com. You can also register for $25 on-site the day of the event.  The event starts and finishes in front of Bankers Life Fieldhouse and winds 3.1 miles through downtown with the final three blocks running down vibrant Georgia Street.

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