[ONE // the challenge for the commissioner’s cup]

The matchups for the 2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, in its 20th year, were announced Friday and will be played across three days, beginning Monday, Nov. 26. The Challenge matches all 14 Big Ten teams against all but one ACC member. Tip times and network assignments will be announced at a later date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 14 games of the event, matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner’s Cup. All games will also be available to stream via the ESPN app. Nearly have the participating teams made the NCAA Tournament last year, including Final Four-bound Michigan. Eleven games are rematches from previous Challenges.


[TWO // getting ready for kickoff]

This past Thursday, BTN, ESPN and FOX Sports announced their coverage for games during the first three weeks of the 2018 football season and other select games later in the season. Details for those games can be found by clicking the link above. In addition, start times for all 14 schools’ Homecoming contests were announced. Television designations not announced for these contests will be released at a later date and may include BTN, ESPN or FOX.


[THREE // boys of summer]

The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee announced the field of 64 this past Monday with four Big Ten teams selected. Indiana, Ohio State and Purdue earned at-large berths to the national tournament, while Minnesota claimed the conference’s automatic bid after winning the Big Ten Tournament title. At week’s end, the Golden Gophers are still alive. Minnesota successfully defended its home field with a 10-1 win over Canisius and then 3-2 and 13-8 victories over UCLA to claim their first regional title in 41 years. After dropping its home contest 10-3 to Texas A&M, Indiana fought back in the Austin Regional to blank Texas Southern 6-0 and earn revenge over Texas A&M on Sunday, 9-7. The Hoosiers turned around to face top-seeded Texas late Sunday night and could not capitalize with bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth to fall 3-2 to the host Longhorns. Elsewhere, Ohio State concluded its season with an 0-2 record in the Greenville Regional and Purdue was eliminated with a 1-2 record in the Chapel Hill Regional.


[FOUR // gopher shortstop one of five finalists for brooks wallace award]

The College Baseball Foundation announced this past Wednesday that Minnesota baseball junior Terrin Vavra stands among its five finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award for the nation’s top collegiate shortstop. Vavra entered the week ranked 21st in the nation in batting average among all players at .385 while standing in the top 150 with 50 runs scored, top 100 with 77 hits, and top 75 with 55 RBIs, a .458 on-base percentage, and a .620 slugging percentage. With one strikeout every 11.8 plate appearances, he is the 40th toughest player to strike out in the nation. The award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. It is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia at the age of 27.


[FIVE // five softball standouts named all-americans]

Five Big Ten softball students from four conference schools earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I All-America honors, it was announced late Wednesday by the NFCA. Three of the five honorees — Michigan’s Faith Canfield, Minnesota’s Kendyl Lindaman and Ohio State’s Lilli Piper — received the second All-America citations of their respective careers. The other two Big Ten All-Americans were freshmen, with Michigan’s Meghan Beaubien appearing on the first team and Northwestern’s Rachel Lewis collecting second-team accolades.


[SIX // big ten sends 125 to ncaa track and field championships]

The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Committee announced Thursday the participants advancing to the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships. A total of 125 Big Ten students will represent the conference June 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon. The participants in individual and relay events qualified through competition at preliminary round sites held May 24-26 in Tampa, Florida and Sacramento, California. Heptathlon and decathlon participants will compete for the first time at the finals. A complete list of women’s participants can be found here and a complete list of men’s participants can be found here.


[SEVEN // handing out the hardware]

Fifteen Big Ten men’s and women’s outdoor track and field representatives were honored this past Friday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year. On the men’s side, Illinois’ David Kendziera (Midwest), Michigan’s Taylor McLaughlin (Great Lakes), and Penn State’s Isaiah Harris (Mid-Atlantic) were recognized as Track Athlete of the Year for their respective regions, while Michigan State’s Tim Ehrhardt (Great Lakes) and Rutgers’ Rudy Winkler (Mid-Atlantic) were honored as Field Athletes of the Year.   Ohio State’s Karen Dennis (Great Lakes) and Rosalind Joseph (Great Lakes) were tabbed as Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year. On the women’s side, Penn State’s Danae Rivers (Mid-Atlantic) and Purdue’s Brionna Thomas (Great Lakes) snagged Track Athlete of the Year accolades, while Penn State’s Madeline Holmberg (Mid-Atlantic) and Wisconsin’s Georgia Ellenwood (Great Lakes) picked up Field Athlete of the Year awards. Four coaches earned regional recognition as well, as Minnesota’s Matt Bingle (Midwest) and Purdue’s Rolando Greene (Great Lakes) earned Head Coach of the Year annals, while Minnesota’s Peter Miller (Midwest) and Wisconsin’s Nate Davis (Great Lakes) were selected as their region’s top assistant coach.


[EIGHT // illini men’s golf concludes play at ncaa championships; hardy named all-america]

Fighting Illini senior Dylan Meyer earned his second consecutive top-10 finish this past Monday at the NCAA Championships after a 3-under par final-round tally put him at 5-under par. Meyer tied for fourth overall, finishing two strokes back from the individual lead. The finish marks the fourth-highest for an Illini at the NCAA Championships in school history. The 10th-ranked Illini squad concluded the 2018 campaign after advancing to the final round of stroke play. Led by Meyer, the Orange and Blue carded a 7-over par 295 in the final round of play to finish 24-over par for the 72-hole portion of the event. The following day, Meyer’s teammate Nick Hardy was recognized as a PING First-Team All-American, one of just 11 student-athletes in the nation to earn the acclaim. The 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year picked up the second All-America nod in his career.


[NINE // buckeye tandem falls in ncaa doubles championship match]

Ohio State men’s tennis tandem Mikael Torpegaard and Martin Joyce played a great championship match but lost in heart-breaking fashion, finishing runner-up to Martin Redlicki and Evan Zhu in the finals of the NCAA Doubles Championship this past Monday. The Buckeye duo won the opening set in a breaker 10-8 but then fell in second-set break 7-4. In the match tiebreaker, the Bruins prevailed 11-9 to take the title. Torpegaard concluded his career a five-time All-America and winner of a combined 229 matches. The two-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year made runs to the NCAA team finals, the singles finals and the doubles finals in his four years. For Joyce, the junior will head into next year on a high note as he was undefeated in dual singles matches as a freshman, won 44 combined matches as a sophomore and was 31-8 in singles matches and earned the first All-American honors of his career in doubles this season.


[TEN // celebrating academic excellence]

Finally this week, the Big Ten recognized on Wednesday a total of 1,906 students competing in spring and at-large sports who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team. The list of honorees features 166 individuals in baseball, 142 in softball, 211 in women’s rowing, 67 in men’s and 82 in women’s golf, 95 in men’s and 134 in women’s lacrosse, 70 in men’s and 69 in women’s tennis, 271 in men’s and 371 in women’s track and field and 75 in men’s (representing fencing, rifle and pistol, rowing and volleyball) and 158 in women’s (representing bowling, fencing, ice hockey, lightweight rowing, rifle and pistol, sand volleyball, synchronized swimming and water polo) at-large sports. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be on a varsity team, as verified by being on the official squad list as of May 1 for spring sports, who have been enrolled fulltime at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. At least 29 students competing in spring and at-large sports maintained unblemished 4.0 cumulative GPAs.