[ONE // michigan end hoops season as national runner-up]
Third-seeded Michigan saw its magical NCAA Tournament run end this past Monday, falling to top-seeded Villanova, 79-62, in the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game at the Alamodome. Senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led Michigan with 23 points. He finished his collegiate career as the school’s al-time leader in games played (144). Junior Moritz Wagner (16 points, seven rebounds) and sophomore Zavier Simpson (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Wolverines. Though the loss snapped Michigan’s 14-game win streak — its last loss was nearly two months ago on Feb. 6 at Northwestern — its appearance in the national championship game capped one of the best seasons in program history. The Wolverines won a program-record 33 games, captured the Big Ten Tournament for the second consecutive year, and made a deep run in the NCAA Tournament that culminated in its second trip to the Final Four in six seasons.
[TWO // notre dame hockey concludes season in ncaa title game]
The Notre Dame hockey team saw its historic 2017-18 campaign come to a close with another one-goal game, but this time it was Minnesota Duluth able to take the decision, capturing the national title with a 2-1 over the Irish in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Saturday. The title game appearance capped a remarkable season for Notre Dame, which included a 16-game winning streak and both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships during the inaugural season in the league. The Irish advanced to the Frozen Four for the fourth time in school history and second consecutive year. Third-seeded Minnesota Duluth also got past No. 1 seed Ohio State in the national semifinal, 2-1, which ended the Buckeyes’ year 26-10-5, They made their second Frozen Four appearance in program history and the first since 1998. In the other national semifinal, Notre Dame’s Jake Evans scored with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Irish past Michigan, 4-3.
[THREE // handing out the hockey hardware]
Five Big Ten standouts claimed honors this past Friday, highlighted by Notre Dame’s Cale Morris earning the 2018 Mike Richter Award. The award honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. Morris was also one of three Big Ten students to be named a CCM/AHCA Hockey All-American for the 2017-18 season on Friday. The sophomore goalie was placed on the on the west first team, while Michigan forward Cooper Marody and Ohio State forward Tanner Laczynski earned spots on the second team. Earlier in the week, Notre Dame forward Jake Evans was named the 2017-18 Senior CLASS Award winner for NCAA Division I men’s hockey. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men’s hockey coaches, national hockey media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I men’s hockey. In addition, Michigan defenseman Sam Piazza was named a first-team Senior CLASS All-American. Also, Fighting Irish head coach Jeff Jackson was named this past Monday the 2018 Spencer Penrose Award winner.
[FOUR // huskers, five women’s gymnasts qualify for ncaa championships]
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team punched its ticket to the NCAA National Semifinals after finishing in second place at the NCAA Raleigh Regional with a season-high team score of 197.525, its best score in five years, while five gymnasts from other Big Ten squads have advanced out of regional action. The Huskers were led by sophomore Taylor Houchin, who was named the Regional Champion on bars with a 9.975, and the Regional Co-Champion on vault with a 9.95. Nebraska’s 197.525 is its highest team score since March 13, 2013 at the Big Ten Championships. Maryland also competed in the Raleigh Regional and placed fourth with a score of 195.850. Ohio State earned its third-highest score of the season (196.500) to finish third at the NCAA Columbus Regional on Saturday. Jamie Stone tied her career high for first place on vault with a 9.900 to advance to the NCAA Championships. Ohio State’s third-place finish is the best since 2012. Penn State finished fifth at the State College Regional with a score of 194.900, but freshman Lauren Bridgens advanced in the all-around after finishing third with a score of 39.200. Illinois tallied a 196.425 team score at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, while sophomore Rae Balthazor became the 13th Illini gymnast to qualify individually in the all-around competition for the NCAA Championships. Balthazor scored a 39.250 to punch her ticket to St. Louis. Michigan finished fourth at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, but advanced senior Brianna Brown in the all-around with a third-place score of 39.325 and a winning score of 9.950 on the uneven bars. Lexy Ramler qualified for the NCAA Championships in the all-around with a fifth-place score of 39.500, while the Gophers took fourth place at the Minneapolis Regional. Iowa concluded the season in Minneapolis with a sixth-place score of 195.050. Michigan State finished the season with two individuals competing in the NCAA Columbus Regional with freshman Lea Mitchell competing in the all-around and senior Hailee Westney performing on bars. Elsewhere, Rutgers senior Libby Groden, freshman Belle Huang and senior Makenzey Shank wrapped up the season at the NCAA State College Regional.
[FIVE // illini fight to big ten men’s gymnastics crown]
The Illinois men’s gymnastics team won the 2018 Big Ten Championship at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Friday. The Illini secured their 28th Big Ten title and the first since 2012. Illinois totaled 413.900 team points, followed by second-place Michigan (408.600) and third-place Penn State (406.350). Ohio State finished fourth (405.600), Minnesota placed fifth (405.450), Nebraska came in sixth (404.750) and Iowa rounded out the team standings in seventh place with 398.550 points. The Buckeyes’ Sean Melton captured the Big Ten all-around title for the third consecutive season after tallying a score of 84.450. In other individual events, Penn State’s Brennan Pantazis (14.275) and Stephen Nedoroscik (14.475) won the floor exercise and pommel horse, respectively, while Nebraska’s Anton Stephenson (14.950) earned the vault title. Stephenson also shared the parallel bars crown with Minnesota’s Tristan Duran (14.150). Illinois’ Alex Diab (14.525) and Chandler Eggleston (14.250) won the still rings and high bar, respectively.
[SIX // gopher earn top men’s gymnastics award]
Minnesota’s Shane Wiskus received 2018 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year honors, the Big Ten announced this past Monday. Wiskus was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year after collecting 33 podium finishes during the season, including nine individual event titles. The Spring Park, Minn., native is ranked No. 1 in the nation on the floor exercise with a 15.000. The freshman is also ranked top five in the all-around competition and the parallel bars, as well as top 10 in the vault and top 15 in the high bar.
[SEVEN // big ten men’s lacrosse trio among 10 finalists for senior class award]
For the first time since 2012, three Big Ten students are among 10 men’s lacrosse standouts nationwide who excel both on and off the field that have been selected as finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award for collegiate lacrosse. Congratulations and best of luck to Maryland’s Dan Morris, Rutgers’ Michael Rexrode, and Johns Hopkins’ Shack Stanwick. To be eligible for the award, students must be classified as NCAA Division I seniors and have notable accomplishments in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 20 candidates announced earlier this month. Last year, Maryland’s Isaiah Davis-Allen became the first Big Ten student to be awarded the prestigious honor.
[EIGHT // escobedo takes reins of hoosier wrestling as goldman retires]
Indiana Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass announced Thursday that Duane Goldman, the all-time winningest coach in Indiana Wrestling history, has decided to retire after 26 years at the helm of the IU program. Glass has appointed former Indiana University student-athlete and Griffith, Ind., native Angel Escobedo, also a four-time All-American and 2008 NCAA champion, as Goldman’s replacement. During his 26 years in Bloomington, Goldman coached three NCAA champions (Escobedo – 2008, Joe Dubuque – 2005 and 2006), five NCAA finalists, 30 All-Americans, 113 NCAA qualifiers, and had 13 teams place in the top-25 at the NCAA Championships. His students also excelled academically, evidenced by the program’s 21 Academic All-Americans and 140 Academic All-Big Ten selections during his tenure. In addition to his 2008 NCAA title at 125 pounds, Escobedo was also a three-time Big Ten champion (2008, 2009, 2010) for the Hoosiers. He’s the program’s only four-time All-American, and his 137 career wins (second) and 42 pins (third) rank among the best in IU history.
[NINE // diamond notes]
Mother Nature wreaked havoc on Big Ten baseball and softball schedules this past week as 10 softball contests were either postponed or canceled, while baseball series were shortened and even forced to move to another conference member’s field. At the end of the week, Michigan has won nine of its last 10 softball contests to sit atop the league’s softball standings at 7-1, just ahead of Indiana (7-2), which dropped two out of three home games to Nebraska this week for the Hoosiers’ first losses in Big Ten play. Illinois, Iowa and Ohio State swept Big Ten foes Maryland, Wisconsin and Rutgers, respectively. In baseball, a ninth-inning rally extended Michigan’s win streak to 15 games on Sunday as the Wolverines defeated Northwestern 7-3 to clinch its fourth-consecutive series sweep in the weekend finale at Miller Park. The 15 consecutive wins marked a new record under head coach Erik Bakich. Minnesota has won five straight, including a three-game sweep over Penn State, but those victories came at Purdue this past weekend. The three-game series, originally scheduled to be played at Minnesota, was played at Purdue due to winter weather in Minneapolis. With a 5-3 win Sunday, Michigan State swept the shortened series with Nebraska, which was reduced to two games due to weather. Snow was falling in the bottom of the eighth inning when Iowa sophomore Grant Judkins hit a two-out RBI double down the left field line to send Iowa to a 2-1 series-clinching victory over Ohio State on Sunday. Elsewhere, Logan Kaletha launched a two-run walk-off homer to end a 13-inning marathon and give Indiana a 7-5 home win over rival Purdue on Sunday, while Illinois topped Maryland 4-2 to clinch its Big Ten series, 2-1.
[TEN // spring football is here]
Finally this week, it’s hard to believe that it’s time to talk football again, but Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue conducted their spring game this past Saturday, while the majority of schools will hold their annual contest next week