BIG 10 RELEASE
[ONE // michigan men to play for national hoops title]
Behind Moritz Wagner’s 24 points and career-high 15 rebounds, the Michigan Wolverines advanced to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game with a 69-57 victory over 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four on Saturday night in the Alamodome. The Wolverines are returning to the title game for the first time since 2013. Third-seed Michigan will play No. 1 seed Villanova in the title game on Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET, in a game televised on TBS. Since 2005, six Big Ten teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament championship game. Illinois reached the final in 2005, Ohio State played in the 2007 title game, Michigan State reached the national championship game in 2009, Michigan also played in the final in 2013 and Wisconsin advanced to the title game in 2015. The last Big Ten program to win the NCAA Championship was Michigan State in 2000.
[TWO // nittany lions roar to men’s nit championship]
The Penn State men’s basketball team claimed its second National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Championship with an 82-66 victory over Utah at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. Lamar Stevens scored 28 points and was named the NIT Most Outstanding Player. Josh Reaves added 18 and Tony Carr had 15 points and 14 assists for Penn State. The Nittany Lions also won the postseason title in 2009. Penn State, who has won 10 consecutive NIT games, dating to that 2009 season, finished the season with a 26-9 record, its second-most wins in a season in school history. Current Big Ten teams have now won 11 NIT Championships with Minnesota winning the last in 2014. NIT titles won by current Big Ten programs: Maryland (1972), Purdue (1974), Indiana (1979), Michigan (1984, 2004), Ohio State (1986, 2008), Minnesota (1993, 2014) and Penn State (2009, 2018).
[THREE // record crowd sees hoosiers earn women’s nit crown]
Seniors Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill combined for 13 of Indiana’s 22 fourth-quarter points as the Hoosiers rallied for a 65-57 win over Virginia Tech in the championship game of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) on Saturday afternoon before a record-setting crowd of 13,007 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. IU (23-14) claimed its first WNIT title (and first national postseason tournament championship of any kind) while becoming the sixth different Big Ten school, and second in as many seasons, to earn a WNIT championship. The Hoosiers, who also tied a school record with their 23rd win of the season on Saturday, join Penn State (1998), Wisconsin (2000), Ohio State (2001), Rutgers (2014) and Michigan (2017) as the Big Ten’s WNIT champions. Saturday’s attendance was the largest crowd to watch a Big Ten women’s basketball game this season and the largest in Indiana women’s basketball history, surpassing the previous mark of 10,022 against Purdue on Feb. 20, 2005. With Penn State’s men’s NIT title, the Hoosiers victory marked the first time in conference history that Big Ten schools have earned both the men’s and women’s NIT championships in the same season. Buss was named the WNIT Most Valuable Player, with Cahill joining her on the All-Tournament Team.
[FOUR // big ten basketball pair earn consensus all-america honors]
Ohio State junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and Michigan State sophomore forward Miles Bridges have been recognized as 2018 NCAA Consensus Men’s Basketball All-Americans, earning second-team accolades. The 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball All-Americans are honorary lists that include All-American selections from the Associated Press (AP), the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), the Sporting News (TSN), and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Bates-Diop and Bridges both earned second-team honors from all four outlets. Purdue sophomore guard Carsen Edwards also collected individual All-American honors as he was a second-team honoree by the NABC and third-teamer by the Associated Press and Sporting News.
[FIVE // ten women’s standouts earn all-america accolades on the hardwood]
Following Thursday’s announcement of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches’ All-America Team, 10 Big Ten women’s basketball students representing seven conference schools have earned All-America honors from at least one national organization for their performance during the 2017-18 season. Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State each had two All-America honorees, while Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Rutgers all had one All-American. Iowa’s Megan Gustafson led the conference contingent with recognition by six national outlets, while Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell garnered five All-America accolades.
[SIX // indiana, purdue earn big ten men’s swimming and diving honors]
The Big Ten announced this past Tuesday the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Swimmer, Diver, Swimming Coach and Diving Coach of the Year awards, as voted on by the conference coaches. Indiana’s Ian Finnerty was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, while Purdue’s Steele Johnson was picked for Big Ten Diver of the Year. Indiana’s Ray Looze secured unanimous Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year honors, and the Hoosiers’ Drew Johansen earned Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year plaudits. Finnerty recently earned three national titles at the NCAA Championships, while Johnson secured a two top-two finishes at the national meet. Looze collected Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year accolades for the fourth time as the Indiana men’s swimming coach, and has earned it five times during his tenure as the women’s coach. Johansen earned Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year laurels for the second time after mentoring Big Ten Diver of the Championships, Michael Hixon to the one-meter NCAA title.
[SEVEN // aau james e. sullivan award finalists announced]
Six current and former Big Ten standouts have been named 2018 AAU Sports James E. Sullivan Award finalists and invited to attend the ceremony for the award on Tuesday, April 17, in New York City. The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the AAU Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country. Congratulations and best of luck to Michigan distance runner Erin Finn and figure skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani, Nebraska volleyball standouts Annika Albrecht and Kelly Hunter, and Ohio State wrestler Kyle Snyder.
[EIGHT // eight women’s gymnastics teams set to compete in ncaa regional action]
Women’s gymnasts from all 10 Big Ten schools are set to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships on Saturday, April 7. Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State will represent the conference in team competition, while several gymnasts from Michigan State and Rutgers will participate in various individual events. Big Ten teams will appear in five regionals across the country. Michigan, the 2018 Big Ten Champions and regular-season champions, will travel to the Tuscaloosa Regional as the No. 7 seed and compete alongside Illinois. Host to the Minneapolis Regional, the Gophers will compete alongside Iowa. Ohio State will host and compete in the Columbus Regional, while the Nittany Lions look to advance out of their State College Regional. The final two Big Ten teams advancing to Regionals are Maryland and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers will travel to the Raleigh Regional as the No. 11 seed and compete against the Terrapins. Last season, Michigan and Nebraska earned team berths to the NCAA Championships, while five individuals advanced, including Iowa’s Angel Metcalf (all-around) and Clair Kaji (beam), Ohio State’s Alex Mattern (all-around) and Penn State’s Sabrina Garcia (all-around) and Briannah Tsang (all-around).
[NINE // diamond notes]
The Indiana softball team clinched the sweep of its second straight Big Ten series on Saturday, defeating Michigan State, 5-1. The win moved the Hoosiers to 6-0 in conference action, the best start to Big Ten play for the program since 1994. In addition, Indiana has won seven straight games, the longest win streak since 2011. IU owns a one-game advantage over Maryland (5-1), while Michigan (4-1) and Northwestern (5-3) follow in the league standings. Maryland swept its three-game series with Iowa, Michigan took three from Purdue while outscoring the Boilermakers 21-1, and Northwestern rebounded from a 6-2 loss in the opener to take the final two from Nebraska over the weekend. In baseball, while Michigan scored three non-conference wins over the weekend to win its 12th straight, Purdue took all three from Penn State to pull tied with the Wolverines atop the conference standings at 3-0. Illinois and Rutgers are tied for third at 4-2. The Fighting Illini took just one of three games at home against Iowa, while the Scarlet Knights picked up the first two at Michigan State before falling 6-0 to the Spartans in Sunday’s series finale.
[TEN // they come in threes]
Finally this week, we officially welcome three new head coaches to the conference, including Minnesota men’s ice hockey coach Bob Motzko, and wrestling mentors Sean Bormet and Chris Bono at Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively. Motzko, a Minnesota native and an assistant coach for the two most recent Gopher national championship teams, has spent the past 13 years building St. Cloud State into a national program. Bormet, himself a former Michigan All-American, spent seven years as the Wolverines’ top assistant, including the last four as associate head coach. Bono, the 2017 Big 12 Coach of the Year, spent the last six seasons as the head coach at South Dakota State, establishing the Jackrabbits as a national contender and a powerhouse in the Big 12, coaching three conference champions in the program’s three years in the league.