March 19, 2018

[ONE // nittany lions roar to ncaa wrestling title; big ten impressive on big stage]

Penn State won the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, capturing the eighth NCAA wrestling title in school history and third in a row. The Nittany Lions’ title marked the 12th straight year that a Big Ten school has claimed the NCAA Championship, with seven of Penn State’s crowns coming in the last eight years. Penn State amassed 141.5 points, while fellow Big Ten member Ohio State came in second with 134.5 points. Three other Big Ten schools also finished among the top 10 — Iowa in third place (97 points), Michigan tied for fourth (80.0), and Nebraska in ninth (47.0). A total of six Big Ten standouts earned NCAA titles in the 10 weight classes, 33 grapplers earned All-America accolades, and Iowa’s Sam Stoll was awarded the Gorriaran Trophy following the championships.


[TWO // michigan, purdue, penn state remain alive in men’s basketball postseason]

Congratulations to Michigan and Purdue for advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, as well as Penn State, which has punched its ticket to the NIT quarterfinals. Four Big Ten squads opened NCAA Championship play this past week with the Wolverines and Boilermakers winning a pair to earn a spot in next week’s West and East Regionals, respectively. No. 3 seed Michigan opened with a 61-47 victory over Montana, and then followed it with a thrilling 64-63 win over No. 6 Houston late Saturday night. On Sunday, No. 2 seed Purdue topped in-state foe and 10th-seeded Butler 76-73 after opening with a 74-48 result over No. 15 Cal State-Fullerton. No. 3 Michigan State and No. 5 Ohio State were both eliminated in the second round. Penn State, seeded No. 4 in the NIT, is scheduled to travel to No. 2 Marquette on Tuesday, after stunning top-seeded Notre Dame 73-63 in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday. The Nittany Lions opened with a 63-57 win over No. 5 Temple on Wednesday.


[THREE // buckeyes, three wnit teams still alive in women’s postseason play]

Ten Big Ten women’s basketball programs were selected to the postseason, with six invited to the NCAA Championship last Sunday and four picked for the Postseason WNIT on Monday. At week’s end, four teams remain including No. 3 Ohio State in the NCAA field, and Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State in the WNIT. The Buckeyes opened the tournament with an 87-45 win over No. 14 George Washington on Saturday and will battle No. 11 Central Michigan in the second round on Monday. In the WNIT, Indiana and Purdue both earned victories in the second round on Sunday and will now square off against each other on Thursday in Bloomington. Michigan State hosts Toledo in second round competition on Monday.


[FOUR // hardwood honor roll]

A number of Big Ten basketball standouts earned praise this past week for their efforts both on the hardwood and in the classroom. In men’s basketball, the 2017-18 Sporting News and USBWA Men’s All-America Teams were announced on Monday with two Big Ten students recognized on the Second Team and one recognized on the Sporting News Third Team. Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop earned Second Team recognition on both lists, while Purdue’s Carsen Edwards was a Third Team honoree on the Sporting News’ list. On Tuesday, the 2017-18 NABC Division I All-District Teams were announced with 10 Big Ten students recognized on the District 7 team. In women’s basketball, two students earned Academic All-America honors, it was announced Monday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Indiana senior forward Amanda Cahill was a second-team selection, while Minnesota senior guard Carlie Wagner was a third-team honoree, with both students receiving the award for the second consecutive season.


[FIVE // four big ten women’s swimming and diving programs place in top 15 at nationals]

Four Big Ten women’s swimming and diving programs placed in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships, held this past week at the McCorkle Aquatic Center in Columbus, Ohio. Indiana led the conference contingent with an eighth-place result and 185 points. Minnesota (168) was 10th, Michigan (159) was 11th, and Wisconsin (98) was 15th. Additionally, Ohio State (52) placed 19th, followed by Northwestern (40) in 21st, Purdue (33) in 23rd, Iowa (26) in 26th, Nebraska (15) in 33rd, Penn State (10) in 36th, and Rutgers (1) tied for 47th. Individually, four NCAA titles were earned by Big Ten students, including Indiana’s Lily King in the 100 yard (56.25) and 200 yard (2:02.60) breaststroke. In diving, Minnesota’s Sarah Bacon won the 1-meter board (343.50), while Northwestern’s Olivia Rosendahl claimed victory on the platform (346.15).


[SIX // four hockey teams selected to ncaas; irish when league title; conference honors announced]

Four Big Ten teams were selected Sunday to participate in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, a day after Notre Dame topped Ohio State 3-2 in overtime for the Big Ten Tournament Championship. The Fighting Irish, who also earned the Big Ten regular season title, are the No. 1 seed in the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., and will face No. 4 seed Michigan Tech on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, March 23. Ohio State is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional in Allentown, Pa., and will face No. 4 seed Princeton on ESPNU at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 24 at PPL Center. Michigan earned the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., and will face No. 3 seed Northeastern on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 24 at DCU Center. Penn State is the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional, scheduled for March 24-25 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. The Nittany Lions, who are serving as the host for the Midwest Regional, will take on No. 2 seed Denver on ESPNEWS at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 24. Earlier in the week, Notre Dame’s Cale Morris was named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year, while Ohio State’s Steve Rohlik was selected as the Coach of the Year. Penn State’s Trevor Hamilton was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year, which is awarded to a defenseman or forward. Michigan State’s Mitchell Lewandowski collected Freshman of the Year laurels, while Michigan’s Cooper Marody claimed the scoring title with 27 points in 24 conference games.


[SEVEN // five schools recognized with indoor track and field postseason honors]

Standouts from Big Ten five programs were recognized this past week with major postseason honors in the sport of indoor track and field. On the men’s side Tuesday, Nebraska’s Antoine Lloyd earned Track Athlete of the Year recognition, Penn State’s David Lucas claimed Field Athlete of Year honors, and the Nittany Lions’ Terrance Laird was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Purdue’s Brionna Thomas earned Women’s Track Athlete of the Year recognition, while Minnesota’s Kaitlyn Long claimed Field Athlete of Year honors and the Ohio State’s Anavia Battle was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.


[EIGHT // wolverine women win regular season gymnastics title]

Michigan clinched the regular-season Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championship on Saturday after finishing the season with an 8-1 Big Ten record. The Wolverines finished the conference schedule with a first-place finish at the Big Five Meet hosted by Rutgers, ending the event with a team score of 197.225. Michigan earned its second-straight conference title and fourth overall. The Wolverines concluded the Big Five Meet hosted by Rutgers with a 197.225 to win the competition, followed by Iowa with a score of 195.275. Minnesota concluded the event in third with a 195.150, followed by Penn State (194.375) and Rutgers (193.725). Elsewhere, Illinois capped its regular season with a first-place finish at the Michigan State-hosted Big Five meet. The Illini were followed by Maryland (195.700), Ohio State (195.150), Nebraska (194.900) and Michigan State (192.825).


[NINE // diamond notes]

BTN announced this past Wednesday its 2018 baseball and softball schedule, featuring over 400 games on BTN/BTN2Go and BTN Plus throughout the upcoming season. BTN’s television coverage of Big Ten baseball begins with a non-conference showdown between Pittsburgh and Penn State on Wednesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Last season Nebraska claimed its first ever regular season Big Ten Championship and Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament en route to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. The Big Ten coaches voted the Indiana Hoosiers, currently ranked No. 14 nationally, as the 2018 conference favorite. BTN’s television coverage of Big Ten softball begins Friday, March 23, when No. 22 Michigan visits Iowa at 6 p.m. ET. Reigning Big Ten Champion Minnesota makes its debut on Saturday and returns seven starters from its championship squad, including Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year Kendyl Lindaman. No. 17 Ohio State currently leads the way in the conference with a record of 16-2. Speaking of softball, three seniors from three conference schools are among 30 candidates for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually to a senior student who has made notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Indiana’s Rebecca Blitz, Michigan State’s Lea Foerster and Ohio State’s Taylor White are the Big Ten’s representatives on this year’s list of Senior CLASS Award candidates.


[TEN // rowing season rolls on]

Finally this week, Big Ten rowing opened the 2018 campaign over the weekend with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin traveling to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational. Iowa, Ohio State and Rutgers will open their seasons later this month, while Indiana will begin in April at the Big Ten Double Dual. Last season, the Buckeyes won their fifth consecutive Big Ten title, and eighth overall, at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. Ohio State recorded 180 team points on the strength of three first-place finishes and a pair of Big Ten Championships records. Following the conference championships, a trio of Big Ten teams placed in the top ten at the NCAA Championships in West Windsor, N.J. Michigan (112) took third place overall, followed by Ohio State (106) in fifth, Wisconsin (86) in ninth, Indiana (62) in 12th and Iowa (54) in 15th place.