Tag Archives: Big Ten Conference

Kent City Did It Again

There are few teams that lost as much as the Kent City Eagles did last spring as two all-time Kent City greats, Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison, graduated. The two school and state record holders left the small town of Kent City, Michigan to continue their basketball careers in the collegiate ranks (Bowers at Illinois State and Harrison at Siena Heights).

One could have been forgiven for assuming the Eagles would take a step back in 2022, even as they brought back several key pieces of that historic run. The Eagles had other plans and have battled their way into the state final with an unblemished record for the second straight season after handling Madison Heights Bishop Foley with relative ease. The Eagles got a huge boost from junior guard Lexie Bowers, who was held to just 6 points in the state quarterfinal, but was on fire inside Breslin for the second straight year.

Last year the Eagles faced Grass Lake and Big 10 Indiana commit Lexus Bargesser & Northwood commit Gabi Lutchka. This year the Eagles advance to challenge another giant, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.

The Gators are loaded with Division 1 talent and led by Texas A&M commit Mya Petticord and Bethune-Cookman commit Karianna Woods.

One could also be forgiven for thinking the Eagles should shift into “just glad to have made it” mode with such a task ahead of them Saturday evening. While Arbor Prep’s aggressive and physical style of play will be on display in the final, it should be expected to see a Kent City team ready to respond and play with a chip on their shoulder as well.

It is not often that the David in the “David and Goliath” metaphor is the defending state runner-up, but it is the place Kent City finds itself and the stigma they’ve been upending all season long on their way to a perfect 26-0 record going into the final matchup of the season with a state championship on the line.

MSU Spartans Standout Backs Out of Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl Game

Junior Spartan star running back, Kenneth Walker III has announced that he will be entering the NFL Draft and forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility. He has also announced that he will be withdrawing from participation in the team’s Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl game against Pitt to focus on combine preparation.

The move is a blow to the Spartan offense, which has largely relied on the stellar runner, but the matchup against Pitt is still a favorable one, as their opponent failed to earn a victory against MAC participant Western Michigan earlier in the year. Whether Pitt star quarterback, Kenny Pickett is undecided on participation in the game. In the end, the likely biggest loser in the Peach Bowl will be the viewers with stars holding out in the teams’ final games of the 2021-2022 season.

Going Bowling: All FBS Michigan Football Programs Earn Bowl Bids

It will be a busy holiday season for each of the Michigan FBS programs. Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan all qualified and will participate in bowl games.

No. 2 ranked Michigan (12-1) will play on Friday, Dec. 31 against No.2 Georgia (12-1) in the Orange Bowl being played at Miami Gardens. Michigan earned their place in the college football playoff for the first time in program history after back to back statement wins against Ohio State in the season finale and Iowa in the Big 10 title game. The playoff semifinal game is set to air on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.

No. 10 Michigan State (10-2) will face off with No. 12 Pittsburgh (who lost earlier in the season to visiting Western Michigan) in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. That game will be played Thursday, Dec. 30 at 7pm and will be aired on ESPN.

Western Michigan (7-5) will challenge Nevada at Ford Field in Detroit and have the benefit of the closest thing to a home game that a team can expect in a bowl game. Western Michigan had a disappointing stretch of games during the middle of the season before dominating MAC Champion, Northern Illinois, 42-21. Despite falling off high expectations and big wins early in the season, WMU will look to make one last statement against a solid Nevada program. The game kicks off early in the day on Monday, Dec. 27 at 11 am on ESPN.

Central Michigan (8-4), considered to be one of the top teams in the MAC after losing its only two conference games by a combined 12 points, will be participating in the Barstool Arizona Bowl. While Chippewa fans are excited to participate in the inaugural Barstool Bowl, many are also looking forward to the resurgent performance of Scott Stapp of Creed, reprising his infamous halftime escapades from a Thanksgiving feature in 2001z They will face the vaunted Boise State Broncos at 2 p.m. on New Years Eve and will be broadcast by Barstool Sports.

Eastern Michigan (7-5) will face Liberty on Saturday, Dec. 18, in the LendingTree Bowl. That game is set to kick off at 5:45 p.m. on ESPN.

Michigan Outside Hitter Capture Earns Weekly Big 10 Award

Sophomore outside hitter, Jess Mruzik, earned Big 10 player of the week. The recognition wraps up the final week of regular season play for the Wolverines.

• Averaged 4.38 kills and 2.63 digs per set with a .368 hitting percentage last week as Michigan closed out the regular season with a pair of wins and earned a berth in this year’s NCAA Tournament

• Posted a double-double (20 kills, 15 digs) in the Wolverines’ victory over No. 23 Illinois on Nov. 24

• Added 15 kills, six digs and three blocks in the regular-season finale vs. Northwestern on Nov. 26

• Earns her first career Player of the Week honor

• Last Michigan Player of the Week: May Pertofsky (March 15, 2021)

Hunter Dickinson Nets Freshman of the Week Honors for 2nd Straight Week

Hunter Dickinson has been named Big 10 Freshman of the Week for the second time in as many weeks.

The 7’1” center from Alexandria, VA AVERAGED 19 points on 68% shooting, 7 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots in wins over Toledo (4-3) and Penn State (3-2) to help the Maize & Blue remain undefeated and improve to 6-0. The win in their 2020-2021 conference schedule has propelled the Wolverines into the top 25 for the first time this season at the 25 spot.

Michigan has largely been untested thus far with a schedule comprised of mostly Mid-American Conference and other mid-Major programs. However, reasons to cheer have been in short supply so far this year with several sports being postponed and a flailing football team.

They will face a struggling Nebraska team (3-3) and an interesting battle with Maryland (4-1) to close out the 2020 calendar.

Nevertheless, the Wolverines have exceeded expectations with several significant graduations or transfers from last year’s squad. Whether this early season success will last or is simply a mirage should be more clear in the coming weeks.

Fifth Annual Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview Tips Off Wednesday

ROSEMONT, Ill. – With the 2020-21 women’s college basketball season rapidly approaching, the Big Ten Conference will hold its annual Women’s Basketball Preview this Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 11-13.

Now in its fifth year, the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview continues to reimagine the traditional preseason media day event, expanding it into several days of coverage dedicated entirely to all 14 Big Ten women’s basketball programs. What’s more, the complete Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview content package is available online and on demand, whether on the Preview Central web site or through the Big Ten’s social media channels.


This year’s Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preview is expected to feature the most robust collection of content in the event’s five-year history, focusing on all 14 Big Ten women’s basketball programs, from interviews and highlights to feature stories, creative digital and social media offerings and unique behind-the-scenes access as the 2020-21 women’s basketball season gets started later this month.

Big Ten Men’s Basketball 2020-21 Preseason Honors Announced

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Iowa senior center Luka Garza has been chosen as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year heading into the 2020-21 men’s basketball season, as voted on by a panel of conference media members. Garza was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2019-20 after leading the Hawkeyes to a 20-11 overall record with an 11-9 finish in Big Ten play. He is the second consecutive student-athlete to earn Player of the Year and then be selected as the Preseason Player of the Year the following season. Former Michigan State Spartan Cassius Winston received the preseason accolade in 2019-20 after claiming postseason honors following the 2018-19 season. 

The media also selected a 10-member Preseason All-Big Ten Team with eight conference programs represented.

Garza, along with Illinois junior guard Ayo Dosunmu, were unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Illinois sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, Indiana sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, Iowa junior guard/forward Joe Wieskamp, Michigan State junior forward Aaron Henry, Minnesota junior guard Marcus Carr, Purdue junior forward Trevion Williams, Rutgers senior guard Geo Baker and Wisconsin senior forward Nate Reuvers also earned preseason accolades.

Garza and Dosunmu earned first-team media All-Big Ten honors in 2019-20. Carr, Cockburn, Jackson-Davis, Reuvers and Wieskamp were third-team media selections while Baker and Williams collected honorable mention plaudits last year. Cockburn and Jackson-Davis were also All-Freshman Team honorees.

2020-21 PRESEASON BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Luka Garza, Senior Center, Iowa

2020-21 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM

Kofi Cockburn, Sophomore Center, Illinois

Ayo Dosunmu, Junior Guard, ILLINOIS (Unanimous)

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Sophomore Forward, Indiana

Luka Garza, Senior Center, Iowa (Unanimous)

Joe Wieskamp, Junior Guard/Forward, Iowa

Aaron Henry, Junior Forward, Michigan State

Marcus Carr, Junior Guard, Minnesota

Trevion Williams, Junior Forward, Purdue

Geo Baker, Senior Guard, Rutgers

Nate Reuvers, Senior Forward, Wisconsin

Big Ten Hockey Preseason Honors & Poll

Big Ten Hockey Preseason Honors

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Minnesota was tabbed the favorite in the 2020-21 Big Ten hockey preseason coaches’ poll, the conference announced on Monday. The coaches also selected Preseason All-Big Ten teams, highlighted by a pair of 2019-20 individual award winners.

Michigan was selected second in the preseason poll, with Notre Dame and Ohio State tying for third, Wisconsin taking fifth, Michigan State placing sixth and defending Big Ten Champion Penn State rounding out the poll in seventh.

The Preseason All-Big Ten teams are comprised of six players on each team: three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. All seven schools were represented on the Preseason All-Big Ten teams, led by Michigan and Minnesota with four honorees each. Thirteen standouts who earned All-Big Ten accolades last season are featured on the preseason teams, including 2020 Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Strauss Mann from Michigan and Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield, the 2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Scoring Champion.  

The list also includes eight students who were Academic All-Big Ten honorees last season in Michigan’s Mann, Michigan State’s Dennis Cesana, Minnesota’s Sammy Walker, Notre Dame’s Matt Hellickson and Spencer Stastney, Ohio State’s Quinn Preston and Gustaf Westlund, and Penn State’s Alex Limoges.

2020-21 Preseason All-Big Ten Hockey Team
(Michigan & Michigan State Nominees)

FIRST TEAM            

Cameron York, D, MICH

Dennis Cesana, D, MSU

Strauss Mann, G, MICH

SECOND TEAM

Johnny Beecher, F, MICH

Mitch Lewandowski, F, MSU

HONORABLE MENTION

Owen Power, D, MICH

2020-21 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL

Michigan comes into the season ranked at #2 in the Big 10 and Michigan State is ranked 7th.

Michigan State Walloped by Iowa

Just one week ago, the Michigan State Spartans celebrated a dominant upset over in-state rival Michigan Wolverines. The effort netted the Spartans a Freshman Player of the Week Award and ignited hopes that things were heading in the right direction behind the arm of junior quarterback, Rocky Lombardi.

Week 3 buried those hopes under a mountain of points laid on the Spartans by the Iowa Hawkeyes who made quick work of the visiting squad and pummeled their way to a 49-7 drubbing.

While Lombardi looked excellent in week 2, he struggled in all facets on Saturday afternoon in Iowa. He completed just 46% of his passes and hurled 3 interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver, Jalen Nailor, provided a small bright spot with 4 catches and 119 yards receiving. The outing solidifies the evidence that MSU’s young receiving corp is worth watching.

Iowa dominated on the ground and enforced their will with 4 rushing touchdowns.

Things are likely going to be tough next week as the Spartans challenge an undefeated Indiana team that handled Michigan this afternoon.

Michigan Falters Against Hoosiers

Joe Milton topped 300 passing yards for a second straight week on just 18 completions and junior wide receiver Ronnie Bell pulled down 6 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown, but the Michigan Wolverines lost their second in as many weeks. Indiana dominated from the opening and held off a late surge by the Wolverines at the end of the third quarter; grabbing two interceptions and closing the afternoon 38-21. The loss marked the first time the Wolverines have lost to Indiana since 1987.

While the #23 ranked Wolverines seemed poised for a strong year after a season opening victory against Minnesota, but have taken a beating in back to back weeks. While #13 Indiana sits at 3-0, the loss must be a tough pill to swallow for the Maize and Blue as they struggled against a Hoosier squad that has showed flashes in years past, but remained a perennial second tier Big 10 football program.

The victory may show that the Hoosiers are for real in 2020, but it may also display that Michigan is on track to have their most disappointing season in a string of seasons full of them.

The Wolverines will try to get things back on track with a signature win against #10 Wisconsin next week, a game likely circled on the schedule by many at the beginning of the season, but the prospects of that are looking less likely after recent struggles.

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