A few surprises over the past week, and the potential for even more this week!
- In a reversal of the football field results, unranked Ohio State sprung the upset on the #10 Penn State Nittany Lions in an epic five-set match. This is significant in a couple of ways: first, in spite of often being a ranked team, OSU has not beaten PSU since 2006, making this result the end of a decade-long drought and officially a Big Deal; and second, Penn State drops its eighth game of the season (fifth in conference) which is pretty uncharacteristic.
- Five teams are still mathematically able to win the Big Ten conference: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State, and Penn State. Nebraska can clinch at least a share of the conference title this weekend, as they lead the standings with a 15-1 conference record.
- Ohio State's big win boosts them back into the Top 25, and the conference has seven teams in the rankings this week, up from six last week. Nebraska remains a unanimous #1, and Minnesota and Wisconsin remain #2 and #3, respectively. Michigan State moves up two to #13, and Penn State tumbles five spots to #15, Michigan is at #18 and OSU reappears at #24.
- Players of the Week: Player of the Week honors go to Sarah Wilhite of Minnesota, who averaged four kills per set and earns the award for the fifth time in her career. Co-Defensive Players of the Week are Alyssa Garvelink (who won the honor last week as well) of MSU with 18 blocks over the past week; and Kelli Bates of Wisconsin, who had 44 digs on the week. In fun coincidences, Garvelink and Bates both attended Holland Christian in Holland, MI. Setter of the Week is Rachel Minarick of MSU, who averaged 12.3 assists per set during the week to snag the award for the fourth time in her career.
Wednesday, November 9
Michigan 3 - Indiana 0
MSU 3 - Purdue 0
Nebraska 3 - Iowa 0
Friday, November 11
PSU 3 - Maryland 1
OSU 3 - Rutgers 0
Wisconsin 3 - Illinois 0
Saturday, November 12
Nebraska 3 - Indiana 0
MSU 3 - Michigan 1: This was a critical match for both Mitten State denizens, and a significant win for MSU, for which they were rewarded with a bump in the polls. The Spartans also remain in contention for the Big Ten title, with a 12-4 conference record.
OSU 3 - PSU 2: As mentioned above, this was a Big Deal. OSU won the first set, before PSU roared back for a 25-15 victory in the second and a 25-19 win in the third. But OSU prevailed in the fourth to force a decisive fifth set. Although OSU fell behind by a near-fatal 11-8, they rallied to win 18-16 with the upset.
Purdue 3 - Iowa 1
Minnesota 3 - Illinois 0
Wisconsin 3 - Northwestern 2: The Badgers found themselves in an unexpectedly difficult match against Northwestern, falling down by two sets before winning the final three. The match proved that in the Big Ten, no team can be overlooked.
Sunday, November 13
Maryland 3 - Rutgers 0
Minnesota 3 - Northwestern 0
There's a good one tonight, and some more good ones this weekend! Grab your popcorn, and catch them if you can!
Wednesday, November 16
Purdue at Indiana (7 pm ET)
Rutgers at Iowa (8 pm ET)
#15 Penn State at #1 Nebraska (9 pm ET) Televised on BTN, and you should definitely watch! When Nebraska traveled to PSU a couple of weeks ago, the match went five sets. While I can't guarantee the same this week, I can pretty safely guarantee some great volleyball.
Friday, November 18
Maryland at Illinois (8 pm ET)
#13 MSU at #2 Minnesota (8 pm ET) This is a huge game with conference implications, but BTN has decided you'd rather watch some crappy non-con basketball instead.
#24 OSU at Northwestern (8 pm ET)
#18 Michigan at #3 Wisconsin (8:30 pm ET) Another big game--Wisconsin should win, but if they bring the effort that found them down two sets at Northwestern, there may be trouble for the Badgers.
Saturday, November 19
Purdue at #15 Penn State (7 pm ET)
#24 OSU at Illinois (8 pm ET)
Maryland at Northwestern (8 pm ET)
#13 MSU at #3 Wisconsin (8 pm ET) MSU has the dreaded @Minny/@Wisconsin this weekend, and unfortunately for them, it's on back-to-back days. If they can snag one of the two, MSU fans should be very happy. Snag two, and the conference race gets a whole lot more interesting... This is also not on BTN, because they're showing the Penn State vs. Rutgers football game. Chances are, this match would be far, far more entertaining.
#1 Nebraska at Iowa (9 pm ET)
Sunday, November 20
Indiana at Rutgers (1 pm ET)
#18 Michigan at #2 Minnesota (2 pm ET) Will an extra day of rest help Michigan in Minneapolis? Probably not, but it can't hurt.
Thanks for reading! There are only ~4 matches remaining in the regular season, so get in on the B1G action while you can!