Now that the 2010 -2011 athletic school year is officially in the books, we will look back on the year that was in the Big Ten. Once again it was a successful athletic year for the schools of the Big Ten Conference. A total of five National Championships were won by Big Ten teams. The Big Ten tied for the second most NCAA Championships, trailing only the Pac-10.
The Penn State volleyball team captured their fourth straight championship this past fall, while the Nittany Lion wrestling team won their first national championship since 1953. Wisconsin claimed the NCAA Championship in women’s hockey with a 4-1 victory over Boston University. In lacrosse Northwestern returned to the top with a victory over Maryland. It was the sixth NCAA Championship in seven years for the Wildcats. The last title went to the Ohio State men’s volleyball team. It was the first ever men’s volleyball championship for Ohio State.
In football there was a three way tie for the Big Ten Championship between Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. It marked the sixth straight year the Buckeyes had won at least a share of the Big Ten title. A total of eight teams played in bowl games, including Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
In men’s basketball seven teams played in the NCAA tournament. Ohio State and Wisconsin advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 before being knocked out of the tournament. On the women’s side five teams made it into the NCAA tournament, with Ohio State making it the furthest. They were eliminated in the Sweet 16.
In perhaps the Big Ten’s most dominant sport, wrestling, four conference teams finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships. This included Penn State getting first and Iowa finishing in third. Other teams finishing in the top 10 included Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Within the Big Ten Conference a total of 10 schools won either a regular season or post season conference championship. Ohio State led the way with nine total conference championships, highlighted by titles in the men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments. Michigan came in second with a total of 5 conference championships. These numbers do not include football or sports not offered by the Big Ten.
This past school year once again reaffirmed the Big Ten’s place as a top athletic conference in collegiate sports. And with 10 teams winning a conference championship and four different teams winning a NCAA Championship, the level of athletic excellence was shown throughout the whole Big Ten Conference this past school year.
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