CBS WRAPS SPRING
CBS Sports hit all the major points of the Huskies' spring football practices in this story. It's a very well-rounded take on what's been a fairly eventful five months since the 2008 regular season concluded.
And now that I think of it, a lot has happened since Nov. 25, when the Huskies dropped their regular season finale to Navy. To recap, we had the nail-biting week of waiting to see whether or not we'd get a bowl bid. The waiting ended on a Sunday night in early December, when the Huskies got word we had been invited to the Independence Bowl. THE INDEPENDENCE BOWL - year-in and year-out, one of the more prestigious bowls in the country. So, it was back to practice for the Huskies, only Brigham Field was covered in snow, and NIU had to make way to the DeKalb Rec Center to get any work in. The bowl trip came and went (and was very exciting), and the Huskies earned a brief respite from practice. In the meantime, the coaching staff zig-zagged around the country and brought in a class of 24... TWENTY-FOUR recruits on national signing day. All that before returning for spring ball, which of course, was capped Saturday with not only the Spring Preview, but also Larry English's selection as the 16th pick in the NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. PHEW! A lot has happened in the land of Huskie Football since the "end" of the season, and now it's just a few months until the start of next year. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get it all going again, Sept. 5 at Wisconsin!
As announced last month, Northern Illinois student-athletes achieved the highest grade point average in the Mid-American Conference for the 2007-08 season. A group of academically successful student-athletes joined several coaches and administrators for the 2009 Academic Excellence Banquet, Monday night, to celebrate the MAC Championship, and a host of other academic awards. It was a little bit like a championships parade down main street.
Included among the other awards was men's soccer player Kyle Knotek's ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Second Team honor. You can read more about Knotek's award here. Kyle is a super-deserving kid with a great hard, and an absolutely unbeatable work ethic in and out of the classroom. He's truly one of those guys that defines student-athlete.
WOMEN'S SOCCER TIES NATIONAL RUNNER UP AT SOLDIER FIELD
The Huskie women's soccer team took on Notre Dame and Northwestern at Soldier Field over the weekend in an event designed to raise money for cancer research. NIU came away with 0-0 ties in both matches, and you can catch all the details from the event here.
BASEBALL AT HOME TODAY!!!
The Northern Illinois baseball team will look to shake off its two heartbreaking losses at UW-Milwaukee Tuesday night, by hosting Horizon League foe Valparaiso at Ralph McKinzie Field beginning at 3:05 p.m. TODAY! The Huskies enter the contest with an 8-3 record at home, and have rolled off three-consecutive non-conference wins at Ralph McKinzie, dating back to April 1. Valparaiso comes to DeKalb having won 10 of its last 14 games, but the Huskies lead the all-time series 12-8-1. You can follow the contest LIVE on Gametracker.
SOFTBALL TOURNEY UPDATE
Heading into this weekend's games at Kent State Friday and Saturday & Sunday's games at Buffalo, the NIU softball team is in third place in the Mid-American Conference West. Only the top two teams from each division plus the next four teams with the best conference winning percentage regardless of division make the 2009 MAC Tournament, which is taking place May 7-10 in Akron, Ohio.
At 9-9 in the conference, the Huskies would be one of the eight teams making the tournament, with a three-way battle for the eighth and final spot between Toledo, Bowling Green and Buffalo which are all 6-12 in the league. Toledo plays at Eastern Michigan and at Central Michigan to close out the season. Bowling Green travels to Central Michigan Friday and Eastern Michigan Saturday and Sunday, while Buffalo stays home this weekend and plays host to Western Michigan Friday and NIU Saturday and Sunday. Eastern Michigan has an outside chance, but the Eagles need to win out and get some help. Below is the tie breaker scenario the conference uses. Ties in the conference standings shall be broken as follows:
1. Head-to-head competition
Winning percentage is used instead of record because of situations where teams do not play each other the same number of times. Therefore, a team that is 1-0 (1.000) would win the tiebreaker over a team that is 1-1 (.500).
NIU swept Bowling Green, but lost both its games with Toledo. Buffalo split both its series with Bowling Green and Toledo, while Bowling Green swept Toledo. There's still a lot of softball to be played and everything will shake itself out by Sunday.