Four Big Ten Players Named to Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 List

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Four Big Ten men's basketball players representing three schools were named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list on Wednesday.

Michigan State's Keith Appling and Adreian Payne, Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker all collected the midseason honor. Chosen by the Wooden Award Advisory Board, the list is comprised of the 25 frontrunners for the most prestigious individual accolade in men's college basketball.

Appling has helped lead the Spartans to a 18-1 (7-0 Big Ten) start to the season, the best one-loss start in school history. The senior point guard ranks 11th in the Big Ten in scoring (15.6 ppg), third in assists (4.6 apg), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.426) and fourth in assist/turnover ratio (2.3).

Despite missing the past four games due to injury, Payne is among the top 10 in the Big Ten in scoring (16.2 ppg; 9th), rebounding (7.7 rpg; 4th) and field goal percentage (.524; 9th).

Craft became Ohio State's all-time assists leader earlier this season, and has moved into third-place all-time on the Big Ten steals list. He currently leads the conference in steals per game (2.4) while ranking second in assists (4.9 apg). The Buckeyes enter Thursday's game against visiting Illinois ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press (AP) poll and 15th in the USA Today Coaches ballot.

Dekker helped lead the No. 9/8 Badgers to a record-setting 16-0 start to the season. The Sheboygan, Wis., native is averaging 13.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.

The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The 38th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams. The event will take place the weekend of April 11-12, 2014.

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