Jan. 3, 2014
Michigan State's Greg Kelser
Kelser, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1979, was the leading scorer and rebounder on Michigan State's 1979 NCAA Championship team. He was the first Spartan to score more than 2,000 points and collect at least 1,000 rebounds in his career. Kelser's 2,014 points rank fourth at Michigan State and his 1,092 rebounds are second all-time. In 1979, he earned All-America honors, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and was named to the Wooden Award All-America Team. He also collected Academic All-America honors in 1979. Kelser was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons and played six seasons in the NBA. He is the lead analyst for the Pistons on Fox Sports Detroit and also serves as a college basketball analyst on BTN. Kelser earned the Michigan State University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Off and Running:
All 12 Big Ten teams played their conference openers this week, with Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin getting off to 1-0 starts. There have been a combined four road wins in the first two days of Big Ten play.
The Weekend Ahead:
Three Big Ten games will be played on both Saturday and Sunday, with all 12 conference teams in action. On Saturday, Illinois will host Penn State, Indiana will entertain Michigan State and Ohio State will challenge Nebraska. BTN will carry a tripleheader on Sunday, with Michigan welcoming Northwestern, Minnesota hosting Purdue and Wisconsin entertaining Iowa in the first matchup between nationally-ranked foes during Big Ten play. Last season, the Big Ten saw 20 matchups of top-25 foes during the conference season.
Wrapping up Non-Conference Play:
The Big Ten wrapped up the primary portion of its non-conference schedule with a 122-31 record, a winning percentage of .797. Eight of the 12 conference teams won at least 10 non-conference games, and four Big Ten squads boasted winning streaks of at least four games heading into Big Ten play.
Three in Top Five For Fourth Straight Week:
The Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls were released on Monday, and the Big Ten was well-represented with four teams among the top 25, and three positioned in the top five of both polls. In the AP poll, Ohio State was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 5 Michigan State and No. 22 Iowa, while Illinois and Michigan received votes. In the coaches' ballot, Ohio State was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 23 Iowa. Illinois and Michigan also received votes in the coaches' ballot. Ohio State collected one first-place vote in the coaches' poll.
Ohio State and Wisconsin both remained unbeaten at 14-0 on the season by winning their Big Ten openers. Ohio State now boasts the fifth-longest single-season winning streak in school history and is off to its best start since jumping out of the gate with a 24-0 record in 2010-11. Wisconsin is in the middle of the program's best start to a season during the modern era (since 1946). The Badgers did complete undefeated 15-0 seasons in 1911-12 and 1913-14.
According to RPIRatings.com, five Big Ten teams are ranked among the top 25 in the nation, including seven in the top 60, which leads all conferences. Wisconsin leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 10 Ohio State, No. 13 Michigan State, No. 14 Illinois and No. 22 Iowa. Minnesota and Michigan are ranked No. 57 and No. 58, respectively, in the RPIRatings.com rankings through games of Jan. 2.
Spreading the Wealth:
Parity has reigned over Big Ten basketball since the 2000-01 season, as seven schools have earned at least a share of the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State leads all schools with five titles, followed by Illinois (4), Michigan State (4), Wisconsin (3), Indiana (2), Michigan (1) and Purdue (1).
Leading the Way:
Through games of Jan. 2, the Big Ten has seen a variety of players pacing the conference in many of the major statistical categories. Illinois' Rayvonte Rice leads the Big Ten in scoring (19.0 ppg), Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.5 rpg), Iowa's Aaron White is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.660), Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the conference in assists per game (7.3), Ohio State's Aaron Craft leads the Big Ten in steals per outing (2.5 spg), Michigan State's Keith Appling is pacing the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage (.469) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons is the Big Ten's leader in blocks per game (3.8). Indiana's Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell leads the conference in three-point field goals made (40), while Michigan State's Gary Harris paces the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.905).
Craft Continue to Climb Big Ten Career Charts:
Ohio State's Aaron Craft handed out 10 assists against Purdue in Tuesday's Big Ten opener, giving him 600 assists for his career. The Buckeyes' all-time assists leader, Craft moved into ninth place on the Big Ten's all-time assists list, passing both Illinois' Deron Williams (594) and Michigan State's Eric Snow (599). Craft needs 13 more helpers to pass Jeff Horner of Iowa (612) for eighth all-time.
Leaders of the Pack:
The Big Ten now has 12 active members of the 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,625 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,348), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,323), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,295), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,278), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,249), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,130), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,106), Iowa's Aaron White (1,062), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,060) and Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,042) and Austin Hollins (1,028). Craft, Frazier, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Johnson, Rice and White all passed the 1,000-point plateau this season. Notably, Iowa's Melsahn Basabe enters Sunday's game against Wisconsin with 991 career points, just nine tallies short of 1,000.
Roaming the Sidelines:
Six active Big Ten coaches have amassed 300 wins, led by three who have more than 400 career victories. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is the conference's active wins leader (688), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (682), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (451), Ohio State's Thad Matta (366), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (317) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (306). Izzo collected his 210th Big Ten win at Penn State on Tuesday, tying Indiana's Branch McCracken (1939-43; 1947-65) for fifth all-time. Ryan's winning percentage of .707 (145-60) in Big Ten games is tops in conference history for any mentor that has coached for at least 10 seasons.
Stay Glued to the Tube:
The 2013-14 season marks the seventh consecutive year that every Big Ten men's basketball conference regular season and tournament game will be broadcast nationally. The Big Ten's most recent media agreements will result in nearly 175 regular season and postseason games appearing on BTN, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.