Jan. 6, 2014
Minnesota's Jim Brewer
Brewer earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1973. He ranks among Minnesota's career leaders in several categories, ranking first in rebounding average (12.09) and third in rebounds (907). He was named the Big Ten-Chicago Tribune MVP in 1972 after helping guide the Gophers to the Big Ten Championship. Brewer was also tabbed first-team All-Big Ten in 1973, All-Big Ten honorable mention in 1972 and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 1971. During his final season at Minnesota, he was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-America first team. The three-time Minnesota MVP was also a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team. A first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1973, Brewer played nine seasons in the NBA and was a member of the 1982 Los Angeles Lakers NBA Championship team. He is the uncle of former NBA player and current Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Big Ten Snapshot:
Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all wrapped up the opening week of Big Ten play with 2-0 records. The Badgers, Wolverines, Spartans and Buckeyes all won road games, with Michigan State winning two road games during the opening week of the conference season.
Three in Top Five For Fifth Straight Week:
The Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls were released on Monday, and the Big Ten was well-represented with five 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, No. 20 Iowa and No. 23 Illinois, while Michigan received votes. In the coaches' ballot, Ohio State was ranked No. 3, followed by Michigan State and Wisconsin, who were tied for fourth. Iowa was ranked No. 23, while Illinois and Michigan also received votes in the coaches' ballot. Ohio State collected one first-place vote in the coaches' poll for the second-straight week.
Ohio State and Wisconsin remained unbeaten at 15-0 on the season by winning Big Ten games over the weekend. 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. With its win over Iowa on Sunday, Wisconsin matched the program's best start to a season. The Badgers completed undefeated 15-0 seasons in 1911-12 and 1913-14.
The Week Ahead:
Three more top-25 matchups are on the Big Ten schedule this week, including #5/T4 Michigan State hosting #3/3 Ohio State on Tuesday. On Wednesday, #4/T4 Wisconsin will challenge #23/- Illinois at the Kohl Center, while Ohio State will entertain #20/T23 Iowa on Sunday. Last season, the Big Ten saw 20 matchups of top-25 foes during the conference season.
Previewing Michigan State-Ohio State:
Michigan State and Ohio State will collide in a top five conference matchup on Tuesday night, the first time the programs have met when both were ranked in the top-five. The Buckeyes and Spartans are a combined 28-1 on the season, with Ohio State entering the game as one of just six unbeaten teams in the nation. Michigan State leads the nation in assists per game (18.9) and Ohio State paces the country in three-point field goal defense (.243). The Buckeyes are holding their opponents to just 54.9 points per game, third-best in the nation, while Michigan State ranks 11th in the country in scoring margin, outscoring its opponents by 18.1 points per game.
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 owns the nation's top RPI, followed by No. 7 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 17 Illinois and No. 20 Iowa. Minnesota and Michigan are ranked No. 48 and No. 60, respectively, in the RPIRatings.com ratings through games of Jan. 5.
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. 5, 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 (18.7 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 (.657), Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the conference in assists per game (6.9), 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 (.472) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons is the Big Ten's leader in blocks per game (3.6). Indiana's Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and Wisconsin's Ben Brust lead the conference in three-point field goals made (42), while Brust paces the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.938).
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 1,642 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,375), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,337), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,295), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,288), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,264), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,148), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,115), Iowa's Aaron White (1,074), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,067) and Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,059) and Austin Hollins (1,046). 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 Thursday's game against Northwestern with 993 career points, just seven 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 (689), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (683), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (452), Ohio State's Thad Matta (367), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (317) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (306). Izzo has 211 Big Ten wins, which ranks fifth all-time. Matta's .715 winning percentage (113-45) in Big Ten play is the best among active conference coaches, while Ryan's winning percentage of .709 (146-60) in Big Ten games is tops in conference history for any mentor that has coached for at least 10 seasons.
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.