Jan. 10, 2014
Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all improved to 3-0 in Big Ten play this week. The Wolverines edged Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, Michigan State outlasted Ohio State in overtime at the Breslin Center on Tuesday and Wisconsin pulled away from Illinois at the Kohl Center on Wednesday. The Wolverines posted their second road win during the conference season, giving Big Ten teams a total of seven road victories in conference play heading into this weekend's action.
The Weekend Ahead:
Five games occupy this weekend's Big Ten schedule, including one matchup of ranked teams. Penn State will host Indiana and #5/T4 Michigan State will entertain Minnesota in a pair of Saturday afternoon contests. Sunday's schedule includes Purdue hosting Nebraska, Northwestern challenging #23/- Illinois at Welsh-Ryan Arena and #3/3 Ohio State entertaining #20/T23 Iowa in the third matchup between ranked opponents during Big Ten play. Last season, the Big Ten saw 20 matchups of top-25 foes during 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.
Wisconsin remained one of just five unbeaten teams in the nation after defeating Illinois at the Kohl Center on Wednesday. The Badgers upped their record to 16-0, securing the program's best start to a season after completing undefeated 15-0 campaigns in 1911-12 and 1913-14. Ohio State was defeated by Michigan State in overtime on Tuesday at the Breslin Center, falling from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Summing up Wisconsin's Streak:
Wisconsin's 95-70 win over Illinois marked its largest win over a ranked team in program history. The Badgers' 16 straight wins are just one victory shy (17) of the school record that was set during the 2006-07 season. Wisconsin has now won games scoring in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 100's this season, and has scored at least 70 points in seven consecutive games, its longest stretch since the 2005-06 campaign.
NCAA RPI Released:
The first version of the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was released on Friday. Five Big Ten teams are ranked among the top 25 in the nation, including seven in the top 50, which leads all conferences. Wisconsin owns the nation's top RPI, followed by No. 9 Ohio State, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 23 Illinois and No. 25 Iowa. Minnesota and Michigan are ranked No. 41 and No. 45, respectively, in the RPI through games of Jan. 9.
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. 9, 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 (18.8 ppg), Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.5 rpg), Ohio State's Amir Williams is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.659), 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 (2.4 spg), Michigan State's Keith Appling is pacing the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage (.482) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons is the Big Ten's leader in blocks per game (3.6). Wisconsin's Ben Brust leads the conference in three-point field goals made (46) and free throw percentage (.941).
Leaders of the Pack:
Iowa's Melsahn Basabe eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau on Thursday, giving the Big Ten 13 active members of the 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,654 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,390), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,357), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,308), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,295), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,283), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,148), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,124), Iowa's Aaron White (1,092), Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,073), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,067), Minnesota's Austin Hollins (1,050) and Basabe (1,009). Craft, Frazier, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Johnson, Rice, White and Basabe all passed the 1,000-point plateau this season.
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 (690), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (684), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (453), Ohio State's Thad Matta (367), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (318) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (306). Izzo has 212 Big Ten wins, which ranks fifth all-time. Matta's .711 winning percentage (113-46) in Big Ten play is the best among active conference coaches, while Ryan's winning percentage of .710 (147-60) 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.