Jan. 13, 2014
Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all remain unbeaten in Big Ten play heading into this week's slate of games. The Wolverines edged Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena last Thursday, Michigan State posted overtime wins over both Ohio State and Minnesota, and Wisconsin defeated Illinois at the Kohl Center last Wednesday. Iowa went 2-0 last week, including a win at Ohio State on Sunday to improve to 3-1 in conference play.
Four Big Ten Teams Ranked in Top 15:
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 15. In the AP poll, Wisconsin was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Michigan State, No. 11 Ohio State and No. 14 Iowa, while Michigan and Illinois received votes. In the coaches' ballot, Wisconsin was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Michigan State, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 16 Iowa. Michigan also received votes in the coaches' ballot. Michigan State collected one first-place vote in the coaches' poll.
Wisconsin remains one of just four unbeaten teams in the nation after defeating Illinois at the Kohl Center last 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. Wisconsin will travel to Indiana on Tuesday, and host Michigan on Saturday.
Summing up Wisconsin's Streak:
Wisconsin's 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.
Moving up the Coaching Ranks:
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo enters Wednesday's game at Northwestern with 213 Big Ten wins, which ranks fifth all-time. With one more conference victory, Izzo would tie Illinois' Lou Henson (1976-96) for fourth all-time. Michigan State is 15-1 on the season, which ties the best 16-game start under Izzo. Michigan State began the 2000-01 season with a 16-1 record.
Craft Continues to Pile Up Assists and Steals:
Ohio State's Aaron Craft handed out six assists against Iowa, moving his career total to 616 helpers. Craft passed Iowa's Jeff Horner (2002-06) for eighth on the Big Ten career assist list. He also boasts 290 career steals, which ranks third in the Big Ten. With 11 more thefts, Craft would pass Michigan's Gary Grant (1984-88) for second all-time.
The latest version of the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was released on Monday. Four Big Ten teams were ranked among the top 25 in the nation, and seven appeared among the top 50, which led all conferences. Wisconsin owned the nation's top RPI, followed by No. 9 Michigan State, No. 16 Ohio State and No. 18 Iowa. Illinois was ranked No. 31, while Minnesota and Michigan were rated No. 47 and No. 48, respectively.
Leading the Way:
Through games of Jan. 12, the Big Ten has seen a variety of players pacing the conference in major statistical categories. Illinois' Rayvonte Rice leads the Big Ten in scoring (18.1 ppg), Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.3 rpg), Iowa's Aaron White is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.659), Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the conference in assists per game (6.5), 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 (.483) 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:
The Big Ten now has 13 active members of the 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,667 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,412), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,381), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,318), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,303), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,291), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,152), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,130), Iowa's Aaron White (1,111), Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,097), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,091), Minnesota's Austin Hollins (1,057) and Iowa's Melsahn Basabe (1,020). 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 (454), Ohio State's Thad Matta (367), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (319) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (306). Izzo has 213 Big Ten wins, which ranks fifth all-time. Ryan's winning percentage of .710 (147-60) in Big Ten games is tops in conference history.
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).
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.
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.
Postseason Back in Indy:
The 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the ninth time in event history. This season's tournament will tip off on Thursday, March 13, and the champion will be crowned on Sunday, March 16.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will also be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2016, and will be held at the United Center in Chicago in 2015.
All-session tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament are on sale now. For more information, visit bigten.org.