Jan. 15, 2007
And Then There Was One: Wisconsin currently leads the Big Ten with a perfect record of 3-0 in conference play this season. For the second consecutive year, the Badgers have opened with three or more Big Ten victories as UW began last season with a 4-0 mark. Wisconsin is also 17-1 for the first time since 1915-16, when the Badgers captured the Helms Foundation National Championship with a 20-1 mark. In addition, Wisconsin has won 13 games in a row this year, which is the Badgers' longest winning streak since the 1940-41 season. It also marks the longest streak in the Big Ten since Illinois opened the 2005-06 season with 15 consecutive victories.
More on Wisconsin's Winning Ways: With a 72-69 victory over No. 5/5 Ohio State last Tuesday, Wisconsin is the only team in the nation to beat two top-five ranked teams this season. The Badgers also claimed an 89-75 triumph over then-No. 2/2 Pittsburgh on Dec. 16.
Close Calls in Big Ten Action: It is never easy to win in the Big Ten and this year is no different as five contests were won by six or less points last week. No. 3/4 Wisconsin opened the week defeating No. 5/5 Ohio State, 72-69. Illinois posted a 74-70 triumph over Iowa on Wednesday, while the Badgers captured a 56-50 victory at Northwestern. Michigan State closed out conference play for the week on Sunday, notching a 63-57 win over Illinois. In addition, Ohio State defeated No. 16/20 Tennessee, 68-66, in non-conference play last week. Overall, Wisconsin leads the Big Ten with a 4-1 record in contests decided by six or less points, while Northwestern has played in the most close-call contests, tallying a 5-4 record.
Tough at Home: Big Ten teams continues to play hard at home as only Wisconsin and Indiana were able to gain victories on the road last week. On Saturday, the Badgers edged Northwestern, 56-50, in Evanston, while Indiana's Kelvin Sampson captured his first conference road victory, downing Penn State, 84-74. Overall, five Big Ten squads are undefeated at home this season, including Wisconsin (13-0), Michigan State (13-0), Ohio State (11-0), Purdue (11-0) and Indiana (9-0).
The Big Ten's Big "D": Currently, five conference teams are holding their opponents to 60 points or less per game this year. Michigan State leads the Big Ten, holding its opponents to 55.8 points per game, while Northwestern follows in second (56.5 ppg). Wisconsin (57.4 ppg) and Michigan (57.5 ppg) follow in third and fourth place, respectively, while Indiana rounds out the top five with 59.9 points per game. All five teams were ranked among the top 25 in the country in scoring defense in the latest NCAA statistics.
Big Ten's Grand Company: With 983 career points, Wisconsin senior Kammron Taylor is only 17 points away from becoming the next Big Ten 1,000 point scorer. The conference currently boasts eight active members of the 1,000-point club, including three from the same school. Michigan's Lester Abram (1,122), Dion Harris (1,364) and Courtney Sims (1,155) have all reached the 1,000-point milestone and are also joined by Wisconsin's Alando Tucker (1,858), Iowa's Adam Haluska (1,570), Ohio State's Ron Lewis (1,452), Purdue's David Teague (1,116) and Penn State's Geary Claxton (1,041). After scoring 588 points during the 2005-06 season, Tucker is now aiming to become the first 2,000-point producer for the Big Ten since Indiana's A.J. Guyton tallied 2,100 points from 1997-00.
Moving On Up: With a 17-point performance against Northwestern on Saturday, Wisconsin's Alando Tucker has moved into second place on UW's all-time scoring list. He has now scored 1,858 points in 116 career games, surpassing former Badger Danny Jones (1,854) for second place. Michael Finley is Wisconsin's all-time leading scorer with 2,147 points.
Non-Conference Success: Indiana will take on Connecticut in a non-conference matchup on Saturday. With 116 wins this season, the Big Ten has posted the most non-conference victories prior to postseason play in conference history, eclipsing last year's mark of 112 wins. Last season, the conference tallied a 112-28 mark before heading into NCAA Tournament action. The Big Ten then closed out the season with the best out-of-conference winning percentage in over six years at .767 (115-35).
Big Ten Coaching Milestones: Last week, Iowa head coach Steve Alford captured his 300th career victory and is now closing in on another coaching milestone. In his eighth season at Iowa, Alford only needs five victories to claim his 150th career win in Iowa City. Penn State's Ed DeChellis is also in reach of hitting the 150th career victory plateau. Currently, DeChellis boasts a career mark of 146-156 in his 11th season.
ESPN's Student Spirit Week: Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota's student sections will be featured on national television this week as part of ESPN Student Spirit Week from Jan. 15 -20. In a Tuesday matchup, the Hoosiers will face Iowa at 6 p.m. (CST) on ESPN, while the Golden Gophers will battle Illinois on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (CST) on ESPN2. Illinois will host Wisconsin on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. (CST) on ESPN. Throughout these games, the traditions, activities and cheers of each student section will be highlighted as part of a week-long ESPN feature on college basketball student sections. Other student sections profiled throughout the week include those at Kansas, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State and Duke.