Big Ten Men's Basketball Weekly Release - Jan. 16, 2012
Jan. 16, 2012
Tip-Off: Illinois and Michigan State are tied for the lead in the Big Ten standings with 4-1 records after the Illini knocked off Ohio State, and the Spartans went 1-1 last week. Ohio State and Michigan are tied for third at 4-2 after each squad split its two games last week. Purdue is fifth at 3-2, while Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin are all .500 in conference play at 3-3. Eleven games are on this week's schedule, including one non-conference matchup, 10 of which feature at least one team ranked or receiving at least one vote in the national polls.
Ripping up the RPI: The Big Ten continues to lead the nation in RPI, according to RPIratings.com, entering this week ranked first among all conferences with a rating of .5956. The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine top-50 RPI teams, led by No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 10 Illinois. The Spartans, Buckeyes and Illini are followed by No. 13 Indiana, No. 25 Northwestern, No. 26 Michigan, No. 39 Minnesota, No. 45 Wisconsin and No. 49 Purdue. Big Ten is the only conference in the country with all its teams among the RPI's top 145.
Sagarin Says: The Big Ten also continues to lead the nation in the Sagarin ratings this week with an average of 84.23. The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine teams ranked in the top 50 of the Sagarin ratings, led by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 8 Michigan State and No. 9 Indiana. The Buckeyes, Spartans and Hoosiers are followed by No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 30 Illinois, No. 32 Purdue, No. 33 Michigan, No. 38 Northwestern and No. 49 Minnesota. The Big Ten is the only conference with all its teams among the poll's top 149. The complete list of Big Ten teams in the RPI and Sagarin ratings can be found on Page 4 of this release.
Where We Rank: The Big Ten is tied for the national lead with five teams ranked in the latest Associated Press (AP) and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Ohio State leads the conference, ranked No. 6 in both polls, followed by No. 9/9 Michigan State, No. 11/13 Indiana, No. 20/19 Michigan and No. 22/25 Illinois. Wisconsin is receiving votes outside the top 25 in both polls, while Northwestern received a vote in the AP poll.
Big Ten. Big Wins.: With its 80-63 win over then-No. 7/8 Indiana on Sunday, Ohio State became the first Division I team to record three wins over top-10 programs this season. The Buckeyes' first top-10 win came in their second game of the season, an 81-74 victory over then-No. 7/8 Florida. Ohio State also knocked off then-No. 3/4 Duke, 85-63, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Indiana and Michigan State have also knocked off three top-25 opponents this season, while Illinois, Iowa and Michigan each have a pair of wins over ranked foes this year. Overall, eight of the Big Ten's 12 teams have recorded at least one top-25 win on the season.
First to 15: The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with four teams with 15 or more wins and is tied for the lead among all conferences with nine teams with 12 or more victories. Ohio State leads the Big Ten with 16 wins, while Illinois, Indiana and Michigan State each have 15 victories. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have 14 wins each, Purdue has 13 victories, and Northwestern has 12. In addition, Iowa has 11 wins, while Nebraska and Penn State are just one win shy of the 10-wins milestone, looking to give the Big Ten a third straight year in which every team reaches double digit victories. The Big Ten is one of just two conferences in the nation in which every team has nine or more wins on the season.
Have a Game: Brandon Paul scored 43 points to lead Illinois to a win over No. 5/5 Ohio State on Tuesday. Paul's performance marked the highest scoring output from a Big Ten player since Purdue's Glenn Robinson scored 44 against Kansas in the 1994 NCAA Tournament. Paul's total also marked the highest in a Big Ten game since Robinson dropped 49 against Illinois in 1994. Paul's effort is the Big Ten's second 40-point performance in the last two seasons, as Ohio State's Jared Sullinger scored 40 against IUPUI on Dec. 9, 2011. Prior to last year, the most recent 40-point game came from Michigan State's Shawn Respert in 1995. Paul's total is the highest in the nation against a ranked team this year and is tied for second in the country overall this season.
Home and Away: Big Ten teams are finding ways to win on the road during conference play; however, the advantage is still with the home teams. During non-conference play, Big Ten teams combined to go 96-8 at home, good for a .923 winning percentage. During the conference schedule, home teams are 21-13, which accounts for a .618 winning average. Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are the four remaining Big Ten teams with undefeated home records this season.
Tenacious D: Big Ten teams are not only continuing to play lock-down defense, but are also outscoring their opponents by wide margins. Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 48.5 points per game, and field-goal percentage defense, keeping foes to just 35.1 percent from the floor. Ohio State leads the country in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 21.3 points per game. Wisconsin ranks 11th in that category with an average scoring margin of 16.4, while No. 14 Michigan State (15.9), No. 15 Indiana (15.4) and No. 43 Purdue (10.8) are all in the NCAA's top 50 with scoring margins over 10. The Buckeyes are 12th in the nation in scoring defense (56.6), followed by No. 39 Michigan (60.7), No. 41 Michigan State (60.8), No. 45 Illinois (61.0) and No. 48 Nebraska (61.3).
A Helping Hand: Big Ten teams and players continue to rank among the nation's best in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. No. 11 Ohio State (16.9), No. 12 Michigan State (16.9), No. 17 Northwestern (16.5), No. 29 Minnesota (15.8) and No. 46 Iowa (14.9) all rank among the NCAA's top 50 in assists per game, while Penn State's Tim Frazier is eighth in the country with 6.6 helpers per contest. The Wildcats are second as a team with a 1.62 assist-to-turnover ratio, followed by No. 9 Purdue (1.45), No. 11 Ohio State (1.43), No. 18 Wisconsin (1.31), No. 30 Michigan State (1.22), No. 35 Iowa (1.21) and No. 44 Michigan (1.17). Wildcat freshman Dave Sobolewski leads the nation with a 4.19 assist-to-turnover ratio, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (16th, 2.78) and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor, (24th, 2.56).
Fantastic Freshmen: Several Big Ten freshmen are making immediate impacts in their first year on campus. Indiana's Cody Zeller and Michigan's Trey Burke rank 10th and 12th, respectively, in the Big Ten with scoring averages of 14.8 and 14.3 points per game this season. Zeller is fifth in the conference in rebounding, averaging 6.4 boards per game, is first in the conference and fifth in the nation with a field-goal percentage of .653, and is sixth in the Big Ten with 1.4 blocks per game. Burke is third in the Big Ten with 4.9 assists per game and is sixth in the conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.9. Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski leads the Big Ten and the nation with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.2, and is sixth in the conference with 3.9 helpers per game.
Stars on the Small Screen: This season, every Big Ten home game will be produced and distributed to a live national audience. The Big Ten Network, which is available in more than 80 million homes in the U.S. and Canada, will broadcast over 100 events on its linear channel or on www.BTN.com. More than 75 games will be broadcast by an ESPN platform - ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3, and CBS Sports will carry 15 games.
March is (Almost) On: The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis in 2012 for the fifth year of a five-year agreement that puts both the men's and women's events in the Circle City. Every game of the tournament will be broadcast to a national audience with contests appearing on BTN, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports. Every tournament game since the event's inception in 1998 has reached a live national television audience.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2014 and 2016 and will be played at the United Center in Chicago in 2013 and 2015.
All-session tickets for the 2012 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are on sale now. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.