Jan. 14, 2013
Two weeks into the conference season, Indiana and Wisconsin remain the only two squads undefeated in Big Ten play, both at 3-0, and face off against each other on Tuesday. Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State are all tied for third in the standings at 3-1, while Purdue enters Week 3 at .500 with a 2-2 conference record. Including Tuesday's Indiana vs. Wisconsin game, this week's schedule includes seven games which feature at least one team ranked or receiving votes in the latest polls.
Where We Rank:
The Big Ten continues to dominate the national rankings with six teams ranked in this week's Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls. The Big Ten has four top-12 teams in each set of rankings, led by No. 2/2 Indiana and No. 5/5 Michigan, who have both been among the nation's top five every week this season except for one. Minnesota is ranked No. 9 by the writers and No. 12 by the coaches, while Ohio State is 11th in both polls. Michigan State is 17th in the coaches' poll and 18th in the AP poll, while Illinois is ranked 22nd by the coaches and 23rd by the writers. Wisconsin is receiving votes outside the top 25 in the AP and coaches polls.
Rating the Conferences:
The Big Ten continues to lead the nation in the RPI ratings according to RPIratings.com. The Big Ten enters the week leading the nation with six teams among the RPI's top 30 in No. 4 Minnesota, No. 7 Michigan, No. 10 Indiana, No. 18 Illinois, No. 20 Michigan State and No. 27 Ohio State. Overall, nine Big Ten teams rank among the RPI's top 75 with Nebraska at No. 61, followed by No. 63 Wisconsin and No. 75 Iowa. The Big Ten is also the top-ranked conference in the Sagarin ratings with three top-10 teams and eight in the top 50. Indiana leads the Big Ten at No. 3, followed by No. 6 Minnesota, No. 7 Michigan, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 26 Wisconsin, No. 46 Iowa and No. 47 Illinois.
The Big Ten teams continue to rank among the country's best in offense, led by a pair of squads among the nation's top 15 in scoring average. Indiana enters the weekend leading the country in points per game with 87.1, while Michigan is 14th with 79.1 points per contest. Minnesota (76.3), Ohio State (74.5) and Iowa (74.2) also average more than 74 points per game and rank among the country's top 55.
An elite group of Big Ten players rank among the conference's leaders in several different statistical categories. Indiana's Cody Zeller ranks among the Big Ten's top five in points (4th, 16.6) and rebounds T-2nd, 7.8) per game, while Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas ranks among the conference's top 10 in each category, leading the Big Ten with 20.3 points per game and ranking ninth with 6.6 boards per contest. Michigan's Trey Burke is first in assists with 7.1 per game and third in points, averaging 18.0 per outing. Michigan State's Keith Appling (13.8 points, 4.6 assists), Minnesota's Andre Hollins (14.4 points, 3.6 assists) and Penn State's D.J. Newbill (14.9 points, 3.8 assists) also rank among the conference's top 10 in both categories.
With Ohio State's win over Purdue last Tuesday, Buckeyes' head coach Thad Matta collected his 100th win during Big Ten play, becoming just the 19th coach in conference history to reach the milestone. Needing only 141 games to reach the mark, Matta is tied for the fourth-fastest to 100 wins in Big Ten history behind only Indiana's Bobby Knight (131 games), Indiana's Branch McCracken (140) and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (140) and tied with Illinois' Harry Combes (141). Matta joins Ryan and Michigan State's Tom Izzo as active coaches to have earned 100 wins during Big Ten play, and Izzo is just one win shy of becoming the sixth coach in history to accumulate 200 or more Big Ten victories.
Michigan opened the season with a 16-0 record, which tied for the best start in program history. Before falling to Ohio State on Sunday, Michigan was the last remaining undefeated team in the country. Michigan enters the week as one of four teams in the nation with 16 wins on the year.
All They Do Is Win:
Entering this week, all Big Ten teams are 8-8 or better, making the conference one of just four in the nation in which every team has a winning percentage of .500 or higher.
Iowa hosts Wisconsin on Saturday, Jan. 19, the date which marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of former Hawkeye Chris Street. Street was killed in an auto accident in Iowa City on Jan. 19, 1993, just 15 games into his junior season.
Making the Cut:
Four Big Ten players were named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 last week, while four conference standouts were tabbed finalists for the 2013 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. Michigan's Trey Burke made both lists, while Illinois' Brandon Paul, Indiana's Cody Zeller and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas earned spots on the 25-person Wooden list. Michigan State's Keith Appling, Minnesota's Andre Hollins and Ohio State's Aaron Craft earned places on the 20-member Cousy Award finalist list.
They've Got CLASS:
Five Big Ten players were named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, a total that leads all conferences. Illinois' Brandon Paul, Indiana's Jordan Hulls, Northwestern's Drew Crawford, Penn State's Tim Frazier and Wisconsin's Jared Berggren are in the running for the honor that recognizes an NCAA Division I senior with notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition.
Stars on the Small Screen:
For the sixth consecutive season, every Big Ten home game will be produced and distributed to a live national audience. BTN, 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 BTN.com. More than 75 games will be aired by an ESPN platform -- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3, and CBS Sports will carry 15 games.
March is (Almost) On:
The 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Chicago's United Center for the first time since 2007 and the eighth time in the event's history, including the inaugural event in 1998. 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 its inception has reached a live national television audience.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will also be played at the United Center in 2015, and will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., in 2014 and 2016.
All-session tickets for the 2013 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are on sale now. Visit bigten.org for more information.