Jan. 17, 2014
Michigan State (5-0) and Michigan (4-0) remain unbeaten in Big Ten play and tied atop the conference standings heading into this weekend's slate of games. The Spartans will play at Illinois on Saturday, while Michigan will take on Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. Michigan State has won nine straight games and Michigan enters Saturday's contest on a six-game winning streak.
Big Ten Tops Sagarin Rankings:
The Big Ten is well-represented in Jeff Sagarin's most recent College Basketball Rankings, with three teams among the top five and five in the top 15. Michigan State is ranked No. 2, followed by No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Iowa, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 15 Michigan. The Big Ten's Sagarin Rating is 84.22, which leads all conferences. Sagarin's ratings are an average of three formulas, based largely on a team's strength of schedule.
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.
Moving up the Coaching Ranks:
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo won his 214th Big Ten game at Northwestern on Wednesday, moving into a tie for fourth-place all-time alongside Illinois' Lou Henson (1976-96). Michigan State is 16-1 on the season, matching the best one-loss start in school history.
Indiana's Noah Vonleh claimed his fifth Big Ten Freshman of the Week award on Monday, which marks the third-highest total since the award began in 2010. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger won a conference-record 12 Freshman of the Week awards in 2010-11, while Indiana's Cody Zeller and Michigan's Trey Burke each claimed the honor seven times in 2010-11. Vonleh enters this weekend's slate of games as the Big Ten's leading rebounder with 9.0 boards per contest. If he maintains the Big Ten lead through the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign, Vonleh would become the first freshman to lead the Big Ten in rebounding since Ohio State's Greg Oden, who averaged 9.6 rebounds per contest in 2006-07.
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. According to RPIRatings.com, the Big Ten has six teams among the top 50 through games of Jan. 16: No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 23 Iowa, No. 30 Minnesota and No. 42 Michigan.
Protecting the Rock:
When Wisconsin hosts Michigan on Saturday, two of the nation's most efficient teams will oppose each other for the first time this season. The Badgers lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game at 8.3, while Michigan ranks third with 9.0 turnovers per contest. The Badgers lead the country in fewest personal fouls per game with 14.8 and Michigan ranks second with 14.9 fouls per contest. In addition, the Wolverines rank third in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (1.76) while Wisconsin is 13th (1.55).
Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin have enjoyed quick starts to the season, jumping out to a combined 15-2 record. The Spartans are 5-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2009-10, Michigan is 4-0 for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign, Iowa is off to a 3-1 start in Big Ten play for the first time since 2005-06 and Wisconsin is 3-1 or better in conference play for the second straight year and ninth time in the last 11 seasons.
Leading the Way:
Through games of Jan. 16, the Big Ten has seen a variety of players pacing the conference in major statistical categories. Indiana's Kevin 'Yogi' Ferrell leads the Big Ten in scoring (17.9 ppg) and teammate Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.0 rpg). Iowa's Aaron White is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.653), 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 (2.4 spg), Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky is pacing the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage (.477) 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 (47) while Minnesota's Malik Smith paces the Big Ten in 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 1,673 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,412), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,392), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,335), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,313), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,302), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,162), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,137), Iowa's Aaron White (1,111), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,108), Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,107) and Austin Hollins (1,063) and Iowa's Melsahn Basabe (1,020).
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 (691), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (685), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (455), Ohio State's Thad Matta (367), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (319) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (306). Izzo has 214 Big Ten wins, which is tied for fourth all-time. Ryan's winning percentage of .712 (148-60) 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).
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.