Jan. 23, 2012
Tip-Off: Michigan State and Ohio State picked up wins on Saturday, improving to 5-2 in Big Ten play and moving into a three-way tie with Michigan for first place in the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin knocked off Illinois in Champaign on Sunday, giving the Badgers sole possession of fourth place in the conference at 5-3. The Illini dropped back into a tie for fifth with Purdue, as both teams are 4-3. Indiana's win over Penn State on Sunday gave the Hoosiers a 4-4 Big Ten record and placed the squad seventh in the conference. Minnesota improved to 3-4 with a win over Northwestern on Sunday, and the Gophers are now tied with Iowa for eighth. Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State round out the Big Ten standings, each with two conference wins. Seven of this week's nine games feature at least one team ranked or receiving votes in the latest national polls, including two matchups between a pair of top-25 squads.
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 .5942. The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine top-50 RPI teams, led by No. 4 Michigan State and No. 9 Ohio State. The Spartans and Buckeyes are followed by No. 20 Indiana, No. 28 Illinois, No. 29 Michigan, No. 33 Wisconsin, No. 38 Northwestern, No. 47 Minnesota and No. 50 Purdue. The Big Ten is the only conference in the country with all its teams among the RPI's top 125.
Sagarin Says: The Big Ten also continues to lead the nation in the Sagarin ratings this week with a conference average of 83.81. The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine teams ranked in the top 65 of the Sagarin ratings, led by No. 1 Ohio State, No. 6 Michigan State and No. 8 Wisconsin. The Buckeyes, Spartans and Badgers are followed by No. 11 Indiana, No. 35 Purdue, No. 39 Michigan, No. 41 Illinois, No. 45 Minnesota and No. 62 Northwestern. The Big Ten is the only conference with all its teams among the poll's top 140. 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 leads all conferences with five teams ranked in the top 25 of the latest Associated Press (AP) poll and is tied for the lead among all conferences with five top-25 teams in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Ohio State leads the conference, ranked No. 4 by the AP and No. 3 by the coaches, followed by No. 10/11 Michigan State, No. 16/17 Indiana, No. 20/22 Michigan and No. 25/25 Wisconsin. In addition, Illinois is receiving votes from both polls. The Big Ten has had five or more ranked teams in six of the last seven polls.
Big Ten. Big Wins.: Big Ten teams have combined to record 21 wins over top-25 teams this season with 11 conference squads owning at least one win over a ranked opponent. Fifteen of the Big Ten's top-25 victories have come during conference play, and eight of those 15 wins have come from unranked squads knocking off ranked opposition. Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State have all knocked off three top-25 foes this year, with the Buckeyes becoming the first Division I team this year to knock off three top-10 programs. Illinois and Iowa both have two top-25 wins, while Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin all have one top-25 victory.
Super Sweet 16: The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with four teams with 16 or more wins this season. Ohio State leads the Big Ten with 17 wins, while Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin have 16 victories each. In addition, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota have 15 wins, Purdue has 14, Northwestern has 12, Iowa has 11, and Nebraska and Penn State each have 10 victories, marking the third straight season in which each Big Ten team has won 10 or more games. The Big Ten and the Mountain West are the only Division I conferences in which every team has 10 wins or more.
The 400 Club: Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is one victory shy of 400 wins in his coaching career. Izzo, who has spent his entire head coaching career at Michigan State, is poised to become just the fourth coach in conference history to win 400 or more games with a Big Ten school. Indiana's Bobby Knight is the conference's all-time leader with 661 wins, followed by Purdue's Gene Keady (512 wins) and Illinois' Lou Henson (423).
Home and Away: 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 29-15, which accounts for a .659 winning percentage. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are the three remaining Big Ten teams with undefeated home records this season, and Big Ten home teams have combined to go 16-5 over the last two weeks, including an 8-2 mark last week. Michigan State and Wisconsin lead the Big Ten with four true road wins each, while the Badgers pace the conference with three road wins in conference play.
Making the Cut: Indiana's Cody Zeller, Michigan State's Draymond Green and Ohio State's William Buford and Jared Sullinger were named to the midseason list for the Wooden Award. The Big Ten is tied for the lead among all conferences with four players on the 25-man list. Zeller is one of three freshmen on the list, while Ohio State is one of three teams with multiple representatives.
Tenacious D: Big Ten teams are not only continuing to play lock-down defense, but are also outscoring their opponents by wide margins, according to the latest NCAA stats released on Monday. Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 49.6 points per game, and field-goal percentage defense, holding foes to just 35.9 percent from the floor. Ohio State leads the country in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 22.0 points per game. Wisconsin ranks 10th in that category with an average scoring margin of 16.0 points, while No. 12 Michigan State (15.5) and No. 15 Indiana (14.8) are all among the NCAA's best with scoring margins over 14. The Buckeyes are ninth in the nation in scoring defense (56.0), followed by No. 37 Michigan State (60.6), No. 44 Michigan (60.9) and No. 45 Illinois (61.0).
Ball Control: Big Ten teams and players continue to rank among the nation's best in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, according to Monday's NCAA statistics. No. 14 Michigan State (16.8), No. 15 Ohio State (16.8), No. 26 Minnesota (16.0) and No. 28 Northwestern (15.8) all rank among the NCAA's top 30 in assists per game, while Penn State's Tim Frazier is 10th in the country with 6.4 helpers per contest. The Wildcats are second as a team with a 1.57 assist-to-turnover ratio, followed by No. 8 Ohio State (1.43), No. 11 Purdue (1.39), No. 17 Wisconsin (1.33), No. 35 Michigan State (1.22), No. 39 Iowa (1.19) and No. 41 Michigan (1.18). Wildcat freshman Dave Sobolewski is sixth in the nation with a 3.22 assist-to-turnover ratio, followed by Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor (14th, 2.88), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (28th, 2.49) and Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (30th, 2.48). In addition, Wisconsin leads the nation with the fewest turnovers per game (9.0), followed by No. 2 Purdue (9.7) and No. 3 Northwestern (10.1). Ohio State is second with a turnover margin of 6.8, followed by the No. 9 Boilermakers (4.7).
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.