Jan. 28, 2013
The fifth week of the Big Ten season begins Tuesday with Indiana and Michigan standing atop the conference race with matching 6-1 marks. The Wolverines emerged as the new No. 1 in the latest Associated Press poll, while five conference squads appear in the latest national rankings. Eight of the 11 Big Ten contests this week will feature at least one ranked squad, while Saturday's primetime contest between Indiana and Michigan highlights two of the nation's top three squads.
The New No. 1
Michigan was voted No. 1 in the latest Associated Press (AP) rankings, which were released on Monday. The Wolverines defeated Purdue at home on Thursday before defeating Illinois on the road on Sunday afternoon. Receiving 51 first-place votes, it marks Michigan's first appearance at No. 1 since Dec. 6, 1992. The Wolverines are the second Big Ten team to ascend to No. 1 in polls this season; Indiana was preseason No. 1 and remained the top team for the first six editions of the rankings. It marks the first time since 2006-07 two Big Ten teams have been voted No. 1, when Ohio State and Wisconsin each spent time at the top of the rankings.
Where We Rank
The Big Ten has four teams appearing in the top 13 of the AP and USA Today/Coaches polls. In addition to appearing at No. 1 in the AP poll, the Wolverines check in at No. 2 in the USA Today poll, just three points behind Kansas, whose lone defeat this year was to Michigan State. Indiana appears at No. 3 in both the AP and coaches polls, while the Spartans are ranked ninth in the coaches poll, giving the Big Ten three in the top 10, and 13th in the AP vote. Ohio State appears just outside the top 10 in each poll at No. 11, while Minnesota is ranked 23rd in the AP poll and 24th in the coaches vote. Wisconsin is receiving votes in both polls. Of this week's 11 Big Ten matchups, eight will feature at least one ranked team, while Saturday's contest between Indiana and Michigan will pit two of the nation's top three ranked teams.
A History of No. 1
Since the 2004-05 season, no other conference has had more top-ranked teams in the rankings than the Big Ten has in the weekly Associated Press (AP) poll. Over the last nine seasons, five conference squads have appeared at No. 1 in the AP vote. In the 2004-05 season, Illinois spent the final 15 weeks of the season at No. 1, Wisconsin and Ohio State each appeared at No. 1 in the AP poll during the 2006-07 season and the Buckeyes also appeared at the top of the poll for seven weeks during the 2010-11 season. Entering the 2012-13 season, Indiana spent the first six weeks at No. 1 before Michigan ascended to the top of this week's poll.
Another Top-10 Matchup
When Indiana and Michigan face off on Saturday night, it will be the third meeting of top-10 teams during Big Ten play this season, and second such meeting for both the Hoosiers and Wolverines. On Jan. 12, the No. 5/5 Hoosiers defeated then No. 8/10 Minnesota, while on Jan. 17, the No. 5/5 Wolverines also defeated the Gophers, which were ranked ninth in the AP poll. Both Indiana and Michigan have each faced three top-25 teams this season, with the Hoosiers posting a perfect 3-0 mark, while the Wolverines are 2-1 against ranked foes this year.
The Race is On
With their wins on Sunday, Indiana and Michigan took over the lead in the conference standings, with Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each just one loss back. The Hoosiers defeated the Spartans, while the Wolverines knocked off Illinois to improve their Big Ten records to 6-1. The Spartans are third in the standings at 6-2, while Ohio State and Wisconsin are tied for fourth with matching 5-2 Big Ten marks. Among this week's slate of games is a pair of contests pitting top five squads as Ohio State hosts Wisconsin on Tuesday and Indiana welcomes Michigan on Saturday night.
The Big Ten continues to be among the national leaders in the RPI, according to RPIratings.com. Through Sunday's games, the Big Ten leads the nation with five teams appearing among the rating's top 25 and is one of just two conferences with seven or more teams rated among the RPI's top 50. Michigan leads all conference teams at No. 6 in the rating, Minnesota appears at No. 11, followed by No. 12 Michigan State, No. 16 Indiana and No. 24 Ohio State. Illinois checks in at No. 33 in the rating, while Wisconsin is the conference's seventh top 50 team, appearing at No. 47. In total, 10 Big Ten teams appear among the RPI's top 100, including No. 73 Nebraska, No. 84 Iowa and No. 88 Northwestern
The Big Ten is the top-ranked conference in the Sagarin ratings, buoyed by three top-10 teams and six top-20 squads. Through Sunday's games, Michigan paces all conferences squads at No. 3 in the ratings and is joined in the top 10 by No. 5 Indiana and No. 8 Ohio State. Minnesota appears at No. 11, followed by No. 14 Michigan State and No. 16 Wisconsin in the top 20. In total, 10 conference squads are rated among the nation's top 100, including No. 39 Iowa, No. 51 Illinois, No. 55 Purdue and No. 75 Northwestern.
Six Big Ten squads are averaging better than 72 points per game heading into the fifth week of Big Ten action, including two teams ranked in the top 12 nationally. Indiana is second in the country, averaging 83.3 points per game, followed by Michigan, which is 12th in the country at 78.5 points a night. The conference's four other teams posting 72 points per game are Minnesota (73.2 points per game), Ohio State (72.9), Iowa (72.8) and Illinois (72.1).
Protecting the Rock
Five Big Ten teams appear among the nation's top 20 in turnovers per game, each averaging less than 11.5 giveaways per game. Wisconsin is the national leader in fewest turnovers per game, averaging just 9.1 per game. Michigan also appears in the top five, ranking fourth at 9.8 per game. Northwestern is ranked 15th at 11.0, while Nebraska is fractions behind in 16th, also at 11.0 per game. Ohio State is 19th at just 11.3 turnovers a night.
A select group of conference standouts rank among the Big Ten's overall leaders in various statistical categories. Indiana's Cody Zeller ranks among the conference's top four in both points and rebound per game, averaging 16.0 points, which ranks fourth, and 8.1 rebounds, which is second in the conference. Three Big Ten players rank among the conference's top 10 in both points and assists per game. Michigan's Trey Burke ranks second in scoring at 17.9 points per game, while leading all conference players in assists at 7.1 a night. Penn State's D. J. Newbill ranks sixth in points (15.5) and seventh in assists (4.0) per game and Minnesota's Andre Hollins is ninth in scoring (14.2) and 10th in assists (3.5) per game.
With Illinois' victory over Nebraska on Jan. 22, coach John Groce clinched the 100th win of his career. Now in his fifth season, Groce owns a 100-62 record overall, including a 15-6 mark in his first season with the Illini. Purdue's Matt Painter is four triumphs from 200 career victories, and aims to become the 10th current Big Ten coach to reach the 200 career wins mark.
Making the Cut
Four Big Ten players were named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, 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.