Men's Basketball Weekly Release - Jan. 29
Jan. 29, 2007
Six Squads with 15 or More Wins: The Big Ten is tied for the national lead with six teams tallying 15 or more victories this season. The ACC and Big 12 also have six squads each. Wisconsin leads the nation and has notched the best start in school history with a 21-1 record, while Ohio State (18-3), Michigan State (17-5), Michigan (16-6), Illinois (15-8) and Indiana (15-5) have also reached the 15-win plateau this season.
Wisconsin's Winning Record: Wisconsin leads the Big Ten with a 7-0 record, marking the Badgers' best start in conference play since registering a 12-0 mark during the 1913-14 season. UW also becomes just the fourth Big Ten squad since the 1990-91 season to start the conference campaign at 7-0. Two years ago, Illinois opened the season with a 15-0 mark, while Indiana began the 1993 Big Ten campaign with a 13-0 record and Ohio State tallied a 7-0 opening mark during the 1991 conference race. All three previous teams went on to claim at least a share of the Big Ten crown.
More on the Badgers' Run: Wisconsin has won a school-record 17 games in a row dating back to Thanksgiving weekend. It's the longest active winning streak in the country and also marks the longest streak in the Big Ten since Illinois opened the 2004-05 season with a 29-0 record.
NCAA RPI Rankings: The Big Ten has four teams in the top 30 of the RPI rankings which were released by the NCAA last Monday. Wisconsin leads the Big Ten contingent with a No. 5 ranking, while Ohio State (11th), Indiana (16th) and Michigan State (27th) round out the top 30.
The Midseason Report: With the Big Ten season nearing the halfway point, a battle is brewing for the conference's top scoring position. Iowa's Adam Haluska currently stands atop of the Big Ten scoring leaders with 20.0 points per game in Big Ten only contests, but is closely followed by Michigan State's Drew Neitzel (19.6 ppg) and Purdue's Carl Landry (18.1 ppg). If Haluska continues to lead the conference in scoring, he would be the first Hawkeye to accomplish that feat since Andre Woolridge won the 1997 scoring title with 20.9 points per game.
Other Midseason Leaders: In other conference game only statistics, Ohio State is on pace to lead in four categories. With 9.4 boards per game, Ohio State's Greg Oden is vying to become the first freshman since Minnesota's Kris Humphries to lead the conference in rebounds. Oden would also be the first Buckeye to claim the rebounding crown since Brad Sellers tallied a conference-best 11.5 boards per game. Oden is also leading the Big Ten in blocked shots with 3.57 per game, which would make him the first freshman to finish No. 1 in that category since Penn State's Calvin Booth won the 1996 title (3.22 bpg). He would also be the first Buckeye to lead in rejections since Ken Johnson won back-to-back crowns in 2000 and 2001. Fellow freshman and teammate Mike Conley Jr. is ranked first in assists with 7.43 per game. Conley would become the first OSU player to lead the conference in assists since Kelvin Ransey won the title with 6.3 dishes per game in 1980 and the first freshman since Illinois' Deron Williams (4.8 apg) in 2003. This season, Conley has also tallied a conference-best 2.57 steals per game, which would make him the first freshman to lead in that category since Illinois' Dee Brown claimed the 2003 title with 1.88 thefts per contest. He would also be the second-consecutive OSU player to claim the steals title as former Buckeye Je'Kel Foster tallied a conference-best 2.13 thefts last season.
Big Ten's Grand Company: Nine Big Ten standouts have reached the 1,000-point milestone including three from the same school. Michigan's Lester Abram (1,169), Dion Harris (1,419) and Courtney Sims (1,194) have joined the Big Ten's 1,000-point club and are also joined by Wisconsin's Alando Tucker (1,932) and Kammron Taylor (1,029), Iowa's Adam Haluska (1,646), Ohio State's Ron Lewis (1,485), Purdue's David Teague (1,170) and Penn State's Geary Claxton (1,105). After scoring 588 points during the 2005-06 season, Tucker is now aiming to become the first 2,000-point producer for the Big Ten since Indiana's A.J. Guyton tallied 2,100 points from 1997-00.
Big Ten Coaching Milestones: Earlier this month, Iowa head coach Steve Alford captured his 300th career victory and is now closing in on another coaching milestone. In his eighth season at Iowa, Alford only needs four victories to claim his 150th career win in Iowa City. Penn State's Ed DeChellis is also in reach of hitting the 150th career victory plateau. Currently, DeChellis boasts a career mark of 146-160 in his 11th season.
Ohio State's Homecourt Record: With a triumph over Michigan State on Saturday, Ohio State has the sixth-longest home winning streak in the country with 21 consecutive triumphs at Value City Arena (Gonzaga leads the nation with a 47-game homecourt winning streak). The Buckeyes' last home loss was on Jan. 15, 2006, in double-overtime, 62-59, against the Spartans. Ohio State's current 21-game winning streak now stands alone as the third-longest in program history. OSU still trails the Big Ten record of 53 straight home triumphs set by Michigan State from 1998 to 2002 -- a winning streak that was ended by Wisconsin.
Television Update: The Big Ten Conference announced that ESPN has made its wildcard selections for four men's basketball games in late February. ESPN will televise the Michigan State at Michigan game on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. EST. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Indiana at Northwestern contest will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CST. The Iowa at Penn State game will be televised on ESPNU beginning at 7 p.m. EST, while the Minnesota at Purdue contest will air on ESPN Plus Local at 8 p.m. EST.