Jan. 31, 2011
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Blake Hoffarber, Minnesota
Sr., Minnetonka, Minn. / Hopkins
A freshman during Tubby Smith's debut season at Minnesota, Blake Hoffarber has been central to the resurgence of the Gopher program over the last four years. The senior captain is currently the school's career leader in three-pointers and became Minnesota's 35th member of the 1,000 point club on Dec. 15th. In addition to leading the Gophers in scoring this season, Hoffarber maintains a 3.5 GPA as a finance major in the Carlson School of Management and was a member of the Academic All-Big Ten Team in each of the last two seasons.
The Week That Was:
Halfway through the Big Ten season, Ohio State remains atop the conference standings with a 9-0 record. Purdue sits two games back at 7-2, while Wisconsin is in third at 5-3, and Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State are tied for fourth at 5-4. Big Ten action continues on Tuesday as the Badgers host the Boilermakers at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and Illinois welcomes the Nittany Lions for a 9 p.m. ET game on the Big Ten Network.
Raking in the Rankings:
The Big Ten leads all conferences with 45.5 percent of its teams ranked in the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. With five top-25 teams, the Big Ten trails only the Big East, which has seven teams (43.8 percent) ranked. Ohio State is the unanimous No. 1 selection, followed by No. 10 Purdue, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 20 Minnesota and No. 24 Illinois. The Buckeyes are also the unanimous No. 1 pick in the Associated Press (AP) poll, followed by No. 11 Purdue, No. 18 Minnesota and No. 19 Wisconsin. Illinois and Penn State are both receiving votes outside the AP top 25. The Boilermakers are back in the coaches' top 10 for the first time since Jan. 3 and, along with the Buckeyes, have been ranked in the top 25 of both polls all season long. Illinois has been among the top 25 in at least one poll all season, while the Golden Gophers have made at least one top-25 list every week since Nov. 22. The Badgers are ranked in both polls for the fourth consecutive week.
Michigan sophomore Darius Morris recorded the Big Ten's second triple-double in as many weeks, posting 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Wolverines' win over Iowa on Sunday. The feat was the second in the conference this season, following Wisconsin freshman Josh Gasser's performance of 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on Jan. 22. Morris' triple-double marked the third in Michigan program history and first since Manny Harris last season. Prior to Morris and Gasser, a triple-double had not happened in a Big Ten game since Illinois' Sergio McClain did it in 2001.
Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe recorded two more double-doubles last week, bringing his season total to 13, which leads the Big Ten, is tied for seventh among all Division I players this season and is tied for eighth on Minnesota's all-time single-season list. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger is second in the conference and tied for 26th in the NCAA with nine double-doubles, while Purdue's JaJuan Johnson is tied for third in the Big Ten with seven this year and is second among all active conference players with 21 in his career. Illinois' Mike Davis leads all active conference student-athletes with 28, including four this season. Michigan's Darius Morris recorded his sixth double-double on Sunday, a triple-double, and leads the Big Ten with points-assists double-doubles this season.
Beating the Best:
Penn State's win over then-No. 17/15 Wisconsin on Saturday marked the Nittany Lions' third win over a top-25 opponent, which is tied for second among all Big Ten teams and marked the first time in program history that the team has beaten three ranked opponents on its home floor. Ohio State leads the Big Ten with a 4-0 mark against ranked opposition, while Illinois and Michigan State also have three wins each against top-25 foes. Nine Big Ten teams have knocked off at least one ranked opponent, including Indiana, whose victory over Illinois on Thursday marked the program's first top-25 win under head coach Tom Crean.
A pair of Big Ten standouts reached career milestones last week as Penn State's Talor Battle and Purdue's E'Twaun Moore both eclipsed the 1,900 mark in career points scored. The duo are on pace to become the 25th and 26th players in Big Ten history to reach the 2,000 career points milestone and would become the first players to reach the marker since Wisconsin's Alando Tucker from 2003-07. If both players reach the milestone this season, it would mark the eighth season in Big Ten history that a pair of conference players went on to score 2,000 or more points during the same four-year span.
Leader of the Pack:
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger leads all Division I freshmen with 18.0 points per game and a 57.7 percent shooting percentage. He also ranks second among his classmates with nine double-doubles and is third among all freshmen with 9.9 rebounds per game. He has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week 10 out of the season's 12 weeks and has earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors four times, setting a conference freshman record.
Big Ten teams and players continue to rank as or among the nation's best in several stat categories, according to the latest NCAA statistics released on Monday. Ohio State leads the nation in scoring margin (20.9) and fouls per game (14.1), while Wisconsin paces the country in free-throw percentage (81.8), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.83) and turnovers per game (7.8). Northwestern's John Shurna leads the NCAA with a 52.2 three-point shooting percentage, and the Badgers' Jordan Taylor is the nation's leader with a 3.91 assist-to-turnover ratio. A complete list of Big Ten players among the national stat leaders can be found on Page 5 of this release.
With a 22-0 record, Ohio State remains the only undefeated team in NCAA Division I. Ohio State's start is tied for the second-best in program history and is the best since the 1961-62 Buckeyes started 22-0. The start is also tied for the fifth-best in Big Ten history and is the longest undefeated streak to start a season since Illinois opened the 2004-05 schedule 29-0. Ohio State is also off to the best start by a Big Ten team after losing the previous season's conference Player of the Year and the best start by any team that lost the Naismith Award winner the previous year.
Ohio State's David Lighty, Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and Wisconsin's John Leuer were named finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in men's basketball on Jan. 26. The Big Ten leads all conferences with three finalists for the honor which recognizes an NCAA Division I senior with notable academic achievements in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition.
The Big Ten Conference announced network designations and start times for games played Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 19 and 20. Saturday's schedule features a Big Ten Network doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET as Iowa hosts Michigan. That game will be followed by Northwestern at Indiana at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN will broadcast the Illinois at Michigan State game at 9 p.m. ET and will be in East Lansing all day for its College GameDay show. On Sunday, CBS Sports will air the Ohio State at Purdue matchup at 1 p.m. ET, while the Big Ten Network will broadcast the Penn State at Wisconsin game at 6 p.m. ET.
March is (Almost) On:
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis March 10-13, 2011 for the fourth year of a five-year agreement that puts both the men's and women's events in the Circle City. All-session tickets for the 2011 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are on sale now. For more information, visit www.bigten.org
Let the Madness Begin:
The Big Ten Conference will serve as host for the second and third rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Games will be played at the United Center in Chicago, and a limited number of tickets are still available. Visit www.bigten.orgfor more information.