Feb. 4, 2013
Now at the halfway point of the Big Ten season, Indiana enjoys an 8-1 conference record and is atop the standings, while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are just one game back. The Hoosiers emerged as the nation’s new No. 1 team, beginning their second stint at the top of the polls this year. Five Big Ten programs appear among the top 20 in both national rankings, including four top-10 squads. Eight of the 11 Big Ten contests this week feature at least one squad receiving votes, while two matchups will showcase a pair of top-10 squads.
Back at the Top
Following its weekend victory over top-ranked Michigan, Indiana reclaimed its spot atop the national polls this week. The Hoosiers appeared at No. 1 in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls, receiving 58 out of a possible 65 votes from the writers and 25 of 31 first-place nods in the coaches poll. Indiana appears at the top of the national rankings for the second time this season, earning the No. 1 rank in both polls for the first six weeks. With Indiana and Michigan both boasting No. 1 rankings this season, the Big Ten has had five conference squads appear at the top of the Associated Press poll since 2004-05, the most of any conference in either national ranking during that span.
Where We Rank
In addition to the top-ranked Hoosiers, the Big Ten boasts three other top-10 teams this week, marking the fourth time this season the conference has had four top-10 squads. Michigan appears at No. 3 in both polls, Michigan State is ranked eighth in the coaches poll and 12th in the AP vote, and Ohio State was voted 10th in both the AP and coaches rankings. Minnesota gives the Big Ten five top-20 squads, checking in at No. 18 in both polls, while Wisconsin is receiving votes from both groups.
Among the 11 Big Ten contests this week, eight will feature at least one team receiving votes in the latest rankings, while two contests will highlight a pair of top-10 squads. On Tuesday, third-ranked Michigan hosts 10th-ranked Ohio State at 9 p.m. ET in the second meeting this season between the two programs, while the Buckeyes will host No. 1 Indiana on Sunday afternoon. The two contests will mark the fourth and fifth times a pair of top 10 teams faced off during the Big Ten season, with the Hoosiers and Wolverines taking part in their third such meetings of the season this week.
The Race is On
At the halfway point of the conference season, four teams are within two games of Big Ten leader Indiana, which stands atop the conference standings with an 8-1 mark following its win over Michigan last Saturday. The Wolverines join two other squads, Michigan State and Ohio State, in a three-way tie for second at 7-2, while Wisconsin is two games back with a 6-3 Big Ten mark. This week will feature three matchups pitting the conference’s top five in the standings. Michigan hosts Ohio State on Tuesday, before traveling to Wisconsin on Saturday, while the Buckeyes welcome Indiana on Sunday afternoon.
Five programs in the country have reached the 20-wins mark, including two Big Ten squads. Michigan was the first team to 20 wins after defeating Northwestern last week, while Indiana became the conference’s second team with 20 triumphs following its win over Michigan last Saturday. It marks the third straight year the Wolverines have won 20 or more games, while the Hoosiers have reached the landmark for the second consecutive season.
The Big Ten continues to rank among the national leaders in the RPI, according to RPIratings.com. Through Sunday’s games, the Big Ten leads all conferences with five squads appearing in the latest top 20, while seven Big Ten teams appear in the top 50. Michigan and Minnesota both appear in the top 10, with the Wolverines leading the way at No. 7, followed immediately by Minnesota at No. 8. Indiana checks in at No. 11, followed by No. 13 Michigan State and No. 17 Ohio State. Wisconsin and Illinois round out the Big Ten’s top-50 squads, with the Badgers rated 41st and the Illini 48th.
The Big Ten is the top-ranked conference in the Sagarin ratings, boosted by three top-10 squads and six top-20 programs. Through Sunday’s games, Indiana paces all conference squads at No. 2 in the ratings and is joined in the top 10 by No. 3 Michigan and No. 7 Ohio State. Minnesota appears at No. 13, with No. 14 Michigan State and No. 16 Wisconsin rounding out the Big Ten’s top-20 teams. In total, 10 conference squads appear among the rating’s top 70, including No. 38 Iowa, No. 51 Illinois, No. 66 Northwestern and No. 70 Purdue.
To the Point
Six Big Ten squads are averaging better than 71 points per game this season, including two teams among the nation’s top 20. Indiana is second in the country, averaging 83.8 points per game, while Michigan is 16th at 77.8 points a night. The conference’s four other squads who are averaging better than 71 points per game are Minnesota (73.2), Iowa (72.3), Illinois (72.1) and Ohio State (71.7).
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 16.3 points, which ranks fourth, and 8.3 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 18.2 points per game, while leading all conference players in assists at 7.2 a night. Penn State’s D. J. Newbill ranks fifth in points (15.7) and sixth in assists (4.0) per game and Minnesota's Andre Hollins is ninth in scoring (14.2) and ninth in assists (3.7) per game.
Up for the Oscar
Four student-athletes were selected to the Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, which is awarded annually to the national player of the year. Indiana was one of two programs with two players named to the list in Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, while Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas were also selected to the midseason list. Six Big Ten players have been named the USBWA National Player of the Year, with Ohio State's Evan Turner the most recent recipient in 2010. This year’s winner will be announced on April 15.
That a Way
Three Big Ten players were chosen to the Wayman Tisdale Midseason Watch List, which is presented to the national freshman of the year. Michigan is one of two programs with multiple standouts selected to the list, with Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas among the 12 selected, which also includes Indiana's Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger is the Big Ten's most recent recipient, winning the honor in 2011. This year’s winner will be announced on April 15.
Four Big Ten student-athletes were named Capital One First Team Academic All-District performers. The four standouts are now eligible to earn Academic All-America recognition. Indiana's Jordan Hulls and Cody Zeller and Ohio State's Aaron Craft make up 60 percent of the District 5 first team, while Wisconsin's Jared Berggren was named to the District 6 first team. It is the second time Craft and Berggren have been named first team All-District performers.
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.