Feb. 6, 2012
Tip-Off: Ohio State remains atop the conference standings with an 8-2 record after beating Wisconsin on Saturday. Michigan State's win over Michigan on Sunday improved the Spartans to 7-3 in the Big Ten, pushing them to second place in the standings. The Badgers and Wolverines are 1.5 games back of the top spot, both with 7-4 records. Indiana, Illinois and Purdue are tied for fifth with .500 records, as the Hoosiers are 6-6, while the Illini and Boilermakers are both 5-5, creating just three games of separation between the top seven teams in the Big Ten standings. Seven of this week's 10 games feature at least one ranked team, including a matchup of the top two teams in the conference standings on Saturday.
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 .5894. The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine top-64 RPI teams, led by No. 4 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan State. The Buckeyes and Spartans are followed by No. 15 Michigan, No. 18 Indiana, No. 30 Wisconsin, No. 37 Northwestern, No. 46 Illinois, No. 49 Minnesota and No. 64 Purdue. The Big Ten is the only conference in the country with all of its teams among the RPI's top 150.
Sagarin Says: The Big Ten also continues to lead the nation in the Sagarin ratings this week with a conference average of 83.79. The Big Ten leads all conferences with 75 percent of its teams ranked in the top 64 of the Sagarin ratings, led by No. 1 Ohio State, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Indiana. The Buckeyes, Spartans, Badgers and Hoosiers are followed by No. 29 Michigan, No. 38 Purdue, No. 44 Illinois, No. 46 Minnesota and No. 64 Northwestern. The Big Ten is the only conference with all of 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) and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Ohio State leads the Big Ten, ranked third in both polls, followed by No. 11/12 Michigan State, No. 21/22 Wisconsin, No. 22/25 Michigan and No. 23/23 Indiana. The Big Ten has had five or more ranked teams in eight of the last nine polls. The Wolverines and Buckeyes have appeared in the top 25 of both polls all season long, while the Hoosiers and Spartans have each been top-25 teams for the last nine weeks, and Wisconsin has held a top-25 ranking in 12 of the season's 14 weeks.
Twenty-Somethings: Ohio State became the first Big Ten team to reach the 20-wins milestone this season when it defeated Wisconsin, 58-52, in Madison on Saturday. The victory gave the Buckeyes their eighth consecutive 20-win season, also giving head coach Thad Matta 20 or more victories in each of his eight years in Columbus. Ohio State's stretch of eight straight 20-win seasons is the longest active streak in the Big Ten and the second-longest in conference history, trailing only Illinois, which won 20 or more every season for nine years from 1983-91. Seven more conference teams are within five wins of 20 on the season, led by Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin, who each have 18.
Super Sweet 16: The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with seven teams with 16 or more wins this season and six teams with 17 or more wins. Ohio State leads the Big Ten with 20 wins, while Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin have 18 victories, Michigan and Minnesota have 17, and Illinois has 16 wins. In addition, Purdue has 15 wins, Northwestern has 14, Iowa has 13, Nebraska has 11 and Penn State has 10 victories, marking the third straight season in which each Big Ten team has won 10 or more games. The Big Ten, Big East and Mountain West are the only Division I conferences in which every team has 10 or more wins.
Big Ten. Big Wins.: Big Ten teams have combined to record 27 wins over top-25 teams this season with 11 conference squads owning at least one win over a ranked opponent. Twenty-one of the Big Ten's top-25 victories have come during conference play, and nine of those 21 wins have come from unranked squads knocking off ranked opposition. Ohio State has knocked off five top-25 foes this year and became the first Division I team this season to upend three top-10 programs. Michigan and Michigan State also have four top-25 wins, while Illinois and Indiana have three top-25 victories. Iowa and Wisconsin each have two, and Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State all have one win over a ranked opponent.
Awards Season: Indiana's Cody Zeller, Michigan State's Draymond Green and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger were named among the 20 finalists for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy, the USBWA announced on Monday. Zeller, Green and Sullinger join Ohio State's William Buford as four of the 25 finalists for the John Wooden Player of the Year Award, while Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor were named among the finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the nation's top point guard.
Basketball I.Q.: Michigan's Zack Novak, Northwestern's Drew Crawford, Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Wisconsin's Jared Berggren were named Capital One Academic All-District by CoSIDA. The four advance to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team honorees will be selected later this month.
Stay CLASSy: Michigan's Zack Novak, Michigan State's Draymond Green, Ohio State's William Buford and Purdue's Robbie Hummel were named finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The Big Ten is the only conference with more than one representative on the final list for the award that recognizes a Division I senior who has demonstrated notable achievements in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition.
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 41-23, which accounts for a .641 winning percentage. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State remain undefeated at home during conference play and in all games, while Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin each have 10 or more home wins this year. Every Big Ten team has at least one true road win this year, led by Wisconsin, which has five. Eleven teams have at least one road win in Big Ten play, led by the Badgers, who have four.
Protecting the Rock: Big Ten teams and players continue to be some of the nation's best at protecting the basketball, according to the latest NCAA stats released on Monday. Wisconsin ranks first in the country with just 8.8 turnovers per game, followed by Purdue, which is second with 9.1, and Northwestern, which is fourth at 10.3. Ohio State is second in turnover margin (5.9), followed by the Boilermakers in seventh (5.0). The Wildcats are third in the country with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.52, followed by No. 7 Purdue (1.44) and No. 10 Ohio State (1.38). Northwestern freshman Dave Sobolewski is third among players in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.36), while Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor is eighth (3.0).
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.