Feb. 8, 2014
Six games are on this weekend's Big Ten men's basketball schedule, including two matchups between ranked foes. On Saturday, #17/13 Iowa will host #10/16 Michigan, while /-#24 Wisconsin will entertain #9/8 Michigan State on Sunday. Heading into this weekend's action, Big Ten home teams have posted a 3-2 record this week.
Filling it Up:
Big Ten teams have posted 82 games with at least 80 points this season, and enter this week's slate of games averaging more than 73 points per game. Six Big Ten teams are averaging at least 74 points per game, including nine squads that are scoring at least 72 points per contest. Six Big Ten teams scored 75 or more points during mid-week games this week.
Where We Sit:
Michigan State and Michigan continue to be tied atop the Big Ten standings with 9-1 conference records heading into this weekend's slate of games, three games ahead of third-place Iowa (6-4). The Spartans became the first Big Ten team to reach 20 wins this season after Thursday's victory over Penn State. Ohio State and Wisconsin each boast 18 wins, while Michigan and Iowa have both collected claimed 17 victories this season.
Big Ten Road Warriors:
Since Jan. 25, 11 of the last 20 Big Ten games (55 percent) have been won by road teams. Ten of the Big Ten's 12 squads have captured at least one conference road win, with six teams boasting at least three road victories during Big Ten play. Michigan State enters Sunday's game at Wisconsin with a perfect 5-0 record in Big Ten road games.
Overtime Games Display Big Ten Depth:
Seven games have been extended to overtime throughout the Big Ten season, including three in the last 10 days. Nine teams have played at least one overtime game during Big Ten play, with Michigan State playing in a conference-high three games that have gone to an extra session. In addition, 14 games during conference play have been decided by three points or less, with Penn State playing in four one-possession games, which is the most in the Big Ten.
Frazier Closing in On Assist Record:
Penn State's Tim Frazier enters Sunday's game against Illinois with 600 career assists, just one helper shy of becoming the Nittany Lions' all-time assists leader. Frazier tied Freddie Barnes' (1989-92) career record of 600 assists against Michigan State. He leads the Big Ten in assists per game at 6.1, and has handed out nearly 30 more assists than any other Big Ten player this season.
Craft Continues to Climb Big Ten Career Charts:
Ohio State's Aaron Craft swiped six steals in the Buckeyes' win at Iowa, moving within 21 thefts (307) of tying the Big Ten career steals mark of 324 held by Illinois' Bruce Douglas (1983-86). Craft, who has tallied six or more steals eight times during his career, became the first Big Ten player with 17 points, six assists and six steals in a game since Charlie Bell of Michigan State in 2001.
Five Teams Ranked in Top 25 of Coaches' Poll:
The Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls were released on Monday, and the Big Ten was represented with three teams among the top 20 and five in the top 25. In the AP poll, Michigan State was ranked No. 9, followed by No. 10 Michigan and No. 17 Iowa. In the coaches' ballot, Michigan State was ranked No. 8, followed by No. 13 Iowa, No. 16 Michigan, No. 24 Wisconsin and No. 25 Ohio State.
Against the Nation's Best:
Eleven of the Big Ten's 12 teams have recorded wins over top-25 foes this season. Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin have each posted three wins against the top 25, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern all boast two wins against ranked opponents, while Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Penn State have all collected one victory against the top 25.
Piling Through the Turnstiles:
Tuesday's Ohio State at Iowa game drew 15,400 patrons, helping the Big Ten eclipse two million fans during the 2013-14 regular season. The Big Ten, which has welcomed 2,071,439 fans over 155 total games this season, has led the nation in men's basketball attendance for 37 consecutive years according to figures released by the NCAA.
Big Ten in Sagarin Rankings:
The Big Ten is well-represented in Jeff Sagarin's most recent College Basketball Rankings, with five teams among the top 15. Michigan State is ranked No. 3, followed by No. 7 Michigan, No. 10 Iowa, No. 12 Ohio State and No. 13 Wisconsin. The Big Ten's Sagarin Rating is 83.96, which is second among all conferences. Sagarin's ratings are an average of three formulas, based largely on a team's strength of schedule.
Leading the Way:
Through games of Feb. 6, the Big Ten has seen a variety of players pacing the conference in major statistical categories. Michigan State's Gary Harris leads the Big Ten in scoring (18.2 ppg), Indiana's Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.4 rpg), Ohio State's Amir Williams is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.624), Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the conference in assists per game (6.1), Ohio State's Aaron Craft leads the Big Ten in steals per outing (2.6) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons is the Big Ten's leader in blocks per game (3.2). Wisconsin's Ben Brust paces the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.943) while Michigan's Nik Stauskas leads the conference in three-point field goal percentage (.447).
Leaders of the Pack:
The Big Ten now has 13 active members of the 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,776 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,503), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,448), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,413), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,371), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,332), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,224), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,202), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,189), Iowa's Aaron White (1,183), Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,137) and Austin Hollins (1,123) and Iowa's Melsahn Basabe (1,067).
Roaming the Sidelines:
Six active Big Ten coaches have amassed 300 wins, led by three who have more than 400 career victories. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is the conference's active wins leader (692), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (690), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (459), Ohio State's Thad Matta (370), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (322) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (309).
Stay Glued to the Tube:
The 2013-14 season marks the seventh consecutive year that every Big Ten men's basketball conference regular season and tournament game will be broadcast nationally. The Big Ten's most recent media agreements will result in nearly 175 regular season and postseason games appearing on BTN, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.