Feb. 13, 2012
Tip-Off: Michigan State's win over Ohio State on Saturday put the Spartans and Buckeyes in a tie for first place in the Big Ten standings with 9-3 records. Michigan kept pace with a win over Illinois on Sunday, moving to 9-4, just one half-game back of the top two teams. Wisconsin was idle over the weekend and remains one game out of first at 8-4. Indiana is fifth at 7-6, while Purdue moved to 6-6 with a win over Northwestern on Sunday, placing the Boilermakers sixth in the standings. The Illini and Wildcats both fell to 5-7 and now sit in a four-way tie for seventh, creating just four games of separation between the top 10 teams in the conference standings.
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 .5871. The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine teams in the RPI's top 61, led by No. 4 Michigan State and No. 10 Ohio State. The Spartans and Buckeyes are followed by No. 14 Michigan, No. 15 Indiana, No. 24 Wisconsin, No. 44 Northwestern, No. 46 Illinois, No. 56 Purdue and No. 61 Minnesota. Each of the conference's 12 teams holds an RPI of 131 or better, and the Big Ten is the only conference in the country with every team among the RPI's top 175.
Sagarin Says: The Big Ten also continues to lead the nation in the Sagarin ratings this week with a conference average of 84.04. The Big Ten paces all conferences with 75 percent of its teams ranked in the top 60 of the Sagarin ratings and is the only conference with more than two top-10 teams, led by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 9 Indiana. The Buckeyes, Spartans, Badgers and Hoosiers are followed by No. 24 Michigan, No. 33 Purdue, No. 40 Illinois, No. 49 Minnesota and No. 56 Northwestern. With all its teams rated 136th or higher, the Big Ten is the only conference with all its squads ranked among the Sagarin top 150. 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 20 of the latest Associated Press (AP) and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Ohio State and Michigan State both hold top-10 rankings this week with the Buckeyes ranked sixth in both polls and the Spartans rated seventh by the AP and eighth by the coaches, marking the sixth time this season the Big Ten has had more than one top-10 team in either poll. Ohio State and Michigan State are followed by No. 15/17 Wisconsin, No. 17/19 Michigan and No. 18/20 Indiana, marking the ninth time in the last 10 polls the Big Ten has had five ranked teams. 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 10 weeks, and Wisconsin has held a top-25 ranking in 13 of the season's 15 weeks.
Twenty-Somethings: Ohio State became the first Big Ten team to reach the 20-wins milestone, now with a 21-4 record this season. The Buckeyes have won 20 or more games in each of the last eight seasons, which 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. Michigan State picked up its 20th win of the season with a victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday, giving the Spartans their 12th 20-win campaign in the last 15 years. Seven more conference teams are within five wins of 20 on the season, led by Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, who are each just one win shy of the milestone.
Race to 19: The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with five teams with 19 or more wins this season. Ohio State leads the Big Ten with 21 wins, while Michigan State has 20 victories, and Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin each have 19. In addition, Minnesota has 17 wins, Illinois and Purdue each have 16, Northwestern has 15, Iowa has 13 and Nebraska and Penn State each have 11 victories, marking the third straight season in which each Big Ten team has won 10 or more games. The Big Ten and Mountain West are the only conferences in which every team has 11 or more wins this season.
Big Ten. Big Wins.: Big Ten teams have combined to record 28 wins over top-25 teams this season with 11 conference squads owning at least one win over a ranked opponent. Ohio State and Michigan State have each knocked off five top-25 opponents, while Michigan has four top-25 wins, and 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.
Renaissance Men: Several Big Ten players are among the conference's best in multiple career stat categories. Northwestern's John Shurna leads all active players with 1,855 career points, is fourth in rebounds (603) and second in blocks (118). Michigan State's Draymond Green leads active players with 965 rebounds and 162 steals and is ninth in points (1,292), seventh in assists (372) and fourth in blocks (105). Ohio State's William Buford is second in points (1,799), sixth in boards (589), eighth in assists (333) and seventh in steals (119). Purdue's Robbie Hummel is third in scoring (1,589), second in rebounds (771), fifth in blocks (103) and fifth in steals (127). See Page 3 of this release for a full list of active career statistical leaders.
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, announced by the USBWA. 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. Green, Buford, Michigan's Zack Novak and Purdue's Robbie Hummel are finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, making the Big Ten 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.
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.
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 48-26, which accounts for a .649 winning percentage. Michigan and Michigan State remain undefeated at home during conference play and in all games, while Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin also 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 six. Eleven teams have at least one road win in Big Ten play, led by the Badgers, who have five.
Tenacious D: Big Ten teams continue to play some of the toughest defense in the nation, as Wisconsin leads the country in scoring defense, allowing just 50.3 points per game. Ohio State is seventh in that category (56.7), while Michigan State is 15th (58.6). The Buckeyes are second in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 19.1 points per game, while the Spartans are ninth (14.6), the Badgers are 12th (14.0) and Indiana is 17th (12.8)
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.