Feb. 20, 2012
Tip-Off: Michigan State defeated Purdue on Sunday, improving its Big Ten record to 11-3 and increasing its lead in the conference standings to one game. Michigan knocked off Ohio State on Saturday, tying the Wolverines with the Buckeyes for second in the standings, as both teams hold 10-4 records. Wisconsin remained in fourth place, two games back of the top spot, keeping pace with a win over Penn State on Sunday and improving to 9-5 in the standings. Indiana (8-7) and Purdue (7-7) remain fifth and sixth, respectively.
Where We Rate: 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 .5854. The Big Ten leads all conferences with 75 percent of its teams ranked among the RPI's top 75, led by No. 2 Michigan State and No. 7 Ohio State. With all its teams ranked 136 or higher, the Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with all its squads among the RPI top 165. The Big Ten also leads the country with a Sagarin rating of 83.92, led by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan State and No. 8 Wisconsin. The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with 75 percent of its teams among the Sagarin's top 55, and with all its teams rated 122 or higher, the Big Ten is the only conference to place all its schools among the system's top 150. The complete list of Big Ten teams in the RPI and Sagarin ratings can be found on Page 4 of this release.
Twenty-Somethings: The Big Ten leads all conferences with five teams with 20 or more wins this season. Michigan State and Ohio State lead the Big Ten with 22 wins each. The Buckeyes are enjoying their eighth consecutive 20-win season, which is the second-longest streak in conference history, while the Spartans have won 20 games for the 12th time in the last 15 years. Indiana has reached the 20-wins milestone for the first time since the 2007-08 season, while Michigan has reached the marker for the second straight year, and the Badgers have accumulated 20 wins for the sixth consecutive campaign.
In the Polls: The Big Ten is tied for the lead among all conferences with five teams ranked in the top 25 of the latest Associated Press (AP) and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Michigan State and Ohio State both hold top-10 rankings, with the Spartans coming in at No. 6 in both polls, followed by the Buckeyes ranked eighth by the AP and ninth by the coaches. This week marks the seventh time this season the Big Ten has had multiple top-10 teams in either poll. Michigan State and Ohio State are followed by No. 11/13 Michigan, No. 16/15 Wisconsin and No. 23/24 Indiana, marking the 10th time in the last 11 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 11 weeks, and the Badgers have held a top-25 ranking in 14 of the season's 16 weeks.
Big Ten. Big Wins.: Michigan State leads the nation with six wins over top-25 teams this season and is tied for second in the country with nine games against ranked opposition. Michigan and Ohio State are two of the four teams tied for second in the country with five top-25 wins and are also tied for second with nine games against ranked foes. Penn State has also faced nine ranked opponents this season, while Wisconsin is eighth in the nation with eight top-25 games. Overall this season, Big Ten teams have combined to win 31 games against top-25 teams with 11 conference squads owning at least one win over a ranked opponent. In addition to the Spartans, Wolverines and Buckeyes, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa each have three top-25 wins, Wisconsin has two, and Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State all have one top-25 victory.
Top to Bottom: For the third straight season, every Big Ten team has recorded 10 or more wins. The Big Ten and Mountain West are the only conferences in the country in which every team has collected 12 or more victories this year. The Big Ten and the Summit League are the only two conferences in the country in which every squad has picked up four or more wins in conference play.
Elite Company: John Shurna broke Northwestern's program record for career points on Saturday, now with 1,902. The Big Ten's active scoring leader, Shurna looks to become Northwestern's first 2,000-point scorer and just the fifth new member of the Big Ten's 2,000 career points club since 2000. The Big Ten most recently welcomed two new members last year in Penn State's Talor Battle (2,213 career points) and Purdue's E'Twaun Moore (2,136).
Stat Tracker: Northwestern's John Shurna currently leads the Big Ten with 20.9 points per conference game and is looking to become Northwestern's first Big Ten scoring champion since Ray Ragelis averaged 26.0 per game in 1951. A 20.9 scoring mark would also stand as the conference's highest average in Big Ten games since Iowa's Adam Haluska averaged 21.3 in 2007. Michigan State's Draymond Green is averaging 11.1 rebounds per conference game and is on pace to become the second Spartan in four years to win the stat crown, following Goran Suton in 2009. Green's current pace would be the conference's highest average since Iowa's Reggie Evans pulled down 11.4 per game in 2001. Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the Big Ten with 6.3 assists in conference play, on track to be the Nittany Lions' first ever Big Ten leader in the category.
Protecting the Rock: Big Ten teams and players continue to be some of the nation's best at taking care of the basketball. Purdue leads the nation with just 8.7 turnovers per game, while Wisconsin's average of 9.0 is second, and Northwestern's mark of 10.2 is fourth. No. 11 Michigan (11.6) and No. 29 Ohio State (11.6) are also giving up fewer than 12 turnovers per contest. Ohio State ranks fourth in the country with a 4.9 turnover margin, followed by Purdue in seventh with a margin of 4.7. Northwestern is second in the country with a 1.53 assist-to-turnover ratio, followed by fifth-ranked Purdue (1.52), No. 19 Ohio State (1.31) and No. 20 Wisconsin (1.30). The Wildcats are led by freshman Dave Sobolewski, who is third in the country with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.13. Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor ranks ninth (2.85), followed by Lewis Jackson of Purdue in 22nd (2.43).
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 Zeller was also named one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year award. 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.
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.