Feb. 27, 2012
Tip-Off: Michigan State clinched a share of the Big Ten title over the weekend after the Spartans won on Saturday, and Michigan and Ohio State both recorded losses. The title is the 13th for the Spartans, who have also clinched a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines and Buckeyes are still in the hunt for a title share, both with 11-5 records, while Wisconsin is in fourth at 10-6. Indiana and Purdue are tied for fifth at 9-7.
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 .5832. The Big Ten leads all conferences with 75 percent of its teams ranked among the RPI's top 85, led by No. 4 Michigan State and No. 9 Ohio State. With all its teams ranked 152 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 84.06, led by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 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 top 55 and 83 percent of its teams among the top 100. With all its teams rated 127 or higher, the Big Ten is the only conference to place all its schools among the system's top 160. 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 is the only conference in the nation with five teams with 21 or more wins. Michigan State leads the Big Ten with 24 wins, marking the Spartans' 12th 20-win season in the last 15 years. Ohio State has 23 victories, which is the Buckeyes' eighth consecutive 20-win season, and Indiana has 22 victories, marking the Hoosiers' first 20-win campaign since 2007-08. Michigan and Wisconsin both own 21 victories, giving the Wolverines their second straight 20-win season and the Badgers their sixth consecutive 20-win campaign.
In the Polls: The Big Ten is tied for the lead among all conferences with five teams ranked in the top 20 of the latest Associated Press (AP) and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Michigan State and Ohio State both hold top-10 rankings in the AP poll, with the Spartans coming in at No. 5 and the Buckeyes at No. 10. Michigan State and Ohio State are ranked fifth and 11th, respectively, in the coaches poll. This week marks the eighth time this season the Big Ten has had multiple top-10 teams in either poll. Michigan State and Ohio State are followed by No. 13/16 Michigan, No. 14/15 Wisconsin and No. 18/20 Indiana, marking the 11th time in the last 12 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 12 weeks, and the Badgers have held a top-25 ranking in 15 of the season's 17 weeks.
Notes on the Championship: Michigan State clinched a share of the Big Ten Championship over the weekend, marking the Spartans' 13th conference title. It is the program's third in the last four years and the seventh for head coach Tom Izzo. Izzo's seven Big Ten titles lead all active conference coaches and rank fifth all-time behind Indiana's Bob Knight (11), Purdue's Ward Lambert (11), Ohio State's Fred Taylor (9) and Wisconsin's Walter Meanwell (8). Michigan and Ohio State are still in the running for a title share. The Wolverines seek their 13th overall and first since the 1985-86 season, while Ohio State looks for its 20th and third straight.
Big Ten. Big Wins.: Michigan State leads the nation with six wins over top-25 teams this season, while Michigan and Ohio State are two of the six teams tied for second in the country with five top-25 wins. Overall this season, Big Ten teams have combined to win 34 games against top-25 teams with every conference squad having won at least one game over a ranked opponent. In addition to the Spartans, Wolverines and Buckeyes, Iowa has four top-25 wins, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin each have three, and Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue all have one top-25 victory.
Top to Bottom: For the third straight season, every Big Ten team has recorded 10 or more wins, and for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign, every Big Ten team has won four or more conference games. The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation in which every team has at least 12 overall wins and at least four conference victories.
Dual Threat: Michigan State's Draymond Green grabbed 10 boards on Saturday, becoming the 13th player in Big Ten history with 1,000 career rebounds. Green is the first player since Illinois' James Augustine in 2006 to join the conference's 1,000 career rebounds club. Green is also just the fifth player in Big Ten history with 1,000 career points, 1,000 career boards and 100 career blocks, joining Augustine, Indiana's Alan Henderson, Ohio State's Herb Williams and Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll.
Stat Tracker: Northwestern's John Shurna leads the Big Ten with 20.6 points per conference game and is looking to become Northwestern's first Big Ten scoring champion since Ray Ragelis in 1951. Michigan State's Draymond Green is averaging 10.6 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. Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the Big Ten with 5.6 assists in conference play, on track to be the Nittany Lions' first ever Big Ten leader in the category.
Tenacious D: Big Ten teams continue to play some of the nation's toughest defense according to the latest NCAA statistics released on Monday. Wisconsin leads the country with 52.0 points allowed, while Ohio State is second with a 17.1 scoring margin, and Michigan State is second with a 37.1 field goal percentage defense. The Buckeyes rank eighth in scoring defense (57.6), followed by No. 10 Michigan State (57.8). The Spartans are sixth in scoring margin (14.7), while the Badgers are sixth in field goal percentage defense (38.0 percent) and second in three-point defense (28.2). Michigan State follows in fourth at 28.2 percent and is third in rebound margin (9.6).
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.: Ohio State's Aaron Craft (first team), Northwestern's Drew Crawford (second team) and Michigan's Zack Novak (third team) were named Capital One Academic All-Americans, CoSIDA announced on Thursday. The Big Ten is the only conference in the country with three Academic All-Americans this season, and Craft is just the first sophomore since 2008 to earn first-team accolades.
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 and single-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.