Men's Basketball Release: Week 17
March 2, 2010
FACES of the BIG TEN
Tijan jobe, indiana senior center
BIG TEN. BIG NOTES.
FOUR'S A CROWD: With one week remaining in Big Ten play, four conference teams are in contention for the 2010 regular season title. Ohio State (13-4) could clinch at least a share of the Big Ten crown with a win over Illinois on Tuesday. The Buckeyes own 17 conference titles, including 12 outright. Defending champion Michigan State (12-4) and 2009 Big Ten Tournament champion Purdue (12-4) are also vying for the right to don the regular season crown as each team begins the final week of conference play at home against Penn State and Indiana, respectively. The Spartans have garnered 11 conference championships, most recently earning sole possession of the 2009 title by four games. Purdue leads all Big Ten teams with 21 conference titles. Wisconsin (11-5) could also challenge for the top spot. The Badgers are owners of 17 conference titles with their most recent coming in 2008. The Big Ten has featured solo champs in each of the last seven campaigns, dating back to 2002-03. The last time multiple teams shared the crown was in 2002 when Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin all earned titles. The last co-championship occurred in 2001 when Illinois and Michigan State shared top honors.
FIRST-ROUND PASS: Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue, and Wisconsin are the only teams to clinch a first-round bye for the 2010 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament. Illinois (10-6) and Minnesota (8-8) will vie for the remaining spot as each team splits a pair of home and road contests this week. The Golden Gophers edged the Illini, 62-60, to gain the head-to-head advantage heading into postseason play. Illinois will have another chance to put the suspense to rest with a win over Ohio State or Wisconsin this week. Five conference teams will get the first day off at Conseco Fieldhouse, as the top five seeds open play on Friday while the bottom six seeds start on Thursday. While a first-round pass is important, teams have proven that it is not essential as Illinois (2008 and 1999), Iowa (2001 and 2002) and Ohio State (2003) have advanced to the finals despite beginning play on Thursday. The Hawkeyes won the tourney as a No. 6 seed in 2001, the Buckeyes finished as runners-up in 2003 as the No. 8 seed and the Illini landed in the championship game in 2008 as the No. 10 seed and 1999 as the No. 11 seed.
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: Ohio State's Evan Turner is currently among the top two in points, rebounds and assists in the Big Ten. If Turner's numbers stand, he could become the only player in Big Ten history to finish in the top three in each category since assists became an official stat during the 1983-84 season. The Buckeye sophomore is averaging 19.5 points per game (1st), 9.3 rebounds (1st) and 5.8 assists (2nd). Only five players in Big Ten history have finished in the top 10 of those categories since 1983-84, including both Turner and Michigan's Manny Harris last season. No Division I player has achieved those minimums since at least 1996-97. The only player in NBA history to match those numbers in a season was Wilt Chamberlain, who did so in both the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons.
1989-90 | Steve Smith, Michigan State
(1st ppg - 20.2, T7th rpg - 7.0, 4th apg - 4.8)
1991-92 | Jim Jackson, Ohio State
(1st ppg - 22.4, 8th rpg - 6.8, 7th apg - 4.0)
1995-96 | Brian Evans, Indiana
(1st ppg - 21.2, 3rd rpg - 7.1, 8th apg - 4.1)
2008-09 | Evan Turner, Ohio State
(1st ppg - 17.3, 3rd rpg - 7.1, 8th apg - 4.0)
2008-09 | Manny Harris, Michigan
(2nd ppg - 16.9, 6th rpg - 6.8, 5th apg - 4.4)
SCORING TITLE CHASE: With one more week left of Big Ten play, Ohio State's Evan Turner remains in first place among the conference's scoring leaders with 20.4 points per game in Big Ten-only contests. The Buckeye sharpshooter is followed by Northwestern's John Shurna (19.5 ppg.) and Penn State's Talor Battle (19.1 ppg.). If Turner closes out the 2009-10 campaign atop the leader board, he would become the first player to pace the conference in scoring in back-to-back seasons since Purdue's Glen Robinson (1993-94) and the first Buckeye to accomplish the feat since Gary Bradds (1963-64).
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM: The Big Ten saw three of its own named among the finalists for the Naismith Trophy, including Michigan State's Kalin Lucas, Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Ohio State's Evan Turner. Finalists for the trophy will be announced on CBS during first-round action of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and the award will be bestowed upon the winner at the 2010 Final Four in Indianapolis. Beginning on March 22, AT&T wireless customers, and fans on other wireless networks, will be able to text their votes for the player of their choice. In 2010, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25 percent of the final results.
COURT SCHOLAR: Purdue junior guard E'Twaun Moore was recognized as one of the finest men's basketball scholar-athletes in the nation last week when he was named a second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American.
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