March 9, 2010
TRIPLE CROWN: For only the sixth time in conference history, three teams shared the Big Ten Championship. Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue earned a share of the 2010 Big Ten crown after completing the regular season with identical 14-4 marks in conference action. The last time three teams shared the conference title was in 2002 when Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin ended the year at 11-5. Ohio State also finished 11-5 in 2002, but later vacated their share of the title. A complete breakdown follows:
BIG TEN REGULAR SEASON THREE-WAY TIES
1920-21--Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue (8-4)
1923-24--Wisconsin, Illinois, Chicago (8-4)
1934-35--Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin (9-3)
1978-79--Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa (13-5)
2001-02--Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin (11-5)
PASSING GO AND MOVING ON: In the 12-year history of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, Illinois, Michigan State and Wisconsin have all advanced to at least the quarterfinals in every event. When the 2010 event is included, the trio will have reached the quarterfinals in all 13 years, as those teams earned top-five seeds this year. Eleven of the 13 advancements for Michigan State and Wisconsin have come thanks to first-round byes. No other team in the conference has garnered as many first-round passes as those two teams. Illinois is next on the chart with 10, while Indiana has eight. A chart detailing each team's number of first-round byes, including the 2010 event, can be found below.
THE LIFE OF NUMBER ONE: The No. 1 seed has won the tournament only four times with Michigan State claiming the 1999 title, Illinois capturing the crown in 2005, the Buckeyes winning in 2007 and the Badgers in 2008. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have faced off in the championship final on only three occasions, all within the last six tournaments. In 2007, No. 1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 Wisconsin. In previous years when the top two teams have met, No. 2 Iowa upset top-seeded Ohio State in 2006. In 2004, the No. 2 Badgers defeated the No. 1 Fighting Illini. In four of the 12 events, the No. 1 seed has been upset in its opening game.
GOOD TO BE NUMBER 2: The No. 2 seed remains the event's leader in Big Ten Tournament titles. No. 2 seeds are 16-6, have won four titles, have been to the finals five times and in the semifinals on six occasions. No. 2 seeds won the tournament in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2006. The No. 6 seed is the lowest to ever win a Big Ten Tournament, as Iowa did in 2001.
DÉJÀ VU: Wisconsin enters the 2010 Tournament as the No. 4 seed. A year ago, the Badgers sat in the same spot. UW will open its tournament run in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game for the second straight year.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Big Ten Conference includes at least 25 men's basketball players who hail from the Hoosier state, as six of the 11 schools carry at least one Indiana resident on their rosters. Purdue leads the way with 14 native sons, while Indiana has six in-state products. Michigan has two native Hoosiers, while Iowa, Northwestern and Ohio State each have one player who call Indiana home.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse have proved to be comfortable surroundings for several Big Ten teams in March. Through the five times the event has been held in Indianapolis, Wisconsin owns the best winning percentage in the facility (.667), going 6-3, including two tournament titles. Iowa ranks second in win percentage in Conseco Fieldhouse, sporting a .600 win percentage. The Hawkeyes took home the 2006 crown and have compiled a 6-4 record on the floor. A chart detailing each team's winning percentage in Conseco Fieldhouse can be found in the next column.
WINNING PERCENTAGE AT CONSECO FIELDHOUSE
(2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009)
Team Record Pct.
Wisconsin 6-3 .667
Iowa 6-4 .600
Illinois 7-5 .583
Minnesota 6-5 .545
Michigan State 5-5 .500
Ohio State 4-4* .500
Michigan 4-5 .444
Purdue 3-4 .429
Indiana 3-5 .375
Penn State 2-5 .286
Northwestern 1-5 .167
* Games vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
NATIVE SONS: Six student-athletes hail from the host city of Indianapolis: Indiana's Devan Dumes and Steven Gambles, Iowa's Devon Archie and Purdue's Patrick Bade, Kelsey Barlow and JaJuan Johnson.
WINNINGEST COACHES: Four active coaches boast winning percentages of .600 or better in Big Ten Tournament play. Illinois' Bruce Weber leads all active coaches with a .688 win percentage and ranks second all-time. The Fighting Illini skipper has guided his teams to an 11-5 Big Ten Tournament record, including one title and two runner-up finishes. Thad Matta led Ohio State to the championship final last year to improve his overall tournament ledger to 8-4. Matta's .667 win percentage is tied for fourth among all coaches and is second among active skippers. Bo Ryan led the Badgers to the 2008 title and increased his win percentage to .625 with a 10-6 record. Minnesota's Tubby Smith (3-2) boasts a .600 win percentage over two tournament appearances.
TOP TOURNEY TEAMS: Illinois leads the conference in winning percentage and total wins in Big Ten Tournament play with a record of 22-10 (.688) over 12 years. That mark includes two tournament crowns and four second-place finishes. Wisconsin boasts the conference's second-best winning percentage with a record of 14-10 (.583), including two tournament titles (2004 and 2008), while Iowa and Michigan State follow in third place with a 13-10 mark (.565) and two titles each.
TURNING HEADS: Ohio State's Evan Turner was named among the final six candidates in consideration for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award. The annual award is given to college basketball's top point guard. Turner completed the regular season among the top two in points, rebounds, steals and assists in the Big Ten to become the only player in conference history to finish in the top two 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), 9.4 rebounds (1st), 5.8 assists (2nd) and 1.8 steals (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.
TURER CAPTURES SCORING CROWN: With 20.1 points per conference game this season, Ohio State's Evan Turner earned the Big Ten's scoring title. After donning the scoring crown in 2009, Turner returned to defend his reign atop the conference leaderboard, posting 322 points in 16 outings. The junior swingman becomes the first player to repeat as scoring champion in back-to-back campaigns since Purdue's Glenn Robinson (1993 and 1994) and the first Buckeye to accomplish the feat since Gary Bradds (1963 and 1964).
TURNER IS THE CAROM KING: Ohio State's Evan Turner finished the regular season as the Big Ten leader in rebounding, averaging 8.3 boards in conference contests. Turner is the first Buckeye to lead in rebounding since 2007 and the eighth since 1959. The junior grabbed 110 defensive rebounds and 22 on the offensive end, compiling an overall tally of 132 despite missing two games due to injury. Turner has now amassed 632 rebounds during his collegiate career.
STUDENTS RULE: For the first time ever, a $50 all-session discounted ticket was made available to students attending Big Ten institutions. With the help of school athletic departments and individual student groups, word spread quickly and we are pleased to announce the student section is completely SOLD OUT. Nearly 900 students representing every institution are ready to take over Conseco Fieldhouse this weekend for the Men's Basketball Tournament. A valid student ID must be presented at the box office to pick up tickets and at entry into Conseco Fieldhouse.
MARCH IS ON!