March 12, 2013
The 2013 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament returns to Chicago, which hosted the inaugural event in 1998 and will serve as the site for the eighth time in the tournament’s 16-year history. The conference tournament averaged 18,882 fans per session when the event was last held at the United Center in 2007. The men’s tournament set total and average attendance records while in Chicago in 2001 with 109,769 fans in attendance for an average of 21,954 patrons per session.
For the first time since 1993, Indiana secured the outright Big Ten Championship after earning a one-point road victory over Michigan last Sunday. The Hoosiers, who last week claimed at least a share of their first Big Ten title since 2002, finished the conference slate with a 14-4 record, ahead of second-place finishers Michigan State and Ohio State, who each finished the season with 13-5 ledgers in conference play. Indiana has now won 21 Big Ten Championships, which ranks second among all programs.
Already to the Quarters
Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each secured byes to the quarterfinal round after earning top four seeds in this year’s tournament. The Hoosiers secured the top seed in the tournament, while Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin also earned first-round byes. The Hoosiers previous highest seed was No. 3 in the 1999, 2007 and 2008 events. The Buckeyes and Spartans ended the season tied for second with 13-5 conference marks. The two teams split their regular season meetings, but Ohio State won the tiebreaker to earn the No. 2 seed based on a better record against Indiana. The Buckeyes have now claimed a top-three seed in four straight tournaments. Michigan State is the No. 3 seed, its fourth top-three seed in the last five events. Wisconsin and Michigan concluded regular season action tied for fourth place, but the Badgers clinched the No. 4 seed based on a home win over the Wolverines earlier this year. Wisconsin has now earned a top-four seed for the 12th straight year and a first-round bye in 13 straight tournaments.
Anybody’s Ball Game
History has indicated that any team, regardless of seed, can advance to the tournament championship game. Tournament championship games have featured teams seeded as high as first, second and third and as low as eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th. Nine different schools have advanced to the tournament’s championship game. For the first time in conference history, the 2012 semifinals saw the top four seeds advance through to the semifinal round.
After selling out all tickets in advance for the first time in conference history, the Big Ten announced that standing room only tickets are now on sale for the Big Ten Tournament. Standing room only tickets are available for each of the six sessions of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament and may be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or through the United Center ticket offices at 312-455-4668 or www.unitedcenter.com.
Twenty-five Big Ten student-athletes will be returning to their home state to participate in this year’s conference tournament, including nine who hail from the city of Chicago. Six Big Ten squads boast multiple Illinois natives on their roster, including 10 from Illinois, five from Wisconsin, three each from Michigan and Northwestern and two each from Ohio State and Purdue. Chicago natives performing in front of their home crowd include Tracy Abrams, Nnanna Egwu, Myke Henry and Mike Shaw of Illinois, Mike Turner of Northwestern, Sam Thompson of Ohio State, Anthony Johnson of Purdue and Dan Fahey and George Marshall of Wisconsin.
Where We Rank
Five Big Ten teams appear in the latest Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls, which were released on Monday. For the fourth time this season, four Big Ten teams appeared in the top 10 of the polls, marking the 18th time in 19 weeks that at least three squads rank among the top 10. Indiana leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 3 in both standings. Michigan checks in at No. 6 in the AP vote and No. 8 in the coaches poll, Michigan State is seventh in the coaches rankings and eighth in the writers poll and Ohio State was voted ninth by the coaches and 10th by the media. Wisconsin gives the Big Ten five ranked teams this week, checking in at No. 22 in the AP vote and No. 23 in the coaches poll.
A Season of Top-10 Matchups
With no fewer than three teams ranked among the polls’ top 10 for 10 of the 11 weeks of conference play, the Big Ten has seen a record nine matchups of top-10 foes during the conference season. Five of those matchups have included Indiana, which went a perfect 5-0 in those matchups. Michigan has played in the most top-10 games of any conference team this season, posting a 3-3 mark against teams ranked among the top 10. Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State have also taken part in games featuring top-10 teams.
Big Ten Against the Top 25
This season, nine conference squads have recorded multiple wins over top-25 teams, including six programs that have won four or more games against ranked foes. Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin are among the national leaders in victories over top-25 squads, as the Hoosiers have seven victories and the Spartans, Gophers and Badgers hold five wins against ranked foes. Illinois and Michigan have won four games against ranked competition, Ohio State has three wins and Northwestern and Purdue boast a pair of triumphs against top-25 teams.
Reporting in the RPI
The Big Ten continues to rank among the national leaders in RPI this season, according to RPIratings.com. Entering the week, the conference is tied for the national lead with seven teams rated among the top 45, including five among the top 25. Two Big Ten squads occupy the top 10, with Indiana appearing at No. 5 and Michigan State checking in at No. 8. Michigan is rated 12th with No. 14 Ohio State and No. 24 Minnesota also among the top 25. Wisconsin and Illinois round out the seven top-45 squads, appearing at Nos. 42 and 43, respectively.
The Big Ten is the nation’s top rated conference in the Sagarin Ratings as nine squads appear among the top 60. Entering the week, four Big Ten teams are ranked among the top 10, with Indiana ranking second in the standings. Ohio State is rated seventh, Michigan State is eighth and Michigan appears at No. 9. No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 28 Minnesota give the conference six top-30 teams. No. 35 Iowa, No. 44 Illinois and No. 56 Purdue round out the Big Ten contingent rated in the top 60.
Eight Big Ten teams have reached the 20-wins mark this season. Indiana leads all conference teams with 26 victories, Michigan has 25 wins, Michigan State has 24 triumphs, Ohio State has 23 wins and Illinois and Wisconsin each boast 21 victories, while Minnesota carries 20 triumphs. With its win in the regular-season finale on Saturday, Iowa earned its 20th victory of the season, reaching the milestone for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Thanks to the Fans
This season, the Big Ten recorded a new total attendance record during conference games only this season, welcoming nearly 1.5 million fans to Big Ten venues this season. The Big Ten has set conference games only attendance records in each of the last three seasons, welcoming a total of 1,473,508 patrons to its venues this season.
To the Point
Entering the week, six Big Ten teams are averaging better than 69 points per game this season, including a pair of squads ranked among the top 25 nationally. Indiana is third in the country, averaging 80.8 points per game, while Michigan is ranked 23rd with an average of 75.4 points a night. Other Big Ten teams averaging better than 69 points per game this season include Iowa (70.7), Ohio State (70.1), Illinois (69.8) and Minnesota (69.1).
Another Round of Finalists
Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, Michigan's Trey Burke and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas have been selected as finalists for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Award, it was announced on Saturday. The Big Ten leads all conferences with four selections, while Indiana is one of two schools to have more than one player selected to the ballot. The Big Ten boasts three Wooden Award winners in its history, most recently in 2010 when Ohio State’s Evan Turner won the accolade. Indiana’s Calbert Cheaney in 1993 and Purdue’s Glenn Robinson in 1994 have also claimed the honor. Oladipo, Zeller, Burke and Thomas are also among the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year finalists.
A pair of Big Ten coaches reached milestone wins in their respective season finales. Iowa’s Fran McCaffery reached 300 career victories to become the sixth active conference coach to reach the marker, while Purdue’s Matt Painter became the 10th active coach to reach the 200-wins mark. Other active mentors to reach the 300 mark include Michigan’s John Beilein, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, Ohio State’s Thad Matta and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, while Indiana's Tom Crean, Nebraska's Tim Miles and Northwestern's Bill Carmody have also won more than 200 career games.
We Are the (Stat) Champions
Following the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday, the Big Ten crowned its stat champions in conference games only. Michigan's Trey Burke led in scoring at 20.2 points per game and is the first Wolverine to lead the Big Ten in the category since Glen Rice in 1989. Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe topped the Big Ten in rebounding for the second time, averaging 9.8 rebounds in conference play this season. He also won the rebounding title in 2011. Burke becomes the first Wolverine to lead the Big Ten in assists in conference games only since Gary Grant in 1988, averaging 6.4 assists in conference games.