March 13, 2012
Six Teams Earn NCAA Bids: Six Big Ten teams were selected to the NCAA Tournament, tying the conference for second in the nation. This marks the fifth year in the last seven that the Big Ten has had six or more teams in the bracket and the fourth straight year the Big Ten has had five or more teams in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State received the conference's automatic bid after winning the Big Ten Tournament, while Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin received at-large berths.
Noting No. 1: Michigan State is the No. 1 seed in the West Region, picking up the program's fifth No. 1 seed and first since 2001. Michigan State's five No. 1 seeds leads the Big Ten and is tied for fifth in the country. Ohio State has four No. 1 seeds in program history, including the No. 1 overall seed last season, while Illinois and Purdue each have three, Indiana and Michigan each have two and Minnesota has one.
View from the Top: In addition to No. 1 Michigan State, several other Big Ten teams captured high seeds in this year's NCAA Tournament. Ohio State is the No. 2 seed in the East, while Indiana (South), Michigan (Midwest) and Wisconsin (East) are No. 4 seeds, and Purdue (Midwest) is a No. 10 seed. The Big Ten has an average seed of 4.17, which ranks second behind only the ACC's average of 4.00 among conferences with four or more teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Average Conference Seed (4 or more teams)
Rank Conference Average
1. ACC 4.00
2. Big Ten 4.17
3. SEC 5.50
4. Big 12 5.67
5. Big East 6.11
6. Mountain West 7.00
7. Atlantic-10 9.50
Top-Heavy: The Big Ten leads all conferences with five teams seeded fourth or better in this year's NCAA Tournament, which sets a Big Ten record and ties the all-time tournament record since seeding began in 1979. The only other conferences to have accomplished the feat are the Big East in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and the ACC in 2004. In each of those four previous years, at least one of the top-four seeded teams has advanced to the Final Four.
NCAA Tournament Streaks and Stats: Indiana is making its 36th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2008. The Hoosiers are making their first NCAA appearance under head coach Tom Crean ... Michigan makes its 19th official NCAA Tournament trip and third in the last four years. Michigan has gone to an NCAA Tournament in three of John Beilein's five years as head coach ...Michigan State is headed to its 26th NCAA Tournament and its 15th in a row. Tom Izzo has taken the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament in 15 of his 17 years as head coach ...Ohio State makes its 24th official NCAA Tournament appearance and its fourth consecutive. Ohio State has made the NCAA bracket six times under head coach Thad Matta ... Purdue earns its 25th official NCAA trip and its sixth in a row. The Boilermakers have made the NCAA Tournament in six of head coach Matt Painter's seven seasons ...Wisconsin makes its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance and 14th consecutive. Bo Ryan has taken the Badgers to the NCAA Tournament in each of his 11 seasons as head coach.
Keeping it Consistent: Michigan State and Wisconsin own two of the nation's best active NCAA appearance streaks, having gone to every postseason in more than a decade. Michigan State holds the third-longest active streak in the country, now making its 15th straight appearance, while Wisconsin's 14 straight appearances is fourth in the nation.
Historical Perspective: Big Ten teams have combined to win 10 national titles and make 41 Final Four appearances. The Big Ten's last NCAA Championship was won by Michigan State in 2000, and the Spartans have also made the conference's most recent Final Four appearances, having gone in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. Over the last seven years, the Big Ten and Big East are the only conferences to have made five or more Final Four appearances.
Earning Invitations: In addition to the six Big Ten teams participating in the NCAA Tournament, three more conference squads have earned invitations to the Postseason NIT. Iowa is making its first postseason appearance since 2006 and first under head coach Fran McCaffery. The Hawkeyes are in their sixth NIT and first since 2004. Minnesota earns its fourth postseason appearance in the last five years and is headed to the NIT for the first time since 2008 and the 12th time overall. The Gophers won the NIT in 1993. Northwestern advances to postseason play for a program-record fourth straight year. The Wildcats have participated in the NIT each year since 2009.
Offensively Minded: Big Ten teams combined to average 70.0 points per game during the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, which ranked third among top-10 RPI conference tournaments. Only the Big 12 and Atlantic-10 tournaments averaged more points per game among that group.
Conference Tournament Points per Game (top-10 RPI conferences)
Rank Conference PPG
1. Big 12 73.1
2. Atlantic-10 72.0
3. Big Ten 70.0
4. Conference USA 69.7
5. ACC 67.1
6. Mountain West 66.4
7. Missouri Valley 65.2
8. Pacific-12 63.9
9. SEC 63.1
10. Big East 62.2
B1G Numbers: Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Big Ten teams have combined to put up big scoring numbers in non-conference play. Big Ten teams averaged 73.0 points per game during non-conference play, which is just one possession off the national leader.
Non-Conference Points per Game (all conferences)
Rank Conference PPG
1. Big 12 75.0
2. Mountain West 73.7
3. Big East 73.4
4. Big South 73.3
5. Big Ten 73.0
6. SEC 72.3
7. ACC 71.7
8. Summit League 71.0
9. West Coast 70.8
10. WAC 70.8
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 .5764. The Big Ten leads all conferences with five teams in the top 25, led by No. 3 Michigan State, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 13 Michigan, No. 17 Indiana and No. 23 Wisconsin. With all its teams rated 161 or higher, the Big Ten is the only conference with all its teams among the RPI top 170. The Big Ten also leads all conferences with a Sagarin rating of 84.05, led by No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 9 Indiana. The Big Ten is the only conference with six top-30 teams, and with all its teams rated 137 or higher, is the only conference with all its teams among the Sagarin's top 150. For more information on Big Ten teams in the RPI and Sagarin ratings, see Page 8 of this release.
In the Polls: The Big Ten leads all conferences with five teams in the top 20 of the latest national polls, including a pair of top-10 teams. Michigan State leads the conference, ranked No. 4 by the coaches and No. 5 by the Associated Press (AP), while Ohio State is No. 7 in both sets of rankings. Michigan follows at No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the coaches' poll, while Wisconsin is ranked 14th by the AP and 13th by the coaches. Indiana comes in at No. 16 in the AP poll and No. 17 in the coaches' poll. This week marks the 10th time the conference has had more than one top-10 team in either poll and the 13th time in the last 14 weeks that the conference has had at least five ranked teams.
Twenty-Somethings: The Big Ten is the only conference in the country with five teams with 24 or more wins this season. Michigan State and Ohio State lead the Big Ten with 27 wins each, while Indiana has 25 wins, and Michigan and Wisconsin each have 24. In addition, Purdue has 21 wins, giving the Big Ten six or more 20-win teams for the sixth straight season.
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.
Sending out an SOS: Big Ten teams have combined to play the nation's toughest schedule this year, led by Michigan State, who ranks tops among all teams in strength of schedule. Ohio State ranks second in the conference and 10th in the nation, followed by four more teams among the top 30 in No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 Michigan, No. 21 Northwestern and No. 27 Indiana. No Big Ten team holds a strength of schedule rating outside the top 100.
American Boys: The Big Ten is the only conference in the country with two first-team All-Americans as named by Sporting News and the USBWA. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger picks up his second straight honor from both outlets, while Michigan State's Draymond Green is in line to be the Spartans' first consensus All-America pick since Mateen Cleaves in 1999.
'Cats' Shurna Leads the Pack: Finishing with an even 20.0 points per game, Northwestern’s John Shurna ended the conference season as the Big Ten’s leading scorer. Shurna becomes the first Wildcat to lead the Big Ten in scoring since Ray Ragelis was crowned the conference scoring champion in 1951. In all games, he enters postseason play with a 19.8 points per game average, which currently ranks as tops in the conference this season. Should he remain at the top spot, Shurna would become the first Northwestern player to lead the Big Ten in scoring for all games played.
Keeper of the Glass: Michigan State’s Draymond Green ended the regular season as the conference’s rebounding king, finishing the year with 10.6 boards per game during the Big Ten season. He becomes the second Spartan in four seasons to conclude the conference season as the Big Ten’s leading rebounder, following Goran Suton in 2009. Green’s average of 10.4 rebounds per contest in all games also ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten, and he would join Suton in 2009 as the latest Spartan to lead the Big Ten on the glass in overall competition.
Pass Master: The 2011-12 Big Ten assist champion in conference games, Penn State’s Tim Frazier, became the first Nittany Lion in program history to lead the conference in that category. Frazier ended the conference season at 5.6 assists per game, and his 6.2 helpers per contest among all games this season also ranks as the Big Ten’s best.
Dual Threat: Michigan State's Draymond Green became the 13th player in Big Ten history with 1,000 career rebounds earlier this year. Green became the first player since Illinois' James Augustine in 2006 to join the conference's 1,000 career rebounds club and enters the NCAA Tournament ranked seventh in conference history with 1,055 career boards. Green is also just the fifth player in Big Ten history with 1,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 100 career blocks, joining Augustine, Indiana's Alan Henderson, Ohio State's Herb Williams and Purdue's Joe Barry Carroll.
30 for 30: Big Ten players have put together several impressive scoring games throughout the season, led by conference scoring champion John Shurna of Northwestern, who led the Big Ten with three 30-point games this season. The senior has scored 30 or more points six times in his career and put up tallies of 37 (vs. LSU), 32 (vs. Eastern Illinois) and 30 (vs. Purdue) this season. Iowa's Matt Gatens recorded a pair of 30-point performances against ranked teams this year with 30 against Indiana and 33 against Ohio State, while Illinois' Brandon Paul, Michigan State's Draymond Green, Northwestern's Drew Crawford, Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas and Penn State's Tim Frazier all recorded one 30-point game during the regular season. Paul's performance went for 43 points, which is tied for fifth in the nation this year. In addition, Michigan's Trey Burke, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Wisconsin's Rob Wilson all put up 30 points during the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, marking the first time in tournament history that three 30-point performances occurred on one day.
On the Edge: Northwestern's John Shurna is nine points away from becoming the newest member of the Big Ten's 2,000 career points club. Already his program's all-time leading scorer, Shurna is looking to become the Wildcats' first member of the Big Ten's 2,000 points club and the conference's third addition in the last two years, as Penn State's Talor Battle and Purdue's E'Twaun Moore reached the milestone last season. Shurna would become the fifth player since 2000 to score 2,000 points playing in the Big Ten, joining Battle, Moore, Indiana's A.J. Guyton and Wisconsin's Alando Tucker.
Awards Season: Indiana's Cody Zeller, Michigan State's Draymond Green, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor were named to the Naismith Award Midseason 30 Watch List. Zeller, Green and Sullinger are among the 20 finalists for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy. Zeller, Green and Sullinger join Ohio State's William Buford as four of 25 finalists for the John Wooden Player of the Year Award, while Zeller is 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. 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.