March 14, 2011
The Magnificent Seven:
The Big Ten tied a conference record with seven teams selected to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship with Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin all earning invitations. The Big Ten record was set in 1990 and tied in 2009, marking the second time in three years that seven Big Ten teams have gone dancing. The Big Ten is second among all conferences with seven teams in the bracket, trailing only the Big East (11 teams).
'Cats Earn NIT Bid:
Northwestern earned a bid to the 2011 NIT and will open postseason competition on Wednesday, hosting Milwaukee. The postseason appearance is Northwestern's third consecutive, marking the longest streak in team history. It also marks the first time since 1994 that the Wildcats will host NIT competition.
With seven NCAA Tournament selections and one NIT berth, the Big Ten has 72.7 percent of its teams playing in the two tournaments, a higher percentage than any other conference. The Big Ten has eight or more teams playing in the NCAA and NIT tournaments for the second time in three years. This year also marks the fourth time in the past decade that eight or more conference teams have enjoyed NCAA or NIT competition. Over the last 10 years, the Big Ten has had nine postseason teams twice (2006, 2009) and eight teams twice (2003, 2011).
Streaks and Stats:
Illinois is making its 29th NCAA appearance and second in the last three years. The Illini are in the bracket for the 10th time in the last 12 years. Head coach Bruce Weber has led Illinois to the tournament six times in his eight years at the helm.
Michigan earns its second NCAA bid in the last three years. The Wolverines have made the NCAA Championship in two of head coach John Beilein's four years with the program.
Michigan State is making its 14th consecutive and 25th overall NCAA appearance. The Spartans' streak is the longest active run in the Big Ten and the third-longest among all Division I programs. Tom Izzo has led Michigan State to tournament appearances in 14 of his 16 years as head coach.
Northwestern is making its third consecutive postseason appearance, setting a school record. The Wildcats also received NIT bids in 1983, 1994, 1999, 2009 and 2010. Bill Carmody is the only coach in Northwestern history to lead the program to multiple postseason appearances.
Ohio State reaches the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year and for the fifth time under head coach Thad Matta. Three of the Buckeyes' five tournament appearances under Matta have come via automatic qualification.
Penn State makes its first NCAA appearance since 2001 and its ninth overall. The Nittany Lions have gone to the NCAA Tournament three times as members of the Big Ten. This marks head coach Ed DeChellis' second NCAA appearance and his first with Penn State.
Purdue makes the NCAA field for the fifth consecutive year and the 24th time in program history. Matt Painter has made NCAA appearances in five of his six years as a head coach, including five of six years as head coach of the Boilermakers.
Wisconsin holds the second-longest active NCAA streak in the conference, making its 13th straight tournament appearance. The Badgers are appearing in their 17th tournament and have made the NCAA Championship in each of head coach Bo Ryan's 10 years on campus.
Big Ten teams have racked up impressive win totals in NCAA play. Conference squads have combined for nine wins in each of the last two tournaments, and in three of the last four, and have posted records of .500 or better in 12 of the last 13 events. The Big Ten record for wins in a single tournament was set in 1989 when Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota combined for 15 victories as the Illini and Wolverines both advanced to the Final Four.
Notes on No. 1:
Ohio State earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA bracket, becoming the Big Ten's first No. 1 overall seeded team since Illinois in 2005. The Buckeyes are a No. 1 seed for the second time in the last five years, the last of which came in 2007.
The Big Ten has a deep history of advancing teams to the Final Four. The Big Ten is one of only two conferences since 2000 to advance at least five different programs to the Final Four. Since 2000, the conference has sent nine total teams to the Final Four, ranking second among all conferences. Overall, the Big Ten has accumulated 41 Final Four appearances, which ties the ACC for the national lead. Big Ten teams have racked up 10 national titles, ranking third among all conferences.
All They Do is Win:
Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin are three of just seven teams that have won at least one game in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments. The four-game streaks are tied for fifth in Big Ten history. Illinois (2000-06) and Purdue (1994-00) hold the conference record with wins in seven straight tournaments, while Michigan is third (1985-90) with a streak of six straight years, and Indiana (1980-84) is fifth with wins in five consecutive tournaments.
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson were named first-team All-Americans by the USBWA on Monday, making the Big Ten the only conference with two first-team honorees. Sullinger is the Buckeyes' second straight first-team honoree, while Johnson is the Boilermakers' first first-team honoree in 17 years.
Buckeyes Double Up on Big Ten Titles:
Ohio State won the outright Big Ten title and the Big Ten Tournament, marking the third time that the Buckeyes have won both championships in the same season. Ohio State also won the regular-season and tournament titles in 2010 and 2007. Only four other teams have won the conference's regular-season and tournament titles in the same season -- Illinois in 2005, Michigan State in 1999 and 2000 and Wisconsin in 2008.
The Big Ten boasts some of the nation's highest-scoring duos with five pairs of teammates combining to average more than 30 points a game. Purdue's duo of JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore lead the Big Ten with a combined average of 38.7 points per game, while Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor are second (36.7 ppg). Also with more than 30 points per game are Penn State's Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks (33.4 ppg), Northwestern's John Shurna and Michael Thompson (32.4 ppg) and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and William Buford (31.6 ppg).
Penn State’s Talor Battle and Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore became the 24th and 25th players in Big Ten history to eclipse the 2,000-career-points plateau. Battle reached the milestone on Feb. 13, while Moore surpassed the marker one week later, on Feb. 20. Battle and Moore became the first Big Ten players to reach the milestone since Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker in 2007 and are just the eighth duo in conference history to rack up 2,000 career points during the same four-year span. The last pair to accomplish the feat was Michigan State’s Shawn Respert and Wisconsin’s Michael Finley from 1992-95. Battle and Moore enter postseason play with respective career points totals of 2,190 and 2,107. Battle and Moore rank second and fourth, respectively, in scoring average this season.
Michigan’s Darius Morris, Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser all recorded triple-doubles during the Big Ten season, marking the first time in history that three official triple-doubles have been recorded during a single conference slate. Gasser became the first freshman in conference history to record an official triple-double, recording 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on Jan. 23. His triple-double also marked the first in Wisconsin program history. Morris racked up 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on Jan. 30, marking the third triple-double in program history and the first since Manny Harris last season. Green tallied 15 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists on Feb. 10, becoming the third Spartan in program history to accomplish the feat and the first since Charlie Bell in 2000. Prior to this season, a triple-double had not been recorded in Big Ten play since Illinois’ Sergio McClain did it in 2001. Gasser’s accomplishment also marked the first in a Big Ten road game since Northwestern’s Evan Eschmeyer in 1999.
Every Big Ten team concluded the regular season with at least 10 wins, marking the second consecutive season that every conference squad racked up double-digit victories. This year marks just the second time in the last decade that every Big Ten team is guaranteed to finish with at least 10 overall wins. This year also marked the second consecutive season and fourth time in the last decade that every conference squad finished with three or more Big Ten wins.
Big Ten underclassmen are represented well among the Big Ten's stat leaders, as a freshman or sophomore appears in the top two of several major categories. Ohio State freshman Aaron Craft leads the conference in steals, averaging 1.94 per game. Craft is the first newcomer to lead the Big Ten in the category since 1991. Fellow Buckeye freshman Jared Sullinger is second in rebounding, averaging 10.1 boards per game. Michigan sophomore Darius Morris paces the conference in assists, dishing out 6.67 helpers per contest.
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson and Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor were named among the 20 finalists for the Wooden Award on Monday, giving the Big Ten more finalists for the honor than any other conference. Purdue and Wisconsin are two of three teams with multiple players on the list, marking the latest in a long list of accolades given to conference student-athletes this year. Sullinger and Johnson are two of the 10 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Award, and Sullinger, Moore, Johnson, Leuer and Illinois' Demetri McCamey are among the midseason candidates for the Naismith Award. Wisconsin's Taylor is one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, and Sullinger is one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award. Moore, Leuer and Ohio State's David Lighty are also finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
Racking Up Awards:
Ohio State freshman Jared Sullinger took home 12 Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors this year the first season the conference awarded a newcomer on a weekly basis. Sullinger also took home four Big Ten Player of the Week honors, setting a conference record for most weekly awards won by a Big Ten freshman.
The 2010-11 regular season has seen several individual performances that rank among the best in conference history. Ohio State's Jared Sullinger scored 40 points against IUPUI on Dec. 9, marking the first time since 1995 that a Big Ten player scored 40 or more points in a game. It was also the first time since 1944 that the feat had been accomplished by a freshman. Purdue's E'Twaun Moore scored 38 in the Boilermakers' win over Ohio State on Feb. 21, marking the highest-scoring performance in a Big Ten conference game since 2006, when Michigan's Daniel Horton put down 39. On March 3, Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor scored 39 on the road against Indiana, marking the highest-scoring performance in a Big Ten road game since 1996.