March 19, 2013
Seven Advance to NCAA Tournament
For officially the fourth time in Big Ten history, and third in the last five seasons, the Big Ten will send seven programs to the NCAA Tournament. It marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Big Ten has had six or more teams in the bracket and fifth consecutive with at least five or more teams earning berths in the field. Ohio State clinched the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament after winning its fourth Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin received at-large berths into the field, with the Hoosiers, Wolverines, Spartans, Buckeyes and Badgers each earning top-five seeds in the bracket.
Back at No. 1
Indiana is the top seed in the East Region, opening up play on Friday in Dayton, Ohio. It marks the third time in program history the Hoosiers have earned a top seed in the bracket, having previously been placed on the top line in 1987 and 1993. It marks the third straight year a Big Ten program has earned a No. 1 seed, following Ohio State in 2011 and Michigan State last season. Seven Big Ten programs have received No. 1 seeds in their history, with Michigan State’s five the most among conference teams. Ohio State has four top seeds, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue have each earned three No. 1 seeds, Michigan has been a one-seed twice and Minnesota has one.
Of the seven Big Ten programs to earn berths in the NCAA field, five were seeded fifth or higher when the bracket was announced, the most of any conference. Following Indiana as a No. 1 seed in the East Region, Ohio State and Wisconsin earned top-five seeds in the West Region, with the Buckeyes as the No. 2 seed and the Badgers as the No. 5 seed. Michigan State is the third-seeded team in the Midwest Region, while Michigan is seeded fourth in the South Region. Illinois is the No. 7 seed in the East Region and Minnesota is seeded 11th in the South Region, giving the Big Ten contingent an average seed of 4.7, the highest average of any conference in this year's field.
A Look at the History
Here is a look at the history of each Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois: Illinois' appearance is the 30th in school history and its first since 2011. The Illini have a 39-30 record in NCAA Tournament games as well as five Final Four appearances.
Indiana: Indiana will be playing in the tournament for the 37th time and is making back-to-back appearances. The Hoosiers are 62-31 in their previous trips and have made eight Final Four appearances and won five NCAA titles (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987).
Michigan: Michigan is making its 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and third consecutive. The Wolverines have a 36-18 record in the tournament. Michigan has also made four appearances in the Final Four, including the 1989 National Championship.
Michigan State: The Spartans are making their 27th NCAA appearance overall and 16th consecutive. Michigan State has a 54-25 mark in the NCAA Tournament and eight Final Four appearances, including the 1979 and 2000 national championships.
Minnesota: The Gophers earned their eighth NCAA Tournament berth in program history, and third in the last five seasons under head coach Tubby Smith.
Ohio State: Ohio State is making its 25th appearance in the in the NCAA Tournament and fifth consecutive. Overall, the Buckeyes have a 45-23 record in the tournament and 10 appearances in the Final Four, including a championship in 1960.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin will be playing in the tournament for the 19th time and making its 15th straight appearance. The Badgers are 25-17 in their previous trips and have made two Final Four appearances, including winning the 1941 title.
Big Ten coaches have recorded impressive resumes during their careers in the NCAA Tournament. The seven participating head coaches (Illinois’ John Groce, Indiana’s Tom Crean, Michigan’s John Beilein, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, Ohio State’s Thad Matta and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan) have combined for a 120-65 record in NCAA Tournament play for a .648 winning percentage. Each mentor boasts an above .500 record in the tournament and four have won more than 15 games in the tournament. Izzo ranks fifth all-time with 37 wins in NCAA action, while Smith owns 29 triumphs, which is tied for seventh all-time. Matta has 20 NCAA Tournament wins and Ryan has 16 victories.
Final Four Mettle
Four active Big Ten head coaches lead their respective squads into the NCAA Tournament with Final Four experience. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo is one of three active coaches, and eight all-time, to have appeared in at least six Final Fours, joining Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville’s Rick Pitino as the other active mentors with six or more berths. Ohio State’s Thad Matta has recorded two Final Four appearances with the Buckeyes, including last year’s squad that advanced to the national semifinals. Indiana’s Tom Crean guided Marquette to the Final Four in 2003, while Minnesota’s Tubby Smith guided the 1998 Kentucky Wildcats to the national championship.
Success in the NCAA Tournament
Since the inception of the Big Ten Tournament in 1998, the conference has sent 11 teams to the Final Four and has won more than 60 percent of its NCAA Tournament games. Posting a combined mark of 123-77, Big Ten teams have won better than 50 percent of its annual tournament games in 14 of the past 15 seasons. Since 2005, the Big Ten is one of just two conferences to have sent six or more teams to the Final Four. In the time frame, Michigan State has made three appearances (2005, 2009, 2010), Ohio State has appeared twice (2007, 2012) and Illinois (2005) has earned one Final Four berth
Iowa, Purdue Earn Postseason Berths
Iowa and Purdue will also make postseason appearances, with the Hawkeyes advancing to the NIT, while Purdue will participate in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). It marks the second consecutive season the Big Ten will have nine squads participating in postseason events. The Hawkeyes earned back-to-back postseason berths for the first time since the 2005 and 2006 seasons, while Purdue’s appearance in the CBI will be their seventh consecutive postseason berth.
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 saw a record nine matchups of top-10 foes during the conference season. Five of those matchups included Indiana, which went a perfect 5-0 in those matchups. Michigan 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, 10 conference squads have recorded wins over top-25 teams, including seven programs that have won four or more games against ranked foes. Indiana has seven victories over ranked foes, while Wisconsin carries six triumphs against the top 25. Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State hold five wins against ranked competition, while Illinois and Michigan have four victories. Northwestern and Purdue have each won twice against the top 25 and Penn State has one top-25 win.
Seven Big Ten teams are averaging better than 68 points per game heading into postseason play, including two teams among the nation’s top 30. Indiana ranks third in the country at 80.0 points per game, while Michigan is 27th at 75.2 points per contest. Other Big Ten teams averaging better than 68 points per game include Iowa (70.4), Ohio State (69.2), Illinois (69.1), Minnesota (68.4) and Michigan State (68.2).
We Are the (Stat) Champions
Following the conclusion of the regular season, 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.
Three Big Ten standouts were named to the USBWA All-America Team, it was announced on Monday afternoon, with two players earning first-team accolades. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Trey Burke were selected to the first team, while Hoosier Cody Zeller garnered second-team All-America honors. Indiana, who had two players earn All-America honors in the same season for the first time since 1976, is one of two programs with multiple honorees on this year’s team. Burke is the first Michigan USBWA All-American since Jalen Rose in 1994.