Men's Basketball Weekly Release - March 20
March 20, 2006
NIT Second Round Bound: Michigan and Minnesota both advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament last week. The Wolverines, who earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament, defeated UTEP in the first round and will next face Notre Dame on Monday. The Golden Gophers downed Wake Forest and will hit the road to take on Cincinnati on Tuesday. Michigan is 16-5 all-time in the NIT, claiming the 1984 and 2004 championship titles. The Wolverines are also a perfect 11-0 when playing at home in the tournament. Minnesota holds an 18-9 all-time NIT record. The Gophers won the 1993 title, while also reaching the NIT semifinals in 2003.
Nine Teams in Postseason: Nine of the 11 Big Ten schools earned postseason berths this season, with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin taking part in the 2006 NCAA Championship and Michigan, Minnesota and Penn State competing for the NIT title. The conference officially sent nine programs to the postseason for the first time in league history, although the Big Ten did advance nine teams to postseason play in both 2001 and 1993 before appearances were later vacated by Ohio State and Michigan, respectively. The league's six representatives in the NCAA Championship were officially the most since the 2001 event, when Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin competed for the national title. The Big Ten sent an official league record of seven teams to the NCAA Championship in 1990.
Horner Named Tourney's Most Outstanding Player: Iowa's Jeff Horner was named the 2006 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging 18.7 points and 6.0 assists during the three victories, including a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists in the championship game. Horner is the second Hawkeye standout to collect Most Outstanding Player accolades, joining Reggie Evans, who was honored in 2001. Horner was joined by teammate Greg Brunner on the All-Tournament team, while Michigan State's Maurice Ager and Ohio State's Jamar Butler and J.J. Sullinger also earned All-Tournament laurels.
Buckeyes Win Outright Big Ten Title: Ohio State won the Big Ten title for the first time since the 2001-02 season with a 12-4 record in league action. The Buckeyes captured the title outright with a win over Purdue on the last day of the regular season on March 5, the school's first outright title since 1992. OSU has now won 18 titles for the third-highest total in league annals behind Purdue (21) and Indiana (20).
Early Success For Matta: In his second season in Columbus, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta became the fourth active coach to win a Big Ten title in his first two seasons in the league. Illinois' Bruce Weber claimed outright crowns in both 2004 and 2005, his first two years in Champaign. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan also topped the conference in each of his first two years (2002-03) while Indiana's Mike Davis earned a Big Ten title in his second season in 2002.
Dials Named Player of the Year: Ohio State's Terence Dials collected the conference's highest honor as he was chosen as the Big Ten Player of the Year in voting by both the coaches and the media. He is the first Buckeye to earn Player of the Year accolades since Scoonie Penn was tabbed the media's choice in 1999 and the fourth standout in school history. Two-time All-American Jim Jackson won back to-back honors for OSU in 1991 and 1992 while Dennis Hopson was the first Buckeye to garner the award in 1987. The 6-9 forward/center ranked third in field goal percentage (.599) and blocked shots (1.00 bpg) in league contests only while rating among the top 10 in rebounding (5th at 8.4 rpg) and scoring (8th at 16.3 ppg).
Big Ten Career Leaders: Several Big Ten seniors closed out their careers on the league's all-time records list. Illinois' Dee Brown finished fifth on the league's all-time assists list with 674. In addition, Brown ranked fifth on the career three-point field goals made (299) chart and sixth on the all-time steals (230) list. Iowa senior Jeff Horner also ranked among the league's top 10 in career assists with 612 dishes for seventh place, while listed eighth on the all-time three-pointers chart (262).
Augustine's 1,000-plus Rebounds: With 15 rebounds against Michigan State at the Big Ten Tournament, Illinois' James Augustine became the 11th player in Big Ten history to top 1,000 career rebounds. In his four years at Illinois, he tallied 1,023 rebounds, while also adding 1,383 points. The last Big Ten standout to record more than 1,000 all-time boards was Indiana's Alan Henderson, who concluded his four-year career in 1995 with 1,091 rebounds to rank fifth on the conference's career list. Ohio State's Jerry Lucas (1959-62) is the Big Ten's rebounding leader with 1,411 boards.
Horton Claims Big Ten Record: Michigan senior Daniel Horton established a Big Ten record this season, while also closing in on another league mark. Horton finished out the conference season shooting 97.8 percent (89-of-91) from the free throw line in Big Ten games, eclipsing the old mark of 93.5 percent (58-of-62) held by former Hoosier and current Iowa head coach Steve Alford set in 1985. Horton could also set a new free throw record for all games as he is shooting 93.1 percent (122-of-131), which is currently ahead of Alford's mark of 92.1 percent (116-of-126) set during the 1984-85 season.