Nov. 16, 2009
FACES of the BIG TEN
mark wohlford, purdue senior guard
After participating in Purdue’s walk-on tryouts as a freshman in the fall of 2006, and not making the team, Mark Wohlford came out to the same tryout the following year with an even greater determination to earn a spot on the Boilermakers’ roster. Now in his senior season, Wohlford has done that and more, as head coach Matt Painter awarded the Columbus, Ind., native a scholarship in the summer of 2009. Wohlford was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar following the 2008-09 season, and the scrappy guard has his sights set on law school following his anticipated graduation with an economics degree in the spring of 2010.
BIG TEN. BIG NOTES.
TRIPLE CROWN: Ohio State’s Evan Turner recorded the conference’s first triple-double since Illinois’ Sergio McClain accomplished the feat in 2001. Turner had 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists against Alcorn State. The triple-double performance is only the second in Buckeye history. The only other triple-double was achieved by Dennis Hopson against Ohio University on Dec. 6, 1986. Not to be outdone, Michigan’s Manny Harris tallied 18 points, 13 rebounds and dished out 10 assists en route to a triple-double of his own. Harris’ feat is only the second in U-M history. The last Michigan player to have a triple-double was 22 years ago with Gary Grant (24 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) on March 14, 1987.
THE VOTES ARE IN: For the second week in a row, the Big Ten is well represented in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls with six teams among the top 25 in both. In the AP poll, the Big Ten holds the national lead with six teams among the top 25 and in the ESPN/USA Today poll, the conference is tied with the Big East with sixt teams represented. The ACC and Big East rank second with five teams. Michigan State leads the way for the Big Ten in both polls, ranking No. 2 in each. Purdue follows at No. 7 in both polls. Michigan and Ohio State are tied for 15th in the AP poll, while the Buckeyes hold the No. 15 spot in the coaches poll and the Wolverines are 16th. Rounding out the top 25 are Illinois (23/25) and Minnesota (18/24).
SEEING DOUBLE: Eight different student-athletes tallied nine double-doubles in the first week of action. In his first game of the 2009-10 season, Ohio State’s Evan Turner recorded a triple double and followed that up with a double-double two days later. Turner scored 14 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out 10 assists, in the opener and had 24 points and 17 rebounds vs. James Madison last Thursday. Michigan’s Manny Harris recorded a triple-double in the Wolverine’s season opener. Teammate DeShawn Sims posted 22 points and 10 rebounds for his first of the season and seventh of his career. Michigan State’s Draymond Green (11 points, 10 rebounds) recorded his first of the season and second of his career, while freshman teammate Derrick Nix had 11 points and 14 rebounds in his debut. Illinois’ Mike Davis collected the 10th of career with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Penn State’s Talor Battle added a fifth to his career total with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Indiana freshman Christian Watford made a sterling debut, posting 14 points and 11 caroms in the Hoosiers' win over Howard.
FANTASTIC FRESHMEN: Last season was the Year of the Sophomore. This season could be the Year of the Freshman. Six teams started at least one freshman last week. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern all counted one first-year player among the starting five, while Illinois and Indiana each had two newcomers on the floor. Of the freshmen starting, Indiana’s Christian Watford recorded a double-double in 24 minutes of play, starting at forward for the Hoosiers. Teammate Maurice Creek added 17 points in his 24 minutes on the floor. Illinois’ duo of Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson played 29 and 20 minutes, respectively. Both guards scored double-digit points, with Paul posting 22 and Richardson 14 in their debut. It was the first time since 2002 that multiple freshmen started for the Illini. The last time occurred when Deron Williams, Dee Brown and James Augustine all took the court together. Iowa guard Cully Payne scored 12 points in his debut. Michigan guard Darius Morris scored 11 points and dished out five assists in his 25 minutes of play. Garrick Sherman emerged as Michigan State’s man in the middle for the starting nod. With Northwestern’s Kevin Coble out with a foot injury, freshman Drew Crawford moved into the starting lineup.
BLOCK PARTY: The Badgers came out of the gates swatting on Sunday, blocking 11 shots by IPFW. Wisconsin’s frontcourt combined for six blocks, with Jon Leuer leading the way with four. Jason Bohannon added three on the night. Keaton Nankivil had two, while Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren each added a block.
WHO’S KEEPING SCORE: The Big Ten averaged 82.8 points per game in the opening week to rank third behind the ACC (85.3) and the Big 12 (83.3) in scoring average. Four teams scored 90 or more points during the opening week, with Ohio State recording 100. Michigan and Michigan State each posted 97 points, while Illinois scored 96. Indiana, Minnesota and Purdue each posted 83 or more points in their wins, while Northwestern and Wisconsin scored 77 and 75, respectively. Penn State tallied 70 points in their win over Penn. A breakdown of the top six scoring offenses by conference appears below.
THE GREAT DIVIDE: While the Big Ten averaged 82.8 points per contest last week, they held opponents to an average of 56.5 points allowed to lead the nation in scoring defense. The Big Ten is second in the nation in scoring margin, with a plus 26.7, behind only the ACC (+27.5). The Big 12 owns a margin of +23.9.
IT'S A MARATHON: ESPN will tip off its 24-hour hoops marathon beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 17, with 19 games from 20 conferences across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPN360.com. ESPN will air live college hoops for 24 consecutive hours. This year three Big Ten teams are part of the event. Michigan State will host Gonzaga on ESPN at 8 p.m. Illinois hosts Northern Illinois at 8 p.m. on ESPN360.com and Iowa entertains Duquesne at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. ESPN games are scheduled to tip off every two hours beginning at 12 a.m. ET with Cal State Fullerton at UCLA.