Nov. 18, 2013
Iowa's Andre Woolridge
Woolridge, who was the first player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring and assists in the same season, won the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1997. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press his senior season after averaging 20.2 points and six assists per game. After graduating from Iowa in 1997, the Omaha, Neb., native enjoyed an extensive career playing professional basketball overseas. He was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Michigan State Tops Polls:
Six days after defeating then-No. 1 Kentucky at the United Center in Chicago, Michigan State emerged as the nation's top-ranked team in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches top 25 polls. Since the 2004-05 season, five Big Ten teams (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State) have held the top spot in one of the two polls. Notably, three Big Ten teams have been ranked No. 1 in the past nine and a half months: Indiana occupied the top spot in either the AP or coaches' poll for 10 weeks last season, most recently on Feb. 25, 2013. Michigan was ranked No. 1 in the AP poll on Jan. 28, 2013, and Michigan State is now holding the top spot for the first time since Jan. 2, 2001.
The Big Ten jumped out of the gate with a 21-0 record, and enters the third full week of the season with a 35-4 mark. The start represents the conference's best mark since 2010-11, when Big Ten teams posted a 34-4 record through the first two weeks of season.
Filling it Up:
Through the first 39 games of the season, Big Ten teams are averaging 80.2 points per game, with 21 efforts of 80 or more points. During non-conference play last season, Big Ten teams averaged more than 73 points per game, over five points higher than the NCAA average.
Positioned in the Polls:
Along with Michigan State's ascent to the top of both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, the Big Ten had five other teams ranked among the top 25. In the AP poll, Ohio State was ranked No. 8, followed by No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan. Iowa and Indiana were ranked No. 26 and No. 27, respectively, as the top two vote getters outside of the top 25.
In the coaches' ballot, Ohio State checked in at No. 8, followed by No. 13 Michigan, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 22 Indiana and No. 25 Iowa.
Against Ranked Foes:
The Big Ten is 3-0 this season against teams ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches top 25 polls, with all three victories taking place last week. Michigan State defeated then-No. 1 Kentucky, Wisconsin pulled away from No. 11/10 Florida and Ohio State won at No. 17 Marquette.
Craft Continues Career Climb:
Ohio State's Aaron Craft continues to etch his name in the Big Ten career record books. In just three games this season, Craft has become a member of both the 250-steal and 1,000-point clubs. With 1,005 career points, 254 steals and 550 assists, Craft is just the third player in Big Ten history to eclipse 1,000 points, 250 steals and 500 assists, joining Illinois' Bruce Douglas (1983-86) and Michigan's Gary Grant (1985-88).
On Track for 1,000:
Purdue's Terone Johnson enters Wednesday's game against Eastern Illinois with 976 career points, just 24 tallies short of becoming the eighth active Big Ten player to have scored at least 1,000 points. Iowa's Aaron White (938 points) and Melsahn Basabe (919) have both passed the 900-point plateau early this season, and are also within reach of the milestone.
Leaders of the Pack:
The Big Ten has seven active members of the 1,000 career-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,471 career points, followed by Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,216), Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,194), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,154), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,102), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,049) and Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,005).
Milestone for Miles:
Second-year Nebraska head coach Tim Miles secured his 300th career win after the Cornhuskers defeated visiting Western Illinois. Five active Big Ten coaches have amassed 300 wins, led by three who have more than 400 career victories. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is the conference's active wins leader (677), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (675) and Michigan State's Tom Izzo (442). Iowa's Fran McCaffery (309) also collected his 300th coaching victory last season.
Wooden Award Preseason List Has Big Ten Ties:
Ten Big Ten men's basketball players representing six different schools were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. The Big Ten's representation led all conferences. The Big Ten's preseason honorees were as follows: Indiana's Noah Vonleh, Michigan's Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan State's Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, Minnesota's Andre Hollins, Ohio State's Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker.
During the 2012-13 season, the Big Ten led the nation in men's basketball attendance for the 37th consecutive year according to figures released by the NCAA. The Big Ten led all conferences with an average attendance of 13,114, which is over 2,400 more fans per game than the next-closest conference. During the regular season, the Big Ten welcomed 2,937,630 fans over 224 games, which set the conference's total attendance record for the second-straight season, and is the 21st straight year the conference eclipsed the two-million mark. In addition, the 2013 Big Ten Basketball Tournament set the total attendance record, as the conference welcomed 124,543 fans to the United Center in Chicago for the four-day event.
Stay Glued to the Tube:
The 2013-14 season marks the seventh consecutive year that every Big Ten men's basketball conference regular season and tournament game will be broadcast nationally. The Big Ten's most recent media agreements will result in nearly 175 regular season and postseason games appearing on BTN, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.