Nov. 21, 2011
Tip-Off: Through two weeks of competition, Big Ten teams are a combined 39-5, accounting for an .886 winning percentage. Eight conference squads remain undefeated, as Indiana and Northwestern are both 4-0, and Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin each have 3-0 records.
Home and Away: Big Ten teams are a perfect 31-0 at home this season and are 2-0 in true road contests. Each of the conference's five losses have come on neutral courts. Ohio State is riding a conference-leading 25-game home win streak, while Wisconsin has a home-court winning streak of 21 contests.
Join the Club: Illinois head coach Bruce Weber is in search of career victory No. 300, currently with a mark of 299-140 in his 14th season as a head coach. Weber will become the fifth active Big Ten coach with 300 or more career wins, joining Michigan's John Beilein, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Minnesota's Tubby Smith and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan. Ohio State's Thad Matta is on track to become the sixth active conference coach with 300 career wins, currently with 295 in his 12th year as a head coach.
Racking Up The Points: Big Ten teams have combined to score more than 90 points in a game on seven different occasions this season. Indiana leads the conference in scoring, averaging 90.5 points per game, and has scored more than 90 in a game three times this year with totals of 96 against Stony Brook and 94 vs. Evansville and Savannah State. Iowa has put up two 90-point games, dropping 96 on Chicago State and 95 on North Carolina A&T. The Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten with an average of 84.5 points per game. Purdue has also racked up two 90-point performances with 96 against Northern Illinois and 91 vs. Iona.
Tenacious D: Big Ten teams have held opponents to less than 40 points five times and to less than 50 points 16 times. Wisconsin leads the conference in scoring defense, giving up just 35.0 points per game. The Badgers held Kennesaw State to a conference-low 31 points, and limited Wofford to just 33. Wisconsin's lock-down defense has helped the Badgers to a scoring margin of +39.0, which leads the Big Ten. Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten with 45.0 points allowed per game, including holding Ferris State to 33 points.
20-Somethings: Entering this week, four Big Ten players own averages of 20 or more points per game, led by Northwestern's John Shurna, who is putting up 21.5 points per contest. Shurna is aided by his 37-point performance against LSU on Nov. 17, which marked his career high and the high for a Northwestern player under head coach Bill Carmody. Fellow Wildcat Drew Crawford is second in the Big Ten with 20.8 points per game, following back-to-back 28- and 27-point performances in Charleston over the weekend. Penn State's Tim Frazier and Purdue's Robbie Hummel are each averaging 20.0 points per game. Frazier recorded three 20-point performances last week, while Hummel accomplished the feat twice last week. Through 44 games, the Big Ten has seen 22 20-point performances, led by Frazier and Hummel who each have three. As a team, Purdue leads the Big Ten with five 20-point performances.
You'd Better Watch Out: Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan State's Draymond Green, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe, Northwestern's John Shurna, Ohio State's William Buford, Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger, Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor -- have been named to the Wooden and Naismith award preseason watch lists. The Big Ten ranks second among all conferences with nine players on the Wooden Award Watch List and is tied for second with nine players on the Naismith Award Watch List. Ohio State is one of just three teams in the nation with three or more players on the Wooden list and one of five teams with three or more on the Naismith list. The Big Ten is tied for the lead among all conferences with seven different schools represented on the Naismith list.
American Boys: Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor were named Preseason First-Team All-Americans by the Associated Press, making the Big Ten the only conference with two first-team honorees. Sullinger was a unanimous selection, and Taylor was the lone senior on the squad, named among four sophomores.
Stay CLASS-y: Five Big Ten players have been named candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, more players than any other conference in the country. Michigan's Zack Novak, Michigan State's Draymond Green, Ohio State's William Buford, Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor are among the 30 student-athletes nominated for the award that recognizes seniors that make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Stars on the Small Screen: This season, every Big Ten home game will be produced and distributed to a live national audience. The Big Ten Network, which is available in more than 80 million homes in the U.S. and Canada, will broadcast over 100 events on its linear channel or on www.BTN.com. More than 75 games will be broadcast by an ESPN platform - ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3, and CBS Sports will carry 15 games.
March is (Almost) On: The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis in 2012 for the fifth year of a five-year agreement that puts both the men's and women's events in the Circle City. Every game of the tournament will be broadcast to a national audience with contests appearing on BTN, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports. Every tournament game since the event's inception in 1998 has reached a live national television audience.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will return to Conseco Fieldhouse in 2014 and 2016 and will be played at the United Center in Chicago in 2013 and 2015.
All-session tickets for the 2012 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are on sale now. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.
The Challenge Continues: The 13th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge presented by DICK's Sporting Goods will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 29 and 30, with all games set to appear on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. The Big Ten has won the last two Challenges, each by scores of 6-5. This year's Challenge expands to 12 games, and in the event of a tie, the Commissioner's Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year.