Nov. 22, 2013
The Big Ten jumped out of the gate with a 21-0 record, and through Thursday's games, boasted a 46-5 mark (.901), the conference's best start since at least the 1999-2000 campaign. The Big Ten also started 34-4 (.895) in 2010-11 and 40-5 (.889) in 2008-09.
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.
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.
Filling it Up:
Through the first 51 games of the season, Big Ten teams are averaging 81.4 points per game, with 29 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.
Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List Released:
The Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List was released on Thursday, and nine Big Ten players received recognition. Indiana's Kevin 'Yogi' Ferrell and Noah Vonleh, Michigan's Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan State's Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, Ohio State's Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker were all named to the list, which recognized the top-50 players in the country. The Big Ten's nine representatives led all conferences.
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. Indiana will take on #18/18 Connecticut Friday night in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Weekend Milestones Within Reach:
Several Big Ten players enter this weekend's slate of games within reach of significant milestones. Purdue's Terone Johnson heads into Sunday's game against Siena with 985 career points, just 15 tallies shy of becoming the eighth member of the Big Ten's active 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford has 1,489 career points, just 11 short of 1,500, while Iowa's Melsahn Basabe is just four rebounds away (596) from becoming the Big Ten's first active player to reach at least 600 career rebounds.
Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky exploded for a school record and Big Ten-best 43 points in the Badgers' 103-85 win over North Dakota on Tuesday. Kaminsky, whose previous career high was 19 points, connected on 16-of-19 field goals, including a 6-of-6 effort from three-point range. He broke the school record of 42 points held by Ken Barnes (1965) and Michael Finley (1994).
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 1,489 career points, followed by Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,217), Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,194), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,179), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,117), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,049) and Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,014).
Roaming the Sidelines:
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 (679), followed by Michigan's John Beilein (676), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (443), Iowa's Fran McCaffery (309) and Nebraska's Tim Miles (301).
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.