Nov. 23, 2009
FACES of the BIG TEN
TRÉVON HUGHES, wisconsin senior guard
Trévon Hughes is a senior captain for the Badgers this season, but he learned how to lead long ago. After growing up surrounded by negative influences in his Queens, N.Y., neighborhood, Hughes' family wanted him to have a better chance, and enrolled him at St. John's NW Military Academy in Delafield, Wis. Complete with military uniform dress, formations, rank and marching, Hughes learned the meaning of discipline and leadership at St. John's. Four years after leading St. John's to its first-ever state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison, Hughes is now flourishing in his third year as the Badgers' starting point guard on that same floor.
BIG NOTES. BIG TEN.
1. THE POLLS
The Big Ten once again has six teams ranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Michigan State remains at the No. 2 spot for the third week in a row. Purdue moved up one spot to No. 6 in both polls. Michigan (15/15), Ohio State (17/18), Illinois (20/21) and Minnesota (22/16) are among the nation's top 25 teams. The Big Ten is tied with the Big East each with six teams in the ESPN/USA Today poll. The Big East leads all conferences with seven teams in the AP poll, followed by the Big Ten (six) and the ACC (four).
2. COACHING MILESTONES
With a 90-60 rout of Valparaiso on Sunday, Tom Izzo collected his 340th career win to tie his mentor, Jud Heathcote, for the most wins in Spartan history. Izzo owns a 340-137 all-time record in his 15 years at the helm. Indiana skipper and descendent of Izzo coaching tree, Tom Crean is two wins shy of his 200th career victory. Crean is 198-124 in his 11-year career as a head coach. Minnesota's Tubby Smith is five triumphs away from earning his 50th at Minnesota. This is Smith's third season as the Golden Gophers' skipper. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is nearing his 200th victory at the helm of the Badger program. Ryan needs only five wins to reach the plateau.
3. DOUBLE TROUBLE
Juniors Evan Turner (Ohio State) and Manny Harris (Michigan) are each averaging a double-double to start this season. Turner is scoring 21.8 points per game while pulling down 14.8 rebounds. Harris averages 21.5 points and 10.5 caroms per contest. The duo are second and third, respectively, in the conference in scoring. On the boards, Turner leads the Big Ten and Harris is third on the leaderboard.
4. NOT THE SEASON OF GIVING
The Big Ten has not been in a giving mood to date, as a conference, teams are allowing opponents only 59.8 points per game. That total is second-best in the nation behind only the ACC, which is allowing 58.0 points per contest. The Big 12 rounds out the top three, allowing its opponents 61.2 points per game.
5. WHERE'S YOUR DESTINATION?
Big Ten programs are earning frequent flier miles this week as eight teams hit the road for holiday tournaments. Purdue wraps up its trip to the Paradise Jam in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the finale tonight versus #9/10 Tennessee. Iowa travels to Kansas City for the CBE Classic and will meet #3/3 Texas, while Michigan State packs its bags for Atlantic City for the semifinals and finals of the Legends Classic. Wisconsin is trans-Pacific for the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Illinois heads to the desert for the Las Vegas Invitational. Michigan hopes to make it magical, as they head to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the Old Spice Classic. Minnesota jets to the Golden State for the `76 Classic in Anaheim. Northwestern will not earn miles this weekend, but will trek across town to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago for the Chicago Challenge.
FEAST WEEK: The Big Ten Conference has a lot to be thankful for as teams prepare to face some of the finest schools in the country when Classic Week continues. This week's menu features four matchups against nationally ranked foes, beginning Monday as Iowa and No. 6/6 Purdue clash with No. 3/3 Texas and No. 9/11 Tennessee, respectively. No. 22/16 Minnesota also faces a tough challenge in Tuesday's 76 Classic opener against No. 12/10 Butler while Northwestern prepares to go head-to-head with No. 23/-ranked Notre Dame on Friday. This week's schedule is also decorated with abundance of teams from rival conferences, including three challengers from the Big 12 and Big East as well as two foes each from the SEC and Pac-10.
THE"MAGIC" of `79: Thirty years after his legendary battle in the NCAA Tournament against Larry Bird redefined collegiate basketball, Earvin "Magic" Johnson was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition, his coach, Jud Heathcote was also inducted on Sunday, Nov. 22 in a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo.
THIRTY SOMETHING: Northwestern junior guard Michael "Juice" Thompson scored 31 points in NU's defeat of Tennessee Tech on Sunday. The 31 points are a career-high for Thompson and Big Ten best to date this season.