Nov. 26, 2012
After three weeks of play, Big Ten teams have combined for a 57-11 record, which is good enough for an .838 winning percentage. Five conference squads remain undefeated. Illinois enters the week as the only 7-0 team in the country, while Indiana and Northwestern are both 6-0, Michigan is 5-0, and Ohio State is 4-0. This week's schedule features the 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Where We Rank:
The Big Ten leads all conferences with six teams ranked in the latest Associated Press (AP) poll and five teams among the USA Today Coaches top 25. Indiana remains the No. 1 team in both polls, followed by No. 3/3 Michigan and No. 4/4 Ohio State, giving the Big Ten three top-five teams, while no other conference has more than two top-10 programs. Michigan State follows, ranked No. 13 by the AP and No. 14 by the coaches. Illinois and Minnesota both make their top-25 debuts this week, as the Illini come in at No. 22 in both polls, and the Gophers are ranked No. 21 by the AP and receiving votes outside the coaches' top 25. Wisconsin is also receiving votes in both polls.
Leaders of the Pack:
Through the first three weeks of the season, Big Ten teams are a combined 57-11, which equals an .838 winning percentage - the highest of any conference in the nation. The Big Ten also leads all conferences with five undefeated undefeated entering the week. The Big Ten is also home to the only team in the country that enters the week with a 7-0 record (Illinois).
Clash of the Titans:
The 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge once again matches up two of the nation's top conferences. This year's event features 12 teams ranked or receiving votes in at least one national poll (7 Big Ten, 5 ACC) and seven undefeated teams (5 Big Ten, 2 ACC). The ACC won the first 10 Challenges, but the Big Ten has won the last three. In the event of a 6-6 tie, the Commissioners Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year's Challenge.
The Challenge Ahead:
The Big Ten enters the week looking for its fourth consecutive win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten won last year's event, 8-4, tying a Challenge record with eight victories. The Big Ten's eight wins were a conference record, and the conference's four road triumphs set a high for either side. The Big Ten's four-game margin of victory was the conference's largest ever, and the widest for either conference since 2007. With victories in last year's Challenge, Northwestern and Ohio State became the first Big Ten teams to win four straight Challenge games. Illinois and Purdue are both riding three-game Challenge win streaks.
Andre's Big Day:
Minnesota's Andre Hollins became the third Big Ten player in as many seasons to score 40 or more points in a game when he dropped 41 in a win over nationally ranked Memphis. Hollins' total marked just the fourth 40-point game in Minnesota history and the first since 1971. Hollins' performance also marked the highest point total by a Big Ten player in non-conference action since Wisconsin's Michael Finley scored 42 against Eastern Michigan in 1994. Recently, Illinois' Brandon Paul scored 43 against Ohio State last season, and the Buckeyes' Jared Sullinger dropped 40 against IUPUI during the 2010-11 campaign. Prior to Sullinger's performance, the Big Ten's last 40-point game had come courtesy of Michigan State's Shawn Respert in 1995.
Three Big Ten players were named tournament MVPs last week. Illinois' Brandon Paul earned MVP honors at the Maui Invitational, leading the Illini to the tournament title on the strength of 19.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists over three games. Indiana's Jordan Hulls was named MVP of the Progressive Legends Classic, averaging 15.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 4.5 steals in a pair of games. Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. was named the NIT Season Tip-Off MVP, averaging 19.5 points and 5.5 boards over two contests.
Now on Naismith:
Seven Big Ten players were named to the early season watch list for the Naismith Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. The full list of Big Ten representatives on the list are: Christian Watford and Cody Zeller, Indiana; Trey Burke, Michigan; Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota; Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State; Tim Frazier, Penn State.
Wooden is Watching:
The Big Ten led the nation with nine players named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State each have two players on the list, accounting for three of the eight teams nationally with multiple honorees. Big Ten players among the preseason top 50 are: Brandon Paul, Illinois; Christian Watford and Cody Zeller, Indiana; Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan; Keith Appling, Michigan State; Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State; Tim Frazier, Penn State.
They've Got CLASS:
Five Big Ten players were named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, a total that leads all conferences. Illinois' Brandon Paul, Indiana's Jordan Hulls, Northwestern's Drew Crawford, Penn State's Tim Frazier and Wisconsin's Jared Berggren are in the running for the honor that recognizes an NCAA Division I senior with notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition.
Stars on the Small Screen:
For the sixth consecutive season, every Big Ten home game will be produced and distributed to a live national audience. BTN, 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 BTN.com. More than 75 games will be aired by an ESPN platform -- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3, and CBS Sports will carry 15 games.
March is (Almost) On:
The 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Chicago's United Center for the first time since 2007 and the eighth time in the event's history, including the inaugural event in 1998. 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 its inception has reached a live national television audience.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will also be played at the United Center in 2015, and will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., in 2014 and 2016.
All-session tickets for the 2013 Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are on sale now. Visit bigten.org for more information.