Dec. 7, 2009
Full release in PDF format
FACES of the BIG TEN
BRETT FINKELMEIER, indiana junior guard
Finkelmeier is the senior member of the Indiana men's basketball program and is in his third season with the Hoosiers. A walk-on, he tried out for the team during the 2006-07 season and was asked to join the squad prior to the 2007-08 season. He played seven games as a freshman and 21 as a sophomore where he earned Academic All-Big Ten notice. He started twice and had career-highs with three steals and four rebounds against Northwestern State. A biochemistry major, he has a 3.7 grade point average and has been accepted into the IU School of Dentistry where he will attend beginning next summer.
BIG TEN. BIG NOTES.
ADVANTAGE, BIG TEN
The Big Ten notched its first Challenge win in the 11-year history of the event, winning six of the 11 contests last week. Penn State collected the first win of Challenge, defeating Virginia 69-66 for the 1-0 advantage. With the win, PSU became the first Big Ten team to win three straight Challenge games. Day two of the Challenge, the Big Ten got off to an early 3-0 lead before the ACC collected its first win. Northwestern rolled N.C. State, 65-53, to give the Big Ten a 2-0 lead. Purdue defeated Wake Forest 69-58 for the 3-0 advantage. Maryland fought off a pesky Indiana, 80-68, to give the ACC its first tally of the competition. In one of the two games in which both teams were ranked, then-No. 10/11 North Carolina edged then-No. 9 Michigan State 89-82 to make the series 3-2 in favor of the Big Ten. Iowa could not sustain its lead on Virginia Tech and fell to the Hokies 70-64 to knot the series at three, headed into the final night. In a come-from-behind win, Illinois edged then-No. 18/19 Clemson to give the Big Ten a 4-3 lead with four games to play. The Illini were down by 23 early in the second half, before storming back to stun the Tigers. Minnesota met Miami and lost a close game (63-58) to once again even the tally. Michigan's second-half efforts fell short, falling to Boston College, 62-58, in Ann Arbor to give the ACC its first lead of the Challenge, 5-4. With two games left and the then-No. 6/5 team in the country pitted against an unranked Wisconsin and two ranked teams battling in Columbus, the Big Ten pulled it out. The Badgers dominated from the opening tip and handed the Blue Devils their first Challenge loss in 11 years, winning 73-69. Tied at five apiece, Ohio State easily handled the Seminoles of Florida State, defeating them 77-64 to give the Big Ten its sixth victory and first Challenge win.
Fifth-ranked Purdue wraps up a season-long homestand on Wednesday against Valparaiso, looking to move to 8-0 and remain the lone undefeated team in the conference. The Boilermakers have won 12 of their last 13 games, dating back to last season. A win over Valpo would give Purdue eight-straight wins to open the season, extending the second-longest winning streak during Painter's tenure as head coach. A victory on Wednesday would also give Purdue its first 8-0 start since the 1993-94 campaign --a span of 15 seasons--when the Boilermakers opened the season with a string of 19 wins.
CENTURY CLUB's DÉJÀ VU
For the second time this season, two Big Ten teams have scored 100 or more points on the same day. Ohio State posted 111 points versus Eastern Michigan on Saturday, while Purdue scored 101 in a rout of Buffalo. On Nov. 28, the Buckeyes put up 110 vs. St. Francis (Pa.), while Michigan State tallied 106 against UMass that same day. Prior to the Nov. 28 outing, the last time two Big Ten teams scored 100 or more points on the same day was on Dec. 22, 1997.
Wisconsin's Bo Ryan is nearing his 200th victory at the helm of the Badger program. Ryan needs only one win to reach the plateau. Only two coaches have reached that milestone in UW history, Harold "Bud" Foster and Walter "Doc" Meanwell. Indiana's Tom Crean is one win shy of his 200th career victory. Crean is 199-125 in his 11-year career as a head coach. Minnesota's Tubby Smith is three triumphs away from earning his 50th at Minnesota. This is Smith's third season as the Golden Gophers' skipper.
AMONG THE NATION's BEST
Six different student-athletes rank among the nation's top 15 in the latest NCAA national stat report, with a trio of players hailing from Ohio State. Buckeye junior Evan Turner leads the nation in triple doubles with two on the year and also sits in a tie for eighth for rebounding with 11.4 boards per game. Teammate Dallas Lauderdale also rates eighth in rejections with 3.4 blocks per outing while sharpshooter Jon Diebler connected on 13 treys last week to rank third on the national list with 4.4 three-pointers over eight contests this season. Iowa's Matt Gatens also used his hot hand to land a spot among the nation's clutch free-throw shooters, checking in at No. 9 with a 95.8 success rate from the charity stripe. On the defensive end, Minnesota's Al Nolen averages 3.1 steals per game to tie for No. 11 in the category. Joining Turner on the triple doubles list is Manny Harris with one on the year. The Wolverine junior also leads the Big Ten with 21.1 points per contest
HALF A MILLION AND COUNTING
Big Ten venues have welcomed more than 500,000 fans through turnstiles in 49 home contests to date. The Big Ten is perennially the national leader in attendance, averaging 12,490 patrons per game last season to lead the country for the 33rd straight year. In 2008-09, 2,348,136 fans flocked to conference arenas to break the two-million mark in all games for the 17th straight season.
BIG TEN BASKETBALL HAS NEW SOUNDTRACK FOR 2009-10
The Big Ten men's basketball PSA, Give it Up, is set against the backdrop of Public Enemy's 1994 hit by the same name, also featuring the narration of Chuck D. The spot highlights the energy, excitement and derivation of the passing game, as well as high-flying action and unselfish play from Big Ten basketball student-athletes over the past several decades. The PSA will air nationally for the first time on Saturday, Dec. 12, during the Kentucky at Indiana game, broadcast on CBS Sports. The spot will also be shown later on the Big Ten Network and ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
The second men's basketball PSA, Magic Number, debuts later this month and features an exclusive remix of De La Soul's The Magic Number. The PSA ties together players and action from different generations through their link to "the magic number" three. The spot includes celebrations of buzzer-beating three-pointers and electrifying plays by Big Ten basketball players wearing the number three.