Dec. 15, 2008
The Votes are In: For the second week in a row, the Big Ten leads all conferences with 73 percent of its teams represented in this week's Associated Press top-25 poll (AP). Three teams--Purdue (13), Ohio State (17) and Michigan State (19) are ranked among the top-25 while five other teams--Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin--are all receiving votes. The ACC follows with 58 percent of its membership represented in the AP poll. The ACC has four teams ranked and and additional three receiving votes. The Big East rounds out the top three with 56 percent of its squads in the polls. Eight Big East teams are ranked and one is receiving votes.
Big Ten Tops Latest RPI: The Big Ten owns a .6042 rating in the second edition of the RPI Report to lead all conferences. The ACC is second (.6041) followed by the Big East (.5850). The Big 12 (.5681) and Pac-10 (.5517) round out the top five. Five Big Ten teams rank among the first 25 in the latest report. Ohio State leads the way, ranked 7th, while Northwestern is 11th. Illinois (18), Michigan (21) and Wisconsin (23) are also among the top 25.
Buckeyes Still Streaking: Ohio State is on an 11-game win streak after five-consecutive victories to end the 2007-08 season and victories in the first six games this year. Ohio State won the 2008 National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Untouchables: The Big Ten remains one of only three conferences to have at least two teams yet to suffer a loss. The ACC (Clemson, North Carolina, Wake Forest) and Big East (Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse) each have three undefeated teams, while the Big Ten has two, ranking second in the nation. Minnesota has reeled off nine straight wins to open the 2008-09 campaign. Ohio State has rolled to a 6-0 record this season. Minnesota has its first 9-0 start since beginning the 1976-77 season 11-0. It is also the best start for a Tubby Smith coached team in his career. The Buckeyes opened the 2006-07 campaign with a 6-0 start en route to an appearance in the NCAA National Championship game.
Big Ten. Big Stage. The Big Ten is 82-19 on the season for a .812 win percentage, ranking third in the nation. All 19 of the losses to date have come at the hands of teams that advanced to the postseason a year ago.
More on the Opposition: The Big Ten leads the country with a 67-5 (.931) record against conferences other than the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10 and SEC. The ACC is second with a .918 win percentage and a record of 67-6, and the Big 12 is third at 69-9 (.885).
Home Dominance: Big Ten squads have jumped out to a 59-3 mark (.952) in home games this season, as eight teams are undefeated and three squads have one loss on their home courts. Minnesota leads the way with a 8-0 mark, while Iowa (7-0), Michigan (6-0), Northwestern (5-0), Wisconsin (5-0), Indiana (4-0), Ohio State (4-0) and Michigan State (3-0) are also unbeaten on their own floors. Last season, the Big Ten boasted a record of 136-52 (.723) at home.
Hello, My Name Is: Several Big Ten freshmen are stepping into the spotlight early during the non-conference season. A total of 16 newcomers have made at least one start this year, while Indiana's Tom Pritchard (10) Iowa's Matt Gatens (11), Michigan's Stu Douglass (9), Minnesota's Colton Iverson (9) and Northwestern's John Shurna (7) and Kyle Rowley (7) have started all games for their respective teams.
The Assists Have It: In the win over Alcorn State on Saturday, Michigan State set a school record with 35 assists on 44 field goals which ties for seventh all-time in conference annals. The Spartans are ranked ninth in the nation in assists per game, dishing out 19.0 per contest. Illinois has recorded assists on 71.1 percent of its baskets this season, ranking sixth in the nation in assist rate. Illinois leads the Big Ten in assists, averaging 19.7 apg.
A Game of Ratios: Michigan State's Kalin Lucas leads the nation with a 6.63 assist-to-turnover ratio. The sophomore point guard is averaging 6.6 assists per game while only turning the ball over an average of 1.0 per contest.
Half a Million and Counting: Big Ten venues have welcomed over 500,000 fans through the turnstiles in 62 home contests to date. The Big Ten is perennially the national attendance leader, averaging 12,898 fans per game last season to lead the country for the 32nd straight year. In 2007-08, 2,437,673 fans flocked to conference arenas to break the two-million mark in all games for the 16th straight season.
Not in Our House: After hosting and defeating Alcorn State on Saturday, Michigan State has now won 24 straight games at the Breslin Center, marking the nation's sixth-longest home win streak. The steak dates back to the 2006-07 season. BYU owns the longest active streak with 53 straight home wins.
Among the Nation's Best: The second edition of the NCAA national statistical rankings have several Big Ten standouts appearing among the top 10 in the country. Michigan State's Kalin Lucas rates first in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.63). Ohio State's Dallas Lauderdale is third nationally in blocked shots (4.7) and teammate Evan Turner is eighth in steals, averaging 3.2 takeaways per game. In the team rankings, Ohio State is rated fourth in blocked shots, swatting 8.0 per game, while Minnesota is sixth, averaging 7.6 per contest. Illinois is sixth in the nation in assists per game, dishing out 19.7 per contest.
Iowa is off to its best start (9-2) since the 2004-2005 season.
At 6-1, Northwestern is off to its best start since opening the 2001-02 season 7-1.
The Big Ten is averaging 7.5 wins per team to rank first in the country.
Minnesota and Michigan State Dec. 31 Tip Changed: The Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Network announced on Wednesday that the tip-time for University of Minnesota men's basketball game versus Michigan State on Wednesday, Dec. 31 has been changed from 5 p.m. CT to 11 a.m. CT. The change was made in order to avoid a conflict with Minnesota's Insight Bowl football game at 4:30 p.m. CT, when the Gophers take on Kansas. The doors to Williams Arena will open at 10 a.m.
Big Ten Network to Air 16 New Basketball Classics on `Greatest Games': Where can fans watch Big Ten legends such as Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Glenn Robinson, Deron Williams and Keith Smart square off against basketball greats like Larry Bird, James Worthy, Tayshaun Prince, Jacque Vaughn and Chris Paul? Only on the Big Ten Network this winter on the popular series, The Big Ten's Greatest Games. In all, 16 new classics will debut during the course of the basketball season. The `Greatest Games' schedule features five Big Ten national championships, including Indiana's title games in 1981 and 1987, Michigan's championship game in 1989 and Michigan State's titles in 1979 and 2000. Additional games from the NCAA Elite Eight and Sweet 16 will air throughout the winter, as will memorable regular-season classics.
2009 Big Ten Tournament Media Hotel Information: Media representatives who plan to cover the 2009 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament are advised that reservations are now being accepted at the Crowne Plaza at a rate of $169 for single or double room. Reservations can be made on-line by accessing: www.indy.org/mens09 or by calling 800-556-4639. You will need a private access code to reserve rooms either on-line or over the phone--contact the Big Ten Communications office for that code. Reservation deadline is February 27, 2009, and rooms are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis until the room block is exhausted.
Big Ten Tournament Tickets On Sale: All-session tickets for the 2009 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament went on sale to the general public on Saturday, Dec. 6, at all 11 Big Ten university ticket offices, Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (317) 239-5151. The 12th annual event will be held March 12-15, 2009, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. All-session tickets, which include 10 games over four days, will be available for either $275 or $175 depending on seat location. Orders will be limited to 12 all-session tickets. Fans wishing to purchase all-session tickets within their university's fan block are encouraged to contact their school's ticket office.
Big Ten Tournament Returns to Indy: After finishing the first of a five-year agreement in which Indianapolis, Ind. will host the Big Ten Tournament, the annual event will return to Conseco Fieldhouse in 2009. In 11 years, the Big Ten has welcomed 1,049,050 fans to the tournament and has issued over 6,000 media credentials. Wisconsin won its second Big Ten Tournament crown in 2008 and is one of five programs to take home the trophy in the tournament's history. Illinois (2003, 2005), Iowa (2001, 2006), Michigan State (1999, 2000), Ohio State (2007) and the Badgers (2004, 2008) are the five Big Ten schools who have won the title.