Dec. 17, 2012
Entering the holiday break, Big Ten teams are a combined 99-27, which equals a .786 winning percentage. Three Big Ten teams have 10 or more wins so far this season, which leads the nation, including Illinois and Michigan, which are two of the country's eight remaining undefeated squads. This week's schedule features all 12 schools, including a pair of matchups between top-15 teams on Saturday, as No. 7/7 Ohio State hosts No. 9/8 Kansas, and No. 10/10 Illinois takes on No. 12/12 Missouri on a neutral court.
Where We Rank:
The Big Ten continues to lead the nation with six ranked teams in the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls, including four top-10 squads for the second consecutive week. Michigan comes in at No. 2 in both polls, followed by No. 6/6 Indiana, No. 7/7 Ohio State and No. 10/10 Illinois. Minnesota is ranked No. 13 by the AP and No. 16 by the coaches, while Michigan State comes in at No. 19 in the coaches poll and is ranked No. 20 by the writers.
The Big Ten continues to be one of the nation's top scoring conferences, averaging 73.2 points per game this season. The Big Ten's average ranks third among all conferences, just tenths of a point behind the West Coast (73.6 ppg) and Big East (73.4 ppg). Indiana is the country's top-scoring team, averaging 88.8 points per contest, while Ohio State (80.1 ppg), Michigan (78.2 ppg), Illinois (76.9 ppg), Minnesota (76.0 ppg) and Iowa (75.5 ppg) all average more than 75 points per game and rank among the nation's top 60 in scoring average.
Rating the Conferences:
The Big Ten continues to lead the nation in the RPI ratings according to RPIratings.com. The Big Ten leads the nation with four teams among the RPI's top 20 (No. 2 Michigan, No. 5 Illinois, No. 11 Minnesota and No. 18 Indiana). In addition, only the Big Ten and the 16-team Atlantic-10 have nine or more top-80 teams, as the conference adds No. 33 Ohio State, No. 53 Michigan State, No. 54 Iowa, No. 64 Northwestern and No. 80 Nebraska. The Big Ten also leads the nation in the Sagarin ratings and is the only conference in the country with four teams among the system's top 10 and seven among its top 45. Michigan leads the conference at No. 5, followed by No. 6 Indiana, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 17 Illinois, No. 34 Michigan State and No. 43 Iowa.
Illinois at 12-0 and Michigan at 11-0 are two of the country's eight remaining undefeated teams. Illinois is the only 12-0 team in the country, while Michigan is one of just two squads entering this week with 11-0 marks. Illinois' start is tied for the sixth-best in program history and is the team's most season-opening wins since 2005-06, while Michigan is off to its best start since its 1988-89 national championship season. The Big Ten is one of just three conferences with multiple undefeated teams.
The Big Ten leads all conferences with three teams boasting 10 or more wins entering this week's games. Illinois is the only 12-0 squad in the nation, while Michigan is one of just two 11-0 teams. Minnesota is 11-1 and joins Illinois and Michigan as three of just 10 teams entering this week with double-digit win totals.
Margin for Error:
Big Ten teams continue to out-score their opponents by wide margins, led by Indiana, which ranks first in the country with an average margin of victory of 28.3 points. Ohio State is sixth (22.7), followed by No. 10 Michigan (20.6), No. 20 Minnesota (15.7), No. 23 Michigan State (15.4), No. 27 Wisconsin (14.8), No. 32 Illinois (14.3) and No. 46 Iowa (11.9). Overall, Big Ten teams are combining to average a margin of victory of 13.0 points per game.
Protecting the Rock:
Big Ten teams are some of the nation's best at taking care of the ball, combining to average just 12.6 turnovers per game. Wisconsin leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the country with 9.6 per game, followed by Michigan (10.2), Ohio State (10.8), Northwestern (11.5) and Nebraska (11.9). Wisconsin also leads the Big Ten and is eighth in the country with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.54, followed by Ohio State (1.48), Michigan (1.48) and Northwestern (1.47), who rank Nos. 9-11, respectively. The Buckeyes' Shannon Scott (5.00) and Aaron Craft (3.58) rank fifth and 13th in the country, respectively, while Indiana's Jordan Hulls (4.56) is ninth, and Michigan's Trey Burke (3.35) is 18th.
30 is the New 20:
Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble recorded the Big Ten's fourth 30-point game this season with 30 points in the Hawkeyes' win over UNI. The total set a Wells Fargo Arena record, is one off his career best and is tied for the third-highest total by an Iowa player under head coach Fran McCaffery. Marble's total is the fourth-highest in the Big Ten season behind Minnesota's Andre Hollins (41), Illinois' Brandon Paul (35) and Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas (31).
You'd Better Watch Out:
Ten Big Ten players landed on national awards watch lists prior to the start of the season. Illinois' Brandon Paul was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, while Indiana's Christian Watford and Cody Zeller grabbed spots on the Naismith Award Preseason Watch List and the Wooden Watch List. Michigan's Trey Burke also landed on both lists, while teammate Tim Hardaway earned a spot on the Wooden list. Michigan State's Keith Appling was named to the Wooden Watch List, while Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe grabbed a spot on the Naismith list. Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas and Penn State's Tim Frazier also appeared on both watch lists to start the season.
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.