Dec. 20, 2013
The Big Ten is off to a 4-0 start this week, with 12 more games on this weekend's schedule, including five matchups against teams from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC on Saturday. Illinois will take on Missouri in the annual Braggin' Rights Game in St. Louis, while Michigan will face Stanford at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Michigan State will travel to Texas and Ohio State will take on Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden. Purdue will play at West Virginia on Sunday. Stanford and Texas both posted road wins over nationally ranked foes on Wednesday, with the Cardinal outlasting No. 10/10 Connecticut and the Longhorns defeating No. 14/18 North Carolina.
Three in Top Five For Second Straight Week:
The Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls were released on Monday, and the Big Ten was well-represented with four teams among the top 25, and three positioned in the top five. In the AP poll, Ohio State was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 5 Michigan State and No. 25 Iowa, while Michigan received votes. In the coaches' ballot, Ohio State was tied with Syracuse at No. 2, followed by No. 5 Michigan State and No. 6 Wisconsin. Iowa and Michigan also received votes in the coaches' ballot.
Ohio State and Wisconsin both remain unbeaten on the season after the Buckeyes defeated Delaware, 76-64 on Wednesday to move to 11-0. Wisconsin upped its record to 12-0 with an 86-61 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 14, continuing the program's best start to a season during the modern era (since 1946). The Badgers did complete undefeated 15-0 seasons in 1911-12 and 1913-14.
Climbing the Buckeye and Big Ten Record Books:
Four days after becoming Ohio State's all-time assists leader, Ohio State's Aaron Craft swiped four steals against Delaware on Wednesday, moving into third place on the Big Ten's all-time steals list (276). Craft needs 25 steals to pass Michigan's Gary Grant (300 steals from 1985-88) for second all-time and 49 thefts to pass Illinois' Bruce Douglas (324 steals from 1983-86), the Big Ten's all-time steals leader.
Individual Milestones Eclipsed and Within Reach:
Minnesota's Austin Hollins and Penn State's D.J. Newbill both eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau last week, while Illinois' Jon Ekey and Iowa's Aaron White passed the 500-rebound plateau. Minnesota's Andre Hollins enters Friday's game against Nebraska-Omaha with 994 career points, just six tallies shy of becoming the seventh Big Ten player this season to join the 1,000-point club.
Nittany Lion Tandem Scoring at Impressive Clip:
Penn State guards D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier enter this weekend's slate of games as the Big Ten's top two scorers. Newbill is averaging a conference-best 19.0 points per game, while Frazier is scoring 18.4 points per contest. The last time a pair of teammates ended the season ranked as the top two scorers in the Big Ten was in 2007-08, when Indiana's Eric Gordon (20.9 ppg) and D.J. White (17.4 ppg) ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Pitinos to Collide in 2014-15 Season Opener:
It will be a family affair on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, when Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and the Golden Gophers take on the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals, coached by Rick Pitino, Richard's father. It was announced this week that Minnesota and Louisville will open the 2014-15 season in the Armed Forces Classic at the U.S. Coast Guard's Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico. It will mark the second-ever clash between the son and father as head coaches.
Leading the Way:
Through games of Dec. 18, the Big Ten has seen a variety of players pacing the conference in many of the major statistical categories. Penn State's D.J. Newbill leads the Big Ten in scoring (19.0 ppg), Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.6 rpg), Ohio State's Amir Williams is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.667), Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the conference in assists per game (7.6), Ohio State's Aaron Craft leads the Big Ten lead in steals per outing (2.5 spg), Michigan State's Keith Appling is pacing the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage (.500) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons is the Big Ten's leader in blocks per game (3.7).
Crashing the Boards:
Indiana's Noah Vonleh has posted a Big Ten-best seven double-digit rebounding efforts, and enters this weekend's slate of games as the conference leader in rebounding (9.6 rpg). If he maintains the Big Ten lead through the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign, Vonleh would become the first freshman to lead the Big Ten in rebounding since Ohio State's Greg Oden, who averaged 9.6 rebounds per contest in 2006-07.
Filling it Up:
Big Ten teams have posted 60 efforts of 80 or more points during non-conference play, and enter this weekend averaging 77.7 points per game. During non-conference action last season, Big Ten teams averaged more than 73 points per game, over five points higher than the NCAA average.
The most recent version of the NCAA statistics were released on Monday, and several Big Ten teams were well-represented across an array of categories. Indiana led the nation in rebound margin (14.7), while Michigan State led the nation in assists per game (20.0). Ohio State ranked second in three-point field goal defense (.223), while Wisconsin was third in the country in fewest turnovers per game (9.1). Ohio State also ranked third in scoring defense (54.6 ppg) and fifth in defensive field goal percentage (.366), while Iowa was fourth in scoring margin (23.0).
Leaders of the Pack:
The Big Ten now has 11 active members of the 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,576 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,325), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,283), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,278), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,256), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,178), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,097), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,082), Iowa's Aaron White (1,041), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,025) and Minnesota's Austin Hollins (1,003). Craft, Frazier, Hollins, Johnson, Rice and White all passed the 1,000-point plateau this season.