Men's Basketball Release - Dec. 26
Dec. 26, 2005
Final Week of Non-Conference Play: The Big Ten, which enters the final full week of non-conference action, is on pace to post the best out-of-league record in over six years with a mark of 89-22 (.802). During the 1998-99 season, the Big Ten recorded a non-conference mark of 89-20 (.817) before heading into NCAA Tournament action that year.
Big Ten's Fast Starts: With Illinois (12-0) and Ohio State (8-0) remaining perfect in non-conference action, the Big Ten is one of only three leagues in the nation with two or more teams with undefeated records. The Big East leads the nation with three perfect squads (Connecticut (9-0), Pittsburgh (9-0) and Villanova (8-0)), while the ACC also has two teams (Duke (11-0) and Clemson (10-0)). The Fighting Illini have the most victories of any team in the nation with 12 and has tied their fifth-best start in school history. Ohio State improves to 8-0 for the first time since the 1990-91 season when the Buckeyes started 17-0. The 8-0 start is only the fourth in program history since the 1905-06 season. Two Big Ten programs have emerged with only one loss in Wisconsin (9-1) and Michigan (8-1). The Badgers are 9-1 for the first time under head coach Bo Ryan, as the last time UW opened this well was a 10-1 start during the 2000-01 season. The Wolverines are off to their best start since sprinting out to a 8-1 mark during the 2003-04 campaign.
Perfect Week: Last week, conference schools posted a perfect 13-0 mark in non-conference action, including fours wins on the road. Indiana notched two of those victories away from home, defeating Charlotte on Dec. 19, while also claiming a 73-55 triumph over Butler at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Dec. 23.
Ranked No. 1 in RPI: The Big Ten remains ranked No. 1 in the latest edition of the RPI Report with a .5925 rating. The Big East (.5756), ACC (.5740), Missouri Valley (.5687) and SEC (.5635) round out the top five. The Big Ten has four teams among the top 25 in the school rankings. Wisconsin is ranked No. 11 in the nation, while Illinois follows in 12th. Michigan State is rated No. 16 and Ohio State is 21st. The Big Ten also leads the nation in the Sagarin Ratings with a central mean of 83.07. For each Big Ten team's RPI and Sagarin ratings, go to page four of this release.
Double-Digit Scorers: Currently, five Big Ten standouts have reached double-figures in scoring in all games they have played in this season. The Michigan State duo of Maurice Ager and Paul Davis lead the Big Ten with 12 straight games, while Northwestern's Vedran Vukusic has put up 10 consecutive double-figure scoring contests and Indiana's Marco Killingsworth follows with nine. Minnesota's Vincent Grier (4 games) has also tallied double-figures in all games he has played in despite missing five contests due to a broken hand.
Illinois' Homecourt Record: With Illinois hosting Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday, the Fighting Illini will look to extend their homecourt winning streak to 28 games. Illinois' 27-game win streak currently ranks as the third-longest in the nation as Washington and Gonzaga are both tied at 30 games each. The Illini were the only league team to go undefeated at home last season and their last defeat in Assembly Hall occurred on Jan. 10, 2004 against Purdue. Illinois still trails the Big Ten record of 53 straight home triumphs set by Michigan State from 1998 to 2002 -- a winning streak that was ended by Wisconsin.
Homecourt Record Against Non-Conference Foes: Two Big Ten schools rank among the nation's top 10 in homecourt wins streaks verses non-conference opponents. Illinois' non-conference homecourt winning streak of 44 games ties with Oklahoma as the longest in the nation, while Wisconsin is tied for sixth in the nation at 26 games.
Double Rebounders: Ohio State and Michigan continue to play hard off the boards as both teams have two players ranked in the conference's top 10 in rebounding. The Buckeye duo of J.J. Sullinger (8.5 rpg) and Terence Dials (6.8 rpg) currently rank fourth and ninth, respectively, while Michigan's Graham Brown is ranked sixth with 7.8 rebounds per game and Courtney Sims is tied for seventh (7.3 rpg).
Big Ten's Grand Company: The Ohio State duo of Ron Lewis and J.J. Sullinger are looking to become the latest members of the league's 1,000 career point club. Both Lewis (973) and Sullinger (973) are just under 30 points from joining Illinois' James Augustine (1,105), Michigan State's Maurice Ager (1,158) and Wisconsin's Alando Tucker (1,073) who all claimed their 1,000th career point earlier this season. Eight seniors entered the 2005-06 season with more than 1,000 career points in Illinois' Dee Brown (1,520), Indiana's Marco Killingsworth (1,226), Iowa's Greg Brunner (1,226) and Jeff Horner (1,203), Michigan's Daniel Horton (1,166), Michigan State's Paul Davis (1,392) Northwestern's Vedran Vukusic (1,265) and Ohio State's Terence Dials (1,178).
Top Career Rebounders: Iowa's Jeff Horner (473), Ohio State's J.J. Sullinger (466) and Michigan's Graham Brown (462) are nearing the 500-career rebound plateau. Five Big Ten seniors entered the 2005-06 season with more than 500 rebounds in Illinois' James Augustine (835), Iowa's Greg Brunner (806), Michigan State's Paul Davis (730), Ohio State's Terence Dials (673) and Indiana's Marco Killingsworth (595).
Big Ten Tourney in Indy: After a one-year hiatus, the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis to crown the 2006 tournament champion at Conseco Fieldhouse from March 9-12. All-session and single-session tickets are now on sale to the general public. Tickets for the men's tournament, which includes 10 games over four days, are available at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (317) 239-5151 (in central Indiana). The cost for men's tournament all-session tickets will be either $125 or $225 depending on seat location, while the single-session tickets range from $25 to $75 based on seat location and session. Orders will be limited to 12 all-session tickets or 12 single-session tickets for each session.