Dec. 30, 2013
Michigan State's Greg Kelser
Kelser, who earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1979, was the leading scorer and rebounder on Michigan State's 1979 NCAA Championship team. He was the first Spartan to score more than 2,000 points and collect at least 1,000 rebounds in his career. Kelser's 2,014 points rank fourth at Michigan State and his 1,092 rebounds are second all-time. In 1979, he earned All-America honors, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and was named to the Wooden Award All-America Team. He also collected Academic All-America honors in 1979. Kelser was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons and played six seasons in the NBA. He is the lead analyst for the Pistons on Fox Sports Detroit and also serves as a college basketball analyst on BTN. Kelser earned the Michigan State University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004 and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Let's Get it Started:
All 12 Big Ten teams will begin conference play this week, including four games on New Year's Eve Day (Dec. 31). Indiana is the defending Big Ten Champion, while Ohio State will look to defend its Big Ten Tournament title.
Wrapping up Non-Conference Play:
The Big Ten wrapped up the primary portion of its non-conference schedule with a 122-31 record, a winning percentage of .797. Eight of the 12 conference teams enter Big Ten play with at least 10 wins, and four Big Ten squads boast winning streaks of at least four games.
Three in Top Five For Fourth 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 of both polls. In the AP poll, Ohio State was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 5 Michigan State and No. 22 Iowa, while Illinois and Michigan received votes. In the coaches' ballot, Ohio State was ranked No. 3, followed by No. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 23 Iowa. Illinois and Michigan also received votes in the coaches' ballot. Ohio State collected one first-place vote in the coaches' poll.
Ohio State and Wisconsin both remain unbeaten at 13-0 on the season after the Buckeyes defeated Louisiana Monroe on Dec. 27, and the Badgers upended Prairie View A&M on Dec. 28. Ohio State has now opened a season with at least 10 straight wins on six occasions, and is 13-0 for the first time since 2010-11. Wisconsin is off to 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.
Spreading the Wealth:
Parity has reigned over Big Ten basketball since the 2000-01 season, as seven schools have earned at least a share of the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State leads all schools with five titles, followed by Illinois (4), Michigan State (4), Wisconsin (3), Indiana (2), Michigan (1) and Purdue (1).
Leading the Way:
Through games of Dec. 28, 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 (18.9 ppg), Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh paces the conference in rebounding (9.5 rpg), Iowa's Aaron White is the Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage (.678), Penn State's Tim Frazier leads the conference in assists per game (7.5), Ohio State's Aaron Craft leads the Big Ten in steals per outing (2.4 spg), Michigan State's Keith Appling is pacing the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage (.477) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons is the Big Ten's leader in blocks per game (3.8). Wisconsin's Ben Brust leads the conference in three-point field goals made (37), while Michigan State's Gary Harris paces the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.900).
Crashing the Boards:
Indiana's Noah Vonleh is tied for the Big Ten lead with seven double-digit rebounding efforts, and enters Big Ten play as the conference leader in rebounding (9.5 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 68 efforts of 80 or more points, and wrapped up the majority of non-conference play averaging 77.5 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 (14.0), while Michigan State led the country in assists per game (19.5). Ohio State is pacing the nation in three-point field goal defense (.243), while Wisconsin is first in fewest turnovers per game (8.5). Ohio State was third in scoring defense (54.0 ppg) and fourth in the nation in defensive field goal percentage (.364), while Iowa was fourth in scoring margin (23.2) and scoring offense (88.7 ppg).
Leaders of the Pack:
The Big Ten now has 12 active members of the 1,000-point club. Northwestern's Drew Crawford continues to lead the way with 1,615 career points, followed by Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble (1,333), Michigan State's Keith Appling (1,309), Indiana's Evan Gordon (1,285), Penn State's Tim Frazier (1,271), Illinois' Rayvonte Rice (1,220), Purdue's Terone Johnson (1,117), Ohio State's Aaron Craft (1,096), Iowa's Aaron White (1,049), Penn State's D.J. Newbill (1,043) and Minnesota's Andre Hollins (1,030) and Austin Hollins (1,026). Craft, Frazier, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Johnson, Rice and White all passed the 1,000-point plateau this season.
Izzo Captures Win #450:
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo won his 450th career game against New Orleans, becoming the third active Big Ten mentor to collect at least 450 career victories. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan has won 687 games, while Michigan's John Beilein boasts 681 career wins. Izzo is the all-time winningest coach at Michigan State. His 209 Big Ten wins rank sixth all-time in conference history, just one behind Indiana's Branch McCracken (1939-43; 1947-65) for fifth all-time and five victories behind Illinois' Lou Henson (1976-96) for fourth all-time.
Stay Glued to the Tube:
The 2013-14 season marks the seventh consecutive year that every Big Ten men's basketball conference regular season and tournament game will be broadcast nationally. The Big Ten's most recent media agreements will result in nearly 175 regular season and postseason games appearing on BTN, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Postseason Back in Indy:
The 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for the ninth time in event history. This season's tournament will tip off on Thursday, March 13, and the champion will be crowned on Sunday, March 16.
The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will also be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in 2016, and will be held at the United Center in Chicago in 2015.
All-session tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament are on sale now. For more information, visit bigten.org.