Dec. 31, 2012
The Big Ten concluded the primary portion of its non-conference schedule with a 123-31 record, which equals a .799 winning percentage. Purdue will officially conclude the Big Ten's non-conference schedule on Jan. 19 with a game against West Virginia. Conference play in the Big Ten begins on Monday afternoon with an ESPN2 doubleheader.
Let's Get it Started:
All 12 Big Ten teams begin conference play this week in search of Big Ten titles and top seeds in the conference tournament. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State shared the conference championship last season, while the Spartans claimed the title at the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes have won at least a share of the last three conference titles and look to become the first team since Michigan State from 1998-2001 to win four in a row. The Spartans are looking for their first back-to-back titles since the 2009 and 2010 seasons, while the Wolverines are looking to win two straight championships for the first time since 1985 and 1986.
The Big Ten continues to be one of the nation's top scoring conferences, averaging 73.7 points per game. Indiana is the top-scoring team in the country, averaging 89.4 points per game, while Michigan (80.1), Ohio State (78.2), Illinois (76.9), Iowa (76.9) and Minnesota (75.9) all average more than 75 points per game, ranking among the best in the country.
At 13-0 Michigan is one of four remaining undefeated teams in the country, joining Arizona, Duke and Wyoming. The start is the second-best in program history, and the Wolverines enter this week as the only 13-0 team in the country.
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 eight teams among the RPI's top 64 in No. 2 Michigan, No. 10 Illinois, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 19 Indiana, No. 25 Michigan State, No. 44 Ohio State, No. 63 Nebraska and No. 64 Iowa. With all its teams ranked 188 or better, the Big Ten is the only conference with all its squads among the RPI's top 200. The Big Ten is also the top-ranked conference in the Sagarin ratings, joining the 15-team Big East as the only two conferences with eight top-60 teams. Michigan comes in at No. 4, followed by No. 6 Indiana, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 23 Michigan State, No. 27 Illinois, No. 40 Iowa and No. 58 Wisconsin.
With seven of its 12 teams already owning 10 or more wins, the Big Ten has the highest percentage of teams with double-digit victories (58.3 percent) among all conferences. Illinois and Michigan lead the Big Ten with 13 wins each, while Indiana and Minnesota each have 12 wins, Iowa and Michigan State have 11, and Ohio State has 10. Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin are each just one victory shy of reaching double digits on the season.
Margin for Error:
Big Ten teams continue to out-score their opponents by wide deficits with several teams among the nation's best in average scoring margin. Indiana leads the country with an average margin of 30.2 points per game, followed by Michigan (21.6), Ohio State (20.8), Wisconsin (16.9), Minnesota (16.4) and Iowa (15.8), who are all outscoring opponents by more than 15 points per game. Overall, Big Ten teams are averaging 73.7 points per game while holding opponents to 60.0 points per contest, accounting for an average margin of victory of nearly 14 points per game.
Several conference freshmen are making immediate impacts in their first years on campus, already ranking among the Big Ten's leaders in numerous statistical categories. Michigan's Nik Stauskas leads all conference freshmen in scoring and ranks 12th overall, averaging 13.8 points per game. Stauskas' teammate Glenn Robinson III leads all Big Ten freshmen in rebounding, ranking 17th overall with 5.9 per game, followed by Purdue's A.J. Hamons (19th, 5.8) and Michigan's Mitch McGary (20th, 5.6). Indiana's Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell ranks second in the Big Ten with 5.5 assists per game, followed by Iowa's Anthony Clemmons (3.8) and Mike Gesell (3.4) and Purdue's Ronnie Johnson (3.3).
You'd Better Watch Out:
Five Big Ten players -- Indiana's Jordan Hulls, Michigan's Trey Burke, Michigan State's Keith Appling, Minnesota's Andre Hollins and Ohio State's Aaron Craft -- were named to the 2013 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award watch list in December. In addition, 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 Burke also landed on both lists, while teammate Tim Hardaway earned a spot on the Wooden list. Michigan State's Appling was named to the Wooden Watch List, while Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe grabbed a spot on the Naismith list. Ohio State's 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.