Jan. 29, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. -
Heading into the fifth week of Big Ten action, seven teams carry four or more wins in conference play, while five teams boast 16 or more wins overall this season. The Big Ten claims seven squads in the top 50 of the Sagarin ratings, while nine conference teams appear in the top 75 of the latest NCAA RPI report. This week's games feature 10 matchups with at least one team receiving votes in the polls, while eleven of the contests will be nationally distributed, including three games on BTN and one showdown on ESPN2.
Where We Rank
Six Big Ten teams are receiving votes in the latest Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls, including two teams in the top 15 of each poll. In the AP poll, Penn State leads the way at No. 7, followed by Purdue at No. 14 and Iowa at No. 24. The Lady Lions check in at No. 8 in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers are ranked No. 11 and the Hawkeyes round out the ranking at No. 25. Michigan and Nebraska are receiving votes in both rankings, while Michigan State is receiving votes from the AP.
Leading the Way
Penn State sits alone atop the Big Ten standings with an unblemished 7-0 conference record, while Purdue follows at 6-1. Iowa and Michigan are tied for third with matching 5-2 Big Ten marks, while Illinois, Michigan State and Nebraska each boast four victories in conference action.
The Big Ten is one of three conferences in the nation with five or more teams with 16 or more victories this season. Penn State leads the way with a 17-2 record, while Purdue follows at 17-3. Michigan and Michigan State share matching 16-4 marks, while Iowa is 16-5.
Reppin' in the RPI
According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday afternoon, nine Big Ten teams appear in the rating's top 75, making it one of three conferences that can claim such a feat. Entering the week, three Big Ten squads appear among the top 20, with Penn State leading at No. 7, followed by No. 10 Purdue and No. 16 Iowa. Michigan appears at No. 32, followed by No. 36 Michigan State, No. 38 Nebraska, No. 56 Minnesota, No. 70 Ohio State, and No. 73 Illinois.
The Big Ten has seven teams in the top 50 of the latest Sagarin ratings, tied for the most among all conferences, released through Monday's games. Penn State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 9, followed by No. 21 Michigan State, No. 23 Iowa and No. 27 Purdue in the top 30. Michigan is 32nd, Nebraska is 33rd, and Illinois rounds out the conference's top 50 teams at No. 45.
Success On The Road
Big Ten teams have proven to be just as successful on the road during the conference season, having split the 42 Big Ten contests through four weeks of play. Illinois has opened conference action with a 4-0 mark on the road, while Michigan and Penn State have each started the year 3-0 away from home. Purdue is 3-1 on the road, while Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska share matching 2-1 marks away from home.
To The Point
Through Sunday's games, the Big Ten boasts six standouts in the top 50 in the nation in points per game, the most of any conference. Ohio State's Tayler Hill is 12th in the nation at 21.0 points per outing, while Minnesota's Rachel Banham is 16th in the country at 20.3 points per game. Penn State's Maggie Lucas comes in at 18th (20.0 points per game), while Illinois' Karisma Penn is 33rd (18.6), Nebraska's Jordan Hooper is 42nd (18.2) and Indiana's Aulani Sinclair is 47th (17.8).
In addition to scoring leaders, numerous Big Ten standouts appear among the top of the NCAA statistical leaders, which were released on Monday. Penn State's Maggie Lucas continues to lead the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 50.0 percent, while Michigan's Kate Thompson is seventh at 44.8. Thompson is third in 3-pointers per game at 3.65, followed by Lucas in 10th with 3.05. Penn State's Alex Bentley is second (3.84) and Wisconsin's Tiera Stephen is 16th (3.30) in steals per game, while Iowa's Samantha Logic is sixth (7.1) in assists per game, Northwestern's Karly Roser is 15th (6.5) and Stephen is 25th (5.7). Illinois' Karisma Penn and Wisconsin's Cassie Rochel are among the top 25 in blocks per game, with Penn 16th at 2.56 and Rochel 21st at 2.37. Iowa's Jaime Printy is fifth nationally in free-throw percentage (93.1 percent), followed by Minnesota's Rachel Banham in 10th (90.5). Minnesota's Micaëlla Riché is shooting 55.9 percent from the field, good for 14th nationally, while Iowa's Morgan Johnson is 25th at 53.9 percent.
Join The Club
On Monday night, Minnesota's Rachel Banham eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career thanks to a 37-point outing against Illinois. Banham becomes the fourth Big Ten standout to hit the 1,000-point plateau in the past week, joining Michigan's Rachel Sheffer, Penn State's Nikki Greene and Purdue's Courtney Moses.
Last week, Penn State's Nikki Greene became just the third active player to accumulate 200 blocks in her career, while Ohio State's Ashley Adams is just four swats away from the landmark. Northwestern's Dannielle Diamant hit the 500-rebound mark in her career on Monday night, while Illinois' Karisma Penn needs four steals to reach the 200 plateau. A list of Big Ten student-athletes approaching career milestones can be found on Page 3 of this release.
Coaching to Landmarks
Nebraska's Connie Yori needs just one more win to reach the 400-victory mark in her career, where she would join Iowa's Lisa Bluder, Ohio State's Jim Foster and Northwestern's Joe McKeown as the only current conference coaches to achieve the milstone. Additionally, Bluder is four wins shy of 250 wins at the helm of the Hawkeye program.
Home Sweet Home
The Big Ten has six schools with 10 wins on their home courts this season, the most of any conference. Penn State leads the way with an unblemished 10-0 mark at home, Iowa and Ohio State share matching 10-2 records on their respective home courts and Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska claim 10-3 marks in their arenas. Additionally, Purdue is undefeated at 8-0 and Michigan is 9-2 when playing at home.
Watch Out For Wooden
Three Big Ten standouts have been named to the John Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 list. Ohio State's Tayler Hill and Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas were selected to the list, which is comprised of players that are considered frontrunners for selection to the ballot of college basketball's top award. Penn State is one of six schools to have multiple players named to the list.