Feb. 5, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. -
Past the halfway point of the Big Ten season, seven teams carry five or more wins in conference play, while three teams boast 18 victories overall this season. The Big Ten claims seven squads in the top 40 of the Sagarin ratings and six teams in the top 40 of the latest NCAA RPI report. This week’s games feature seven matchups with at least one team receiving votes in the polls, while all 11 of the contests will be nationally distributed, including six 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. 8, followed by Purdue at No. 13. The Lady Lions check in at No. 9 in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers are ranked No. 14. Iowa and Nebraska are receiving votes in both rankings, while Michigan and Michigan State are receiving votes from the AP.
Leading the Way
Penn State holds a one game lead in the conference standings, boasting an 8-1 Big Ten record after five weeks of play. Purdue follows at 7-2 and Illinois, Michigan State and Nebraska are in a three-way tie for third with matching 6-3 conference marks. Iowa and Michigan share fifth place with 5-4 Big Ten records.
The Big Ten is one of four conferences in the nation with three or more teams earning 18 or more victories this season. Penn State boasts an 18-3 record, while Michigan State and Purdue each have earned 18-4 overall marks.
Reppin’ in the RPI
According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday afternoon, six Big Ten teams appear in the rating’s top 40, making it one of three conferences that can claim such a feat. Entering the week, two Big Ten squads appear among the top 10, with Penn State leading at No. 7, followed by No. 9 Purdue. Nebraska appears at No. 26, followed by No. 31 Iowa, No. 35 Michigan State, and No. 39 Michigan. No. 57 Illinois, No. 63 Minnesota, No. 77 Ohio State, No. 89 Wisconsin and No. 90 Northwestern all appear in the top 100.
The Big Ten is tied for most among all conferences with seven teams in the top 40 of the latest Sagarin ratings, released through Monday’s games. Penn State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 10, followed by No. 23 Michigan State, No. 25 Purdue and No. 26 Nebraska in the top 30. Iowa is No. 32, Illinois is No. 36 and Michigan is No. 40. No. 53 Ohio State, No. 54 Minnesota, No. 85 Wisconsin and No. 87 Northwestern all appear in the top 100.
Home Sweet Home
The Big Ten is one of two conferences with seven schools with 10 or more wins on their home courts this season. Penn State is riding a 17-game home winning streak, including 11-0 this season. Michigan State is 10-2 on its home court and Minnesota and Nebraska are both 11-3 in their arenas. Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State have each earned 10-3 marks on their home court. Purdue is one win from its 10th home victory of the season.
To The Point
Through Sunday’s games, the Big Ten boasts five players in the top 35 in the nation in points per game, the most of any conference. Ohio State’s Tayler Hill is 10th in the nation at 21.2 points per outing, while Minnesota’s Rachel Banham is 13th in the country at 21.1 points per game. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas comes in at 17th (19.9 points per game), Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper ranks 26th (19.0) and Illinois’ Karisma Penn is tied for 33rd (18.5).
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 leads the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 50.8 percent, while Michigan’s Kate Thompson is sixth at 45.6 and Iowa’s Melissa Dixon is 18th at 41.9. Thompson is second in 3-pointers per game at 3.71, followed by Lucas who is tied for eighth with 3.10. Penn State’s Alex Bentley is fourth (3.80) and Wisconsin’s Tiera Stephen is 21st (3.14) in steals per game, while Iowa’s Samantha Logic is 10th (6.8) in assists per game and Northwestern’s Karly Roser is 15th (6.5). Illinois’ Karisma Penn and Ohio State’s Ashley Adams are among the top 25 in blocks per game, with Penn 18th at 2.48 and Adams tied for 22nd at 2.33. Iowa’s Jaime Printy is fourth nationally in free-throw percentage (92.9 percent), followed by Minnesota’s Rachel Banham in 10th (91.3) and Lucas in 12th (88.7). Iowa’s Morgan Johnson is shooting 53.1 percent from the field, good for 23rd nationally.
Six Big Ten standouts reached career-point milestones last week or are poised to do so in the coming games. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas and Alex Bentley surpassed 1,600 tallies for their careers against Purdue on Monday night. Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper is three points shy of the 1,500-mark, while teammate Lindsey Moore needs 11 tallies to reach the plateau. Northwestern’s Kendall Hackney and Iowa’s Morgan Johnson are also approaching the 1,500-point milestone, needing 38 and 59 points, respectively, to hit the mark.
Ohio State’s Ashley Adams became just the fourth active player to accumulate 200 blocks in her career on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a six-block performance against Indiana last week. Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper hit the 700-rebound plateau for her career with seven boards in the Huskers’ win over Minnesota on Sunday. Penn State’s Mia Nickson surpassed 600 career rebounds on Monday night, while Iowa’s Morgan Johnson and Purdue’s Sam Ostarello need five and 12 boards, respectively, to hit the 800-rebound mark. Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore needs just 10 steals to reach 200 swipes in her career. A list of Big Ten student-athletes approaching career milestones can be found on Page 3 of this release.
Coaching to Landmarks
Three Big Ten coaches reached milestones last week or are poised to do so in the coming games. Nebraska’s Connie Yori surpassed the 400-victory mark in her career last week, where she joins Iowa’s Lisa Bluder, Ohio State’s Jim Foster and Northwestern’s Joe McKeown as the only current conference coaches to achieve the milestone. Additionally, Bluder is four wins shy of 250 wins at the helm of the Hawkeye program and Illinois’ Matt Bollant needs just five wins to hit the 300-victory mark in his career.
Head of the Classroom
Three Big Ten student-athletes have been named Capital One First Team Academic All-District performers. Michigan’s Jenny Ryan and Northwestern’s Kendall Hackney appear on the District 5 first team for the second consecutive year, while Iowa’s Morgan Johnson was named to the District 6 first team.
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.