Feb. 12, 2013
With three weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, five squads carry seven or more wins in conference play, while five teams boast 18 victories overall this season. The Big Ten claims nine squads in the top 50 of the Sagarin ratings and six teams in the top 35 of the latest NCAA RPI report. This week's games feature six matchups with at least one team receiving votes in the polls, while all eight of the contests will be nationally distributed, including three games on BTN and one showdown on ESPN2.
Where We Rank
Five Big Ten teams are receiving votes in the latest Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls, including two teams in the top 20 of each poll. In the AP vote, Penn State leads the way at No. 8, followed by Purdue at No. 18. The Lady Lions check in at No. 9 in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers are ranked No. 18. Nebraska is receiving votes in both rankings, while Michigan and Michigan State are receiving votes from the AP.
Leading the Way
Penn State tops the conference standings, boasting a 10-1 Big Ten record after six weeks of play. Nebraska follows with an 8-3 record, while Purdue is third at 7-3. Michigan and Illinois are tied for fourth at 7-4 and Michigan State follows in sixth with a 6-4 conference mark.
The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with all of its teams boasting 10 or more wins. Additionally, the Big Ten is one of three conferences in the country with five or more teams with 18 or more victories this season. Penn State has a 20-3 record, Michigan State and Purdue each have earned 18-5 overall marks, whileMichigan and Nebraska both sit at 18-6.
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 35, making it one of two conferences that can claim such a feat. Entering the week, two Big Ten squads appear among the top 15, with Penn State leading at No. 5, followed by No. 13 Purdue. Nebraska appears at No. 25, followed by No. 29 Michigan, No. 30 Michigan State, and No. 33 Iowa. No. 54 Illinois, No. 71 Minnesota, No. 72 Ohio State, and No. 90 Wisconsin all appear in the rating's top 100.
The Big Ten is tied for most among all conferences with nine teams in the top 50 of the latest Sagarin ratings, released through Monday's games. Penn State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 9, followed by No. 21 Michigan State and No. 27 Nebraska in the top 30. Purdue is No. 31, Michigan is No. 34, Iowa is No. 35, Illinois is No. 36, Ohio State is No. 47 and Minnesota is No. 48.
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 an 18-game home winning streak, including a 12-0 mark this season. Michigan State is 10-2 on its home court, while Minnesota is 12-3 in its arena. Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State are all 11-3 on their home floors, while Iowa has earned a 10-4 mark at home.
To The Point
Through Sunday's games, the Big Ten boasts five players in the top 40 in the nation in points per game, the most of any conference. Minnesota's Rachel Banham is ninth in the nation at 21.4 points per outing, buoyed by three 30-point games in her last five outings. Ohio State's Tayler Hill is tied for 11th in the country at 21.1 points per game, while Penn State's Maggie Lucas is tied for 18th (19.7 points per game), Nebraska's Jordan Hooper ranks 26th (19.0) and Illinois' Karisma Penn is tied for 36th (18.6).
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 is second in the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 48.9 percent, while Michigan's Kate Thompson is 10th at 43.5 and Iowa's Melissa Dixon is 25th at 39.8. Thompson is second in 3-pointers per game at 3.79, followed by Lucas in 18th at 2.91. Penn State's Alex Bentley is fourth (3.65) in steals per game, while Iowa's Samantha Logic is 10th (6.8) in assists per game and Northwestern's Karly Roser is 15th (6.4). Illinois' Karisma Penn is tied for 19th in blocks per game at 2.43 and Ohio State's Ashley Adams is 23rd at 2.35. Iowa's Jaime Printy is fifth nationally in free-throw percentage (92.3 percent), followed by Minnesota's Rachel Banham in 10th (90.4) and Lucas in 13th (89.0).
Four for 1,500
Four Big Ten standouts reached the 1,500-career point milestone last week or are poised to do so in the coming games. Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore both went over the landmark last Thursday against Northwestern. Hooper notched 19 points, while Moore added 16 tallies against the Wildcats. Iowa's Morgan Johnson and Northwestern's Kendall Hackney are also approaching the 1,500-point milestone, needing 27 and 28 tallies, respectively, to hit the mark.
Purdue's Sam Ostarello needs five rebounds to reach the 800-board plateau for her career, while Ohio State's Ashley Adams needs 16 boards to hit the 500 mark. Penn State's Alex Bentley surpassed 300 career steals with four takeaways against Michigan State on Sunday, while Nebraska's Lindsey Moore needs just six swipes to reach 200 steals 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
Two Big Ten coaches are poised to reach milestone wins in the coming games. Illinois' Matt Bollant needs just four wins to hit the 300-victory mark for his career, while Iowa's Lisa Bluder's needs four triumphs to reach 250-wins at the helm of the Hawkeyes, where she would join Ohio State's Jim Foster as the only current Big Ten coaches to record 250 wins at their school.
Two Big Ten standouts have been named finalists for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS award. Iowa's Jaime Printy and Purdue's Drey Mingo are two of 10 finalists from around the country named to the list and the Big Ten is one of three conferences with multiple honorees. The winner will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in New Orleans.
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.