Feb. 19, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. -
With two weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, five squads boast a .667 winning percentage or better in conference play, while five teams have won 19 or more games overall this season. The Big Ten claims eight 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 eight 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. In the AP vote, Penn State leads the way at No. 7, followed by Purdue at No. 22 and Nebraska at No. 24. The Lady Lions check in at No. 9 in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers are ranked No. 21. Michigan and Michigan State are receiving votes from the AP, while Iowa and Nebraska are receiving votes from the coaches.
Leading the Way
Penn State tops the conference standings, boasting an 11-1 Big Ten record. The Lady Lions can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title with two victories this week. They can claim the outright crown with two wins and victories by Michigan or Iowa over Nebraska. Nebraska is second in the league standings with a 9-3 record, while Illinois, Michigan and Purdue are in a three-way tie for third at 8-4.
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 19 or more victories this season. Penn State has a 21-3 record, while Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue have all earned 19-6 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 35, the only conference 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. 14 Purdue. Nebraska appears at No. 22, followed by No. 27 Michigan, No. 29 Michigan State, and No. 33 Iowa. In total, 10 Big Ten teams appear in the rating’s top 100, including No. 57 Illinois, No. 72 Ohio State, No. 79 Minnesota and No. 93 Northwestern.
The Big Ten has eight teams in the top 50 of the latest Sagarin ratings, released through Monday’s games, which is tied for the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 9, followed by No. 20 Michigan State and No. 23 Nebraska in the top 25. Iowa comes in at No. 32, while Michigan is No. 34, Purdue is No. 35, Illinois is No. 37 and Ohio State is No. 48.
Several Big Ten teams are riding winning streaks as teams head toward the conference tournament. Nebraska has won seven straight games, while Penn State is riding a four-game winning streak overall, including a 12-game winning streak at home this season. Michigan is 3-0 in its last three games, while Illinois has won three-straight games on its home court.
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. Minnesota’s Rachel Banham is 10th in the nation at 21.3 points per outing, while Ohio State’s Tayler Hill is tied for 12th in the country at 21.1 points per game. Penn State’s Maggie Lucas is 19th (19.8 points per game), Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper ranks 30th (19.0) and Illinois’ Karisma Penn is 34th (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 third in the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 49.0 percent, while Michigan’s Kate Thompson is eighth at 44.0 and Iowa’s Melissa Dixon is 21st at 40.5. Thompson leads the nation in 3-pointers per game at 3.80, Lucas is 17th at 2.92 and Illinois’ Amber Moore is tied for 23rd at 2.74. Penn State’s Alex Bentley is third (3.67) in steals per game, while Iowa’s Samantha Logic is 11th (6.6) in assists per game and Northwestern’s Karly Roser is 16th (6.3). Wisconsin’s Cassie Rochel is 18th in blocks per game at 2.46, and Illinois’ Karisma Penn is 19th at 2.43. Iowa’s Jaime Printy is fourth nationally in free-throw percentage (92.0 percent), followed by Minnesota’s Rachel Banham in 10th (89.8) and Lucas in 12th (89.4). Iowa’s Morgan Johnson is shooting 53.5 percent from the field, good for 24th nationally.
Iowa’s Morgan Johnson surpassed the 1,500-point milestone for her career on Sunday, thanks to a 12-point performance against Purdue. Northwestern’s Kendall Hackney is eight tallies shy of the 1,500-point landmark. Johnson is the eighth active Big Ten player with 1,500 or more points, joining Illinois’ Karisma Penn, Iowa’s Jaime Printy, Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, Ohio State’s Tayler Hill, and Penn State’s Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas.
Purdue’s Sam Ostarello surpassed the 800-rebound plateau for her career after recording eight boards against Wisconsin on Thursday. Ohio State’s Ashley Adams needs seven rebounds to hit 500, teammate Tayler Hill is 16 boards shy of the milestone, Iowa’s Jaime Printy needs 18 rebounds to reach the mark and Indiana’s Sasha Chaplin is 25 boards away from 500. Nebraska’s Lindsey Moore needs just six 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
Two Big Ten coaches are poised to reach milestone wins in the coming games. Illinois’ Matt Bollant needs just three wins to hit the 300-victory mark for his career, while Iowa’s Lisa Bluder needs three 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.