Big Ten Regular Season Championship Decided This Week

Feb. 21, 2005

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Big Ten Regular Season Championship Decided This Week
Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State will all vie for the 2005 Big Ten regular season championship this week.  The Spartans, coming off a win over Ohio State on Sunday, will host Michigan in the final game of the regular season on Wednesday.  Should the Spartans win, Michigan State will clinch at least a share of the 2005 Conference title.  It would be the second ever for the Spartans and the first for MSU since 1997.  Should Ohio State defeat Purdue and Penn State this week, it would mark the ninth Big Ten title and the first since 1993 for OSU.  Should Penn State defeat Ohio State Sunday, the Lady Lions would capture their third-consecutive League championship and their sixth overall.

The two scenarios for an outright League champion are as follows:  Should Michigan State fall at home to Michigan on Wednesday, and Ohio State defeat Purdue on Thursday, the winner of the Penn State at Ohio State game on Sunday would be declared Big Ten champion.  Should Michigan State win on Wednesday and Ohio State fall at Purdue, but rebound to defeat Penn State in Columbus on Sunday, Michigan State would be the lone League champion for 2005.  All three teams could share the League crown pending certain results in the schedule.

FSN to Broadcast Penn State/Ohio State as Wildcard
The Big Ten Conference and FSN Chicago have announced the selection of the Penn State at Ohio State matchup as its February 27th "Wildcard" game.  The game, which could potentially decide a share of or the outright Big Ten Championship, will air tape-delay at 9 p.m. CT on FSN Chicago and at 10 pm. ET on FSN Ohio.  The final regular season game will also be replayed at noon on February 28 on FSN Chicago, Detroit and North.

Big Ten Lands Four Teams in AP Top 25 Poll
In last week's national polls (AP / USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll), the Big Ten had four teams represented in the Associated Press poll, while three squads were ranked by the Coaches.  Ohio State was No. 2/3 - its highest ranking in school history.  Michigan State was No. 9/9 and Minnesota was No. 14/14.  Penn State was ranked No. 24 by the AP and was joined by Purdue in receiving votes in the Coaches poll.

Four League Squads Rank Among Nation's Top 25 RPI
In the latest WBCA/Summerville RPI Ratings, the Big Ten ranks third in Conference RPI average (.575) and fifth in overall RPI (.582), while four League teams rank among the nation's top 25.  Michigan State holds an overall RPI rating of .653, which is fifth best in the nation, followed by No. 6 Ohio State (.647).  Minnesota (.625) is 15th, while Penn State (.611) ranks 21st.  In overall strength of schedule, Northwestern is 10th at .618, Michigan (.610) is 13th, Indiana (.606) is 17th and Purdue (.601) is 19th. 

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Seven League Teams Rank in Top 25 in Attendance
In the latest unofficial attendance rankings compiled by the University of Wisconsin, seven Big Ten teams average in the nation's top 25.  Minnesota is fifth with an average of 8,799, while Penn State (8,655) is sixth and Purdue (8,456) is seventh.  Wisconsin (6,100) ranks 14th, followed by No. 15 Michigan State (5,913), No. 23 Ohio State (4,369) and No. 25 Iowa (4,083).

Big Ten Women's Basketball Attracting More Fans in 04-05
Big Ten Women's Basketball is attracting more fans nationwide than last year.  Currently, the League boasts an all-game total of 850,945 fans through 204 games, which is over 64,000 better than last season's 204-game total.  The Conference is also chasing its record-breaking marks for home attendance, which were set last year.

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Last Weekend a Fan Frenzy for Big Ten Women's Hoops
This past Sunday marked one of the most memorable weekends for Big Ten Women's Basketball fans.  Of the League games played Sunday, all four were contested in front of more than 10,000 fans for a combined average of 13,367 patrons per game.  A total of 15,177 fans were on hand for Penn State's Senior Day, while 14,203 Minnesota patrons sent Janel McCarville off in style on the Gophers' Senior Day.  Michigan State played host to Ohio State in front of a school-record 14,066, while Indiana shattered its home attendance record by 2,000 with 10,022 in attendance against Purdue.

Big Ten Tops Among Leagues With Two 23-Win Teams
With Ohio State at 25-3 and Michigan State at 24-3, the Big Ten is the only Conference in the nation to boast a pair of teams with 23 wins or more.  The Big Ten is also one of two Leagues to boast three or more teams with 20+ wins.  Ohio State is one of only two teams in the nation to have already reached the 25-win plateau.

Big Ten Ranks Among NCAA Leaders
In the latest NCAA report (2/15/05), issued each week on Tuesdays, seven student-athletes and six teams rank in the top 15 in their respective categories.  Ohio State's Caity Matter is fourth overall with a .471 three-point field goal percentage, while Michigan State's Lindsay Bowen ranks seventh at .460.  The Spartans' Kristin Haynie is 12th with 3.4 steals per game, while Ohio State's Jessica Davenport ranks 14th with 2.9 blocks per game.  Teammate Brandie Hoskins is 10th in field goal percentage at .599, followed by Davenport in 11th at .595 and Iowa's Jamie Cavey in 14th at .577.  Ohio State is first in field goal percentage (.517), while Penn State ranks second in free throw percentage at .788.  Michigan State ranks fifth in rebounding margin at 9.6. 

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League Scoring Title Narrowing to Two Player Race?
Two Big Ten student-athletes have begun to pull away in their chase for the League's scoring title.  Currently, Ohio State sophomore Jessica Davenport leads the Conference with 21.2 points per game, while Illinois senior Angelina Williams follows closely behind with 19.6.  The last Buckeye to lead the League in scoring was Katie Smith with 21.2 ppg during the 1994-95 season.  The following year, Ashley Berggren netted 27.5 ppg for Illinois, marking the last time an Illini player has led the Conference in scoring.

Top Three League Teams Protecting the Home Court
League-leaders Penn State and Michigan State, as well as Ohio State which is currently second, have been protecting the home court this season.  Currently, the three teams have combined for a 40-0 record at home, including an 22-0 combined mark in Big Ten play.  Ohio State (16-0), Michigan State (12-0) and Penn State (12-0) are all undefeated at home.

Davenport Ties Big Ten Single Game Blocks Record
 This past Sunday in East Lansing, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport posted her first career triple-double after registering 19 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocked shots against the Spartans.  Her 12 blocks tie the Big Ten record for single-game swats, as the mark was set on three different occasions during the 1988-89 season by Wisconsin's Janetta Johnson.

OSU's Davenport Named WBCA Player of the Month
Ohio State sophomore Jessica Davenport has been named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) National Player of the Month for January.  Davenport is the first Big Ten student-athlete to earn the award, which was started during the 2003-04 season.  In the month of January, Davenport averaged 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and shot .579 (77-133) from the field in 10 games.  The 6-4 center earned the honor over 26 other nominees, including Wade Trophy National Player of the Year candidates Monique Curry (Duke), Sandora Irvin (TCU) and Kendra Wecker (Kansas State).

UW's Anderson Posting "Mazzante/Whalen" Numbers
Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson currently ranks among Big Ten greats Kelly Mazzante of Penn State and Lindsay Whalen of Minnesota.  In the past five years, the Big Ten has not had a freshman average over 17.0 points in all games since the 2000-01 season when Mazzante and Whalen began their collegiate careers.  But this year, the Badger freshman is fourth in the League at 17.6 points per game  Currently there are four freshmen ranked in the top 30 in scoring this season, which is a first since the 2000-01 campaign.  The League had three in 2001-02 and just two in each of the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.

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MSU's Haynie Joins Rare Big Ten Club
With seven assists at Wisconsin on February 13, Michigan State's Kristin Haynie became the fourth player in Big Ten history to amass career totals of 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals. Haynie now has career totals of 1,064 points, 531 rebounds, 511 assists and 309 steals. She joins Ohio State's Yvette Angel (1981-85), Purdue's Katie Douglas (1997-2001) and Wisconsin's Tamara Moore (1999-2002).