Feb. 26, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. -
With one week remaining in the Big Ten regular season, six squads boast eight wins or more in conference play, while four teams have reached the 20-wins mark this season. The Big Ten claims eight squads in the top 50 of the Sagarin Ratings and seven teams in the top 55 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 12 of the contests will be nationally distributed, including a BTN quadrupleheader on Sunday, the last day of the regular season.
Where We Rank
Four 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 Nebraska at No. 20 and Purdue at No. 25. The Lady Lions check in at No. 7 in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers are ranked No. 22 and the Huskers come in at No. 25 in the coaches rankings. Michigan State is receiving votes from the AP.
With its win over Michigan on Sunday afternoon, Penn State clinched at least a share of the Big Ten Championship for the second consecutive season and seventh time overall. With a win at Minnesota on Thursday night or a victory over Nebraska on Sunday evening, the Lady Lions can secure the outright crown. Nebraska can clinch a share of the Big Ten Championship if the Gophers defeat Penn State on Thursday and the Huskers beat the Lady Lions on Sunday.
The Big Ten is the only conference in the nation with all of its teams boasting 11 or more wins, including four teams with 20 or more victories this season. Penn State has a 23-3 record, Nebraska is 21-6 and Michigan State and Purdue share matching 20-7 marks.
Reppin' in the RPI
According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday afternoon, seven Big Ten teams appear in the rating's top 55, one of four conferences that can claim the feat. Entering the week, three Big Ten squads appear among the top 20, with Penn State leading at No. 5, followed by No. 15 Nebraska and No. 16 Purdue. Michigan State appears at No. 29, followed by No. 30 Michigan, No. 35 Iowa and No. 55 Illinois.
The Big Ten has eight teams in the top 50 of the latest Sagarin Ratings, released through Monday's games, tied for most among all conferences. Penn State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 7, followed by No. 14 Nebraska and No. 23 Michigan State in the top 25. Iowa comes in at No. 35, Purdue is No. 36, Illinois is No. 37, Michigan is No. 38 and Ohio State is No. 46.
Watch Out For Two
Two Big Ten standouts have been named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Midseason Watch List, it was announced by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Tuesday. Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas are among players named to the award's watch list, given to the nation's most outstanding player. Penn State is one of five schools with multiple players on the list.
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. Ohio State's Tayler Hill and Minnesota's Rachel Banham are tied for 11th in the country at 21.2 points per game. Penn State's Maggie Lucas is 17th (19.9 points per game), Illinois' Karisma Penn is 28th (19.1) and Nebraska's Jordan Hooper is 37th (18.5).
In addition to scoring leaders, numerous Big Ten standouts appear among 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 47.8 percent, while Michigan's Kate Thompson is 12th at 42.3 and Iowa's Melissa Dixon is 21st at 40.1. Thompson leads the nation in 3-pointers per game at 3.74 and Lucas is 17th at 2.92. Penn State's Alex Bentley is third (3.73) in steals per game, while Iowa's Samantha Logic is 14th (6.5) in assists per game and Northwestern's Karly Roser is 15th (6.5). Wisconsin's Cassie Rochel is 15th in blocks per game at 2.58. Iowa's Jaime Printy is fourth nationally in free-throw percentage (92.0 percent), followed by Minnesota's Rachel Banham in 11th (89.7) and Lucas in 12th (89.4). Iowa's Morgan Johnson is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, good for 25th nationally.
Several Big Ten student-athletes are poised to reach career milestones in the coming games. Illinois' Adrienne GodBold is 28 points shy of the 1,000-point mark for her career, while teammate Karisma Penn needs 20 rebounds for 1,000 career boards. Ohio State's Tayler Hill needs five boards to hit the 500 mark, while Iowa's Jamie Printy and Indiana's Sasha Chaplin are 14 and 17 rebounds, respectively, shy of the mark. Printy is also approaching 400 assists in her career, needing six helpers to hit the plateau. Nebraska's Lindsey Moore needs just four 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 two wins to hit the 300 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.
The 2013 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will be held in the Chicagoland area for the first time from March 7-10 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The tournament features all 12 Big Ten teams competing in 11 games over four days for the 2013 tournament crown and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The bracket for the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, along with information on tickets, travel, lodging, tournament history and more can be found at bigten.org.