Dec. 18, 2006
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Big Ten Off to Best Start Since 1998
With all 11 conference schools at or above the .500 mark, the Big Ten is off to its best start since the 1998-99 season. This is the latest the conference has gone in the season having all 11 teams with a winning percentage of .500 or better since Dec. 27, 1998. At that time, Ohio State topped the standings at 9-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play, while Minnesota was at the bottom at 5-5 on the season and a day away from entering Big Ten play. Six weeks into this season, the conference boasts a combined 89-34 record, which amounts to a .724 winning percentage.
Big Ten Lone Major Conference Left Above .500
Entering the week of Dec. 18-24, the Big Ten is the only major conference (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, SEC) to boast all of its member schools at or above a .500 winning percentage. Ohio State owns the best winning percentage of .900 as the Buckeyes are 9-1 on the season. Wisconsin boasts the most wins of any Big Ten squad at 11-2. Penn State sits one game above the .500 mark at 7-6, while Northwestern is 6-6.
Ohio State Travels to Oklahoma for TV Game
This week's action is highlighted by No. 8 Ohio State traveling to No. 3 Oklahoma for a game that will appear on ESPN2. The Buckeyes will head to Norman for their Dec. 20 ballgame that is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. ET. Last year, Ohio State defeated the No. 16 Sooners in Columbus, 75-71.
Milestones Involving Big Ten Coaches
Several coaching milestones have been on the radar for conference schools during the month of December. This past week, Illinois' Theresa Grentz captured her 200th victory at the school with a convincing 74-47 win at home over IPFW. Michigan State's Joanne P. McCallie enters the week just one victory shy of 300 in her career, while Penn State's Rene Portland is two away from 600 in her Penn State career. Minnesota's Pam Borton captured her 100th win at the school on Nov. 30 and Michigan's Cheryl Burnett just completed her 100th game as the Wolverines' head coach with a 67-65 victory over Dartmouth on Dec. 16.
Five Conference Teams Recognized by AP
In the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll, released on Dec. 18, five Big Ten squads earned recognition including three inside the top 25. Ohio State is ranked No. 8 overall, followed by No. 13 Purdue and No. 20 Michigan State. Two teams are accumulating votes outside the top 25 in Indiana and Wisconsin.
Dishing it Out
In the latest NCAA rankings (Dec. 18), six conference teams rank in the nation's top 50 in assists per game. Trailing top-ranked Arizona State (21.3) is No. 5 Ohio State (20.0), No. 11 Michigan State (18.7), No. 25 Northwestern (17.3), No. 27 Wisconsin (17.1), No. 36 Iowa (16.4) and No. 39 Purdue (16.3).
Five Big Ten Teams Rated in Three NCAA Stats
In the latest NCAA rankings (Dec. 18), five Big Ten teams rank in the top 50 in both scoring defense, field-goal percentage and rebound margin. Wisconsin, which is tied for 10th at 11.0, leads all conference squads on the boards, while Ohio State ranked second with a .529 field goal percentage and Purdue is 13th overall in scoring defense, allowing 52.4 points per game. A complete breakdown of NCAA stats can be found on page five of the weekly release.
Seven Squads Ranked in Attendance Figures
In the weekly unofficial attendance figures compiled by the University of Wisconsin, seven Big Ten teams rank in the nation's top 30 for average attendance. Michigan State (6,462 fans per game), Purdue (6,136) and Penn State (5,617), rank Nos. 10-12, while Wisconsin (4,829) and Minnesota (4,820) and are 17th and 18th, respectively. Ohio State (3,580) is 26th and Iowa (3,509) follows in 28th.
Purdue in Tournament Action This Week
The Purdue Boilermakers will head West this week for tournament action in Las Vegas for their final prep before beginning conference play. Purdue is back in action Dec. 20 and 21 in the Duel in the Desert tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. The Boilermakers open with UT-San Antonio and will play either host UNLV or Boise State in the second game.
Five Big Ten Standouts Named to Naismith List
Five Big Ten standouts -- Iowa's Megan Skouby, Michigan State's Victoria Lucas-Perry, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport, Purdue's Katie Gearlds and Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson -- were among 50 of the country's top collegiate women's basketball players were named as preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless on Dec. 11. The preseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy, which is presented to the men's and women's players of the year, was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2006-07 season. In January, the Board of Selectors will narrow its preseason list to the Top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March.
Big Ten Tournament Tickets on Sale
All-Session tickets for the 2007 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox Live are currently on sale for $65 and are available at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (317) 239-5151. The 13th annual women's event will be back in Indianapolis, March 1, 2, 4 & 5, 2007, where it has been staged in 11 of the 12 previous years. Information on the event can be found by logging on to www.bigten.org.
Former Boilermaker Stars in Big Ten Campaign
Former Purdue All-American Katie Douglas is one of 11 selected student-athletes that will be the face of the Big Ten Conference this year as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary of Women's Championships. Douglas has been featured in a 30-second public service announcement "sharing her story" about overcoming family tragedy to become a Big Ten and NCAA Champion. To learn more about Douglas, as well as the conference's year-long campaign, log on to bigten.org.