• Seven Big Ten schools are currently riding winning streaks of four games or more, led by No. 15/14 Maryland (eight games), Rutgers (seven games) and No. 23/21 Michigan (six games). For Rutgers, it’s the Scarlet Knights’ longest winning streak since a 12-game string that began with their six-game run to the 2014 WNIT title and continued with the first six games of the 2014-15 season, their first as a Big Ten member.
• The Big Ten ranks No. 3 in Tuesday’s Collegiate Basketball News conference RPI index (found at RPIratings.com). What’s more, nine Big Ten schools are among the top 70 in the team RPI rankings. Rutgers leads the group at No. 7, followed by No. 9 Ohio State, No. 22 Iowa and No. 31 Maryland. Michigan is next at No. 38, with Michigan State at No. 40, Minnesota at No. 50, Penn State at No. 60 and Purdue at No. 67.
• The Big Ten has seven schools appearing in the top 55 of Tuesday’s Sagarin ratings, including five in the top 25. The conference contingent is led by No. 13 Maryland, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 19 Rutgers, No. 21 Iowa and No. 24 Michigan State. Also in the top 55 are No. 33 Michigan and No. 52 Minnesota.
• Nine Big Ten schools currently have a .700 winning percentage or better this season, with Illinois, Nebraska and Rutgers having already tied or surpassed their win totals from all of last year (when Illinois had nine wins, Nebraska had seven and Rutgers had six), while Wisconsin needs just two wins to tie last season’s victory count.
• Five Big Ten schools are ranked or receiving votes in the latest Associated Press or USA Today polls, led by No. 12 (AP)/No. 11 (USA Today) Ohio State. Maryland is also ranked in both polls at No. 15/14, as are Michigan at No. 23/21 (the Wolverines have been ranked all seven weeks this season, the second-longest run in school history behind a nine-week stretch in 2001-02) and Iowa at No. 25/25, while Rutgers is earning votes in both polls. Ten of the 14 Big Ten schools have been ranked or receiving votes in the polls for at least one week this year.
• Iowa improved to 11-1 this season with a 71-47 win over in-state foe Northern Iowa on Sunday. The Hawkeyes are off to their best start since the 2010-11 season, when they also won 11 of their first 12 games en route to a 22-9 record and an NCAA Tournament berth.
• Nebraska posted its third consecutive road win (and fourth victory away from home) this season with Sunday’s 81-55 win at San Jose State. The Huskers went undefeated in three non-conference road games this year (a first for the program since 2009-10), continuing their turnaround from last year’s winless record away from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• Northwestern drew a season-high crowd of 4,142 fans on Tuesday for its annual Field Trip Day game against No. 23/21 Green Bay at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.
• Iowa’s Megan Gustafson and Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell are the Big Ten Co-Players of the Week, while Minnesota’s Destiny Pitts earned the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, the conference announced Monday. More details on these students’ accomplishments, as well as the latest Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll, can be found on page four of the PDF version of this release.
• In Tuesday’s NCAA statistical rankings, four Big Ten schools rank in the top 25 nationally in scoring offense — Ohio State (2nd - 91.4 ppg.), Maryland (9th - 87.2 ppg.), Minnesota (11th - 86.5 ppg.) and Iowa (23rd - 83.5 ppg.).
• Among Tuesday’s other NCAA statistical reports, Iowa leads the nation in assists (23.8 apg.) and fewest fouls (11.7 per game), while the Hawkeyes’ Megan Gustafson is tied for the NCAA lead with 11 double-doubles this year.
• As of Tuesday, five of the nation’s top 20 scorers come from Big Ten schools, led by Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell, who is No. 2 at 26.2 points per game. Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty is 10th (21.9 ppg.), Iowa’s Megan Gustafson is 11th (21.8 ppg.), Rutgers’ Tyler Scaife is 15th (21.2 ppg.) and Indiana’s Tyra Buss is 19th (20.9 ppg.).
• Eight Big Ten students from six conference schools have scored 30 points in a game this season. The Big Ten’s 30-point scorers include: Iowa’s Megan Gustafson (twice), Maryland’s Kaila Charles, Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty, Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell and Carlie Wagner, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Kelsey Mitchell (six times) and Penn State’s Jaida Travascio-Green.
• Three Big Ten schools are led in scoring by freshmen through Monday’s games. Michigan State’s top scorer is Sidney Cooks (11.0 ppg.), while Nebraska is paced by guard Taylor Kissinger (14.0 ppg.), and Northwestern is led by Lindsey Pulliam (14.7 ppg.).
• Ten Big Ten programs rank among the top 50 in the nation in attendance, including six in the top 25, according to Monday’s NCAA statistics report. Purdue leads the way at No. 8 nationally (5,773 fans per game), joined by No. 11 Ohio State (5,517), No. 14 Maryland (5,249), No. 15 Michigan State (5,176), No. 21 Iowa (3,755) and No. 22 Nebraska (3,695). The other Big Ten schools currently among the top 50 in the nation in attendance are Penn State (26th - 3,468), Wisconsin (31st - 3,242), Minnesota (44th - 2,677) and Indiana (46th - 2,666).
• The 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be played March 30 and April 1, right in the heart of Big Ten country in Columbus, Ohio, and co-hosted by Ohio State and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. This will mark the seventh time the Women’s Final Four is held within the Big Ten Conference footprint, with three visits to Indianapolis (2005, 2011, 2016), two others in the state of Ohio (Cincinnati-1997, Cleveland-2007) and the 1995 event in Minneapolis (the last time it was held in a city featuring a Big Ten institution).
• Next season, the Big Ten will return to an 18-game conference schedule, following approval by the Big Ten Administrators Council in October. Under the new format, schools will play five opponents twice and eight teams once (four home, four away) each season. The model will also emphasize in-state rivalries and competition between regional opponents. Big Ten women’s basketball programs played 18 regular-season conference games for the first 12 seasons of Big Ten play (1982-83 through 1993-94) and returned to that format from 2007-08 to 2009-10 and again in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
• Big Ten programs produced 61 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2016-17, the 10th consecutive season at least 45 women’s basketball students received the award. That list includes returning Academic All-Americans Amanda Cahill of Indiana and Carlie Wagner of Minnesota, plus Academic All-District honoree Kristen Confroy of Maryland.
• Big Ten schools will be featured on national television at least 63 times during the 2017-18 season. BTN will televise at least 54 games and ESPN networks will carry nine contests. In addition, for the fourth consecutive year, every Big Ten women’s basketball conference game, including 112 regular-season and 13 tournament games, will be produced and distributed by BTN, BTN Plus or an ESPN network.
|Dec. 19, 2017||#21/23 Green Bay 63, at Northwestern 57||Rosemont, IL||RECAP|
|at Nebraska 86, Florida Atlantic 69||Lincoln, NE||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Dec. 20, 2017||at American 75, Penn State 66 (OT)||Washington, DC||RECAP||Patriot League Network|
|at Purdue 70, Saint Mary's (Calif.) 60
(Basketball Travelers, Inc., Invitational)
|West Lafayette, IN||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|#15/14 Maryland 113, at Coppin State 49||Baltimore, MD||RECAP|
|Dec. 21, 2017||Indiana 72, at Yale 68||New Haven, CT||RECAP||Ivy League Network|
|at #23/21 Michigan 105, Delaware State 36||Ann Arbor, MI||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at #25/25 Iowa 79. Drake 66||Iowa City, IA||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Michigan State 83, #22/19 South Florida 73
(New Orleans Shootout)
|New Orleans, LA||RECAP|
|Dec. 22, 2017||at #16/16 Missouri 72, Illinois 55||Columbia, MO||RECAP||SEC Network Plus|
|at Minnesota 101, UC Riverside 75||Minneapolis, MN||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Washington State 73, at Nebraska 61||Lincoln, NE||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|at Northwestern 74, Eastern Illinois 40||Evanston, IL||RECAP||BTN Plus|
|Michigan State 83, Mississippi Valley State 64
(New Orleans Shootout)
|New Orleans, LA||RECAP|
NOTE: Rankings from the Dec. 18-19 Associated Press/USA Today Sports polls (RV - receiving votes/NR - not ranked; when only one ranking is listed, it is from the Associated Press poll)