media source avatar
Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 2/3/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
link picture

Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Feb. 2-5

page picture





  • MILESTONE WATCH... Congratulations to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo who became the 38th coach to reach 700 career victories with Tuesday’s win over Michigan.  Izzo is also scheduled to tie Bobby Knight’s conference record 504 games coached when Michigan State hosts Maryland on Saturday.

  • Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois continue to hold firm in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls. The Boilermakers remained at No. 2 in both polls. Wisconsin climbed six spots in the AP and four in the coaches poll to enter this week’s action at No. 6, while the Illini slid down to No. 14 in both lists.   

  • Northwestern’s Boo Buie claimed his fourth career Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, honor for the week of Jan. 22-27. Buie’s second award of the season came after averaging 24.0 points, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, as Northwestern recorded a pair of victories over No. 10 Illinois and Ohio State. The graduate student scored a game-high 29 points, including the game-tying shot that forced overtime and eight points in overtime, to go with seven assists and three steals to lead the Wildcats to a 96-91 win over the Illini. He then led Northwestern to an 83-58 win over Ohio State with a game-high 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal.

  • Iowa freshman Owen Freeman earned his seventh Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolade, becoming the eighth player in conference history to collect seven such honors. The only player to earn more was Jared Sullinger (OSU, 2010-11), who earned the award 12 times. Freeman averaged 14.5 points on 55.0 percent shooting and nine rebounds, as the Hawkeyes split a pair of games last week. The rookie tallied 14 points and nine boards in a 69-67 loss to Maryland, the rebounded for 15 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots in Iowa’s 88-78 win at Michigan.

  • For the second time this season, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association has named Buie one of its Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week. The Northwestern guard also earned the honor on Dec. 4.  Other players to receive the accolade this week are Denver’s Tommy Bruner (Summit League), North Carolina’s RJ Davis (ACC), Oregon State’s Jordan Pope (Pac-12), and Western Carolina’s Vonterius Woolbright (Southern Conference).

  • Purdue’s Zach Edey has been named to the John R. Wooden Award® presented by Principal® Late Season Top 20 Watch List, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced on Tuesday. Edey, who also won the award after the 2022-23 season, is looking to become the award’s first repeat winner since Ralph Sampson in 1982 and 1983.

  • On Wednesday, the Naismith Basktball Hall of Fame named Ohio State’s Jamison Battle to the 2024 Julius Erving Top 10  list. Named for the Class of 1993 Hall of Famer and 16-year professional basketball player, the award, in its 10th year, recognizes the top small forwards in Division I. Battle would join Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (2016) as the Big Ten’s only recipients of the honor.

  • Purdue’s Zach Edey and Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia have been named to the 2024 Naismith Hall of Fame Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Top 10 List, recognizing the top center in Division I. Edey, who won the award in 2023, joined Iowa’s Luke Garza (2020, 2021), Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ (2019), and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsy (2015) as previous Big Ten award recipients. 

  • Eight Big Ten teams rank in the top-70 in Friday’s NET rankings, including four in the top 25. Purdue’s No. 2 ranking is tops in the league, while Wisconsin and Illinois sit at Nos. 11 and 12, respectively, followed by No. 22 Michigan State, No. 55 Nebraska, No. 57 Northwestern, No. 61 Iowa, and No. 70 Ohio State. The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 top-70 entrants, one more than the Big East and SEC, while the Big Ten and ACC have eight each.

  • The Big Ten has faced 100 Quad 1 opponents, most of any power conference in the country, while its 161 Quad 1 and 2 opposition, are good for second to the ACC’s 163. The Big Ten’s 32 Quad 1 wins are second to the Big 12 (40) and tied with the Big East, while its 68 combined Quad 1 and 2 wins are tops in the nation, two clear of the ACC and four better then the SEC.

  • Eight Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-60 in today’s Kenpom rankings, including four in the top-20. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by Illinois (#10), Wisconsin (#11), Michigan State (#17), Northwestern (#43), Iowa (#49), Nebraska (#50), and Maryland (#52). The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 teams in the top-60, one more than the Big East, while the Big Ten and SEC have eight each. The ACC and Pac 12 have six each.

  • According to KenPom, the Big Ten currently owns a 108.4 efficiency rating, highest in the country among power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) and seventh highest overall. It is the highest among the power conferences since at least 1999. In that time, only one other conference, the Big East reached a 108 rating (2018). 

  • Nine Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-65 of the ESPN Basketball Power Index (BPI) listing. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 11 Illinois, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 47 Iowa, No. 40 Northwestern, No. 59 Maryland, No. 60 Nebraska, and No. 65 Ohio State. All 14 Big Ten teams also rank in the outlet’s top-65 Remaining Strength of Schedule listing.

  • The Big Ten ranks among the nation’s best conferences on both sides of the hardwood. Offensively, the league is tied for second among all conferences in scoring (76.0 ppg), fourth in field goal percentage (45.82), and second in total  assists (4,389). Eleven teams average north of 75.0 points per game, led by Purdue’s Big Ten-best 85.8 points, which ranks seventh in the country, 10 spots better than Iowa (84.4 points). Seven teams also rank in the top-55 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue at 49.5 percent. Northwestern (47.9 percent), Minnesota (47.8), Indiana (47.7), Michigan State (47.5), Iowa (47.4), and Wisconsin (47.4) also rank in the nation’s top 55. Much of that offensive efficiency stems from taking care of the ball, as five team list in the top-35 in assists/turnover ratio. Iowa leads the nation with a 1.89 ratio, while Northwestern (1.88), Michigan State (1.76), Purdue (1.61), and Minnesota (1.48) list among the nation’s leaders.

  • Defensively, the Big Ten boasts 10 teams that hold their opponents below 71 points per game, led by Maryland, who surrenders just 63.4 points per outing, good for 11th nationally, followed by Michigan State, allowing just 65.8 points, Rutgers at 66.3, and Wisconsin at 67.5. Seven Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 70 in field goal percentage defense. Michigan State leads the way, holding its opponents to 40.0 percent shooting, a tick above Rutgers (40.1 percent), Nebraska (40.3), Maryland (40.4), and Illinois (40.9). Maryland also ranks 13th in the country with 5.4 blocked shots per contest, just ahead of Rutgers’ 5.2 blocks per game, 18th in the country, while Penn State forces a league-best 15.86 turnovers per game, 15th in Div. I.

  • Big Ten players also rank in the top-10 in several individual statistical categories. Purdue’s Zach Edey ranks second in the country with 23.4 points per game, fourth in rebounds per game (11.6), and third in double-doubles (15), while his 231 free throw attempts and 166 free throws made lead the NCAA. Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins leads the nation with 7.7 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith’s 7.5 are good for third. Smith’s 164 dimes lead the country, four spot above Hawkins with 146. Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton ranks second in the country with a 4.38  assist/turnover ratio. (NOTE: Michigan State’s Tre Holloman’s ratio is 5.17, but he is one assist shy of qualifying for the NCAA statistics.) Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.10 blocked shots per game rank second in the country, just ahead of Ohio State’s Felix Okpara whose 2.50 blocked shots are good for eighth, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.75 steals per game rank seventh.  

  • More than 3.3 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including nearly 2.02 million fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-20 in total attendance. Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the country with 213,985 fans through 15 games, just north of Indiana, whose 211,235 ranks fifth in the country. Michgian State (192,361 fans), Illinois (192,107) and Wisconsin (183,785) list eighth, ninth, and 11th, respectively. In total, 13 Big Ten schools rank in the top-501in total home attendance.

  • The Big Ten closed its nonconference slate with a combined 117-37 record. The Big 12 (144-34), SEC (132-47), Atlantic 10 (131-60), and ACC (119-46) collected more wins, but the Big Ten’s .760-win percentage falls behind only the Big 12 (.809). Among the B1G’s 117 victories are 9 wins over AP Top 25 opponents.

  • A Big Ten media panel has chosen 2023 Consensus National Player of the Year Zach Edey as 2023-24 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. The league’s reigning Player of the Year, Edey became the first Boilermaker since Glenn Robinson in 1994 to win National Player of the Year accolades and the fifth Big Ten Player in the last 14 years to be named National Player of the Year joining Evan Turner (2010), Trey Burke (2013), Frank Kaminsky (2015) and Luka Garza (2021) as National Players of the Year.

  • The media panel also selected the 2023-24 Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Edey joined Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr., Maryland’s Jahmir Young, and Northwestern’s Boo Buie as unanimous selections. Also named to the team were Maryland’s Julian Reese, Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia, Michigan State’s A.J. Hoggard and Tyson Walker, Nebraska’s Keisei Tominaga, and Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi. All ten members of the 2023-24 Preseason All-Big Ten Team received All-Big Ten honors following the 2022-23 campaign. Buie and Shannon joined Edey with First Team accolades, while Omoruyi, Walker, and Young were named to the Second Team. Hoggard earned a spot on the Third Team, with Garcia, Reese, and Tominaga receiving Honorable Mention.