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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 1/23/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central: Jan. 23-25

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  • Purdue, Illinois, and Wisconsin remain solidly entrenched in this week’s AP and USA Today Coaches Polls. The Boilermakers stayed steady in the No. 2 spot on both polls. Illinois climbed four places to No. 10 in the AP and three places to No. 11 in the Coaches list. The Badgers moved down two spots to No. 13 in the AP and to No. 10 in the Coaches Poll. 

  • Purdue big man Zach Edey was named Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, for the week of Jan. 15-21. The senior claimed his third honor of the season and ninth of his career, one shy of tying the conference record, currently held by Evan Turner (2008-10). Edey averaged 31.5 points on 55.3 percent shooting, 16.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocked shots, as No. 2 Purdue scored a pair of wins. In an 87-66 victory at Indiana, the center tallied 33 points and 14 rebounds, then added 30 points and 18 boards, as Purdue topped Iowa 84-70. 

  • Wisconsin freshman John Blackwell claimed his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor after averaging 13.0 points and 3.0 rebounds, as No. 13/10 Wisconsin split a pair of games. Blackwell scored 14 points, including 7-8 from the free throw line, in an 87-83 loss at Penn State, before notching 12 points and four rebounds as the Badgers scored a 91-79 win over Indiana.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Congratulations to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, who became just the fourth coach in Big Ten history to coach 500 career conference games on Thursday night. Izzo will also enter Friday’s game at Wisconsin with 699 wins. Izzo is on the verge of becoming the 10th active coach in Div. I to record 700 career victories... Congratulations to Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann claimed his 250th career win on Saturday, as the Buckeyes topped Penn State. His 136 victories in Columbus are fifth most in program history... Wisconsin’s Greg Gard will seek his 100th career Big Ten win on Tuesday, when the Badgers host Minnesota.  

  • For the second time this season, Edey has also been one of five Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week by the  U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). This is the fifth time this season a Big Ten player has earned the honor and the second of the year for Edey. This week’s other honorees include High Point’s Kezza Giffa (Big South), Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II (Atlantic 10), Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht (SEC), and Houston’s Jamal Shead (Big 12).

  • Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-60 in Friday’s NET rankings, including four in the top 25. Purdue’s No. 2 ranking is tops in the league, while Illinois and Wisconsin sit at Nos. 11 and 13, respectively, followed by No. 21 Michigan State, No.46 Ohio State, No. 49 Iowa, and No. 56 Nebraska. The Big 12 leads the nation with nine top-60 entrants, one more than the Big East and two more than the Big Ten and SEC.

  • The Big Ten has faced 51 Quad 1 opponents and 81 Quad 1 and 2 opposition, both the most of any conference in the country. The Big Ten ‘s 28 Quad 1 wins are tied with the Big East for second most in the country, two north of the Big 12 and six clear of the ACC, while its 49 combined Quad 1 and 2 wins are tied with the Big East for fourth in the nation, behind the ACC (60), SEC (57), and Big 12 (51).

  • The Big Ten ranks among the nation’s best conferences on both sides of the hardwood. Offensively, 10 teams average north of 75.0 points per game, led by Iowa’s Big Ten-best 86.1 points, which ranks fifth in the country, eight spots north of Purdue (85.1 points). Eight teams also rank in the top-75 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue at 49.0 percent. Iowa (48.0 percent), Minnesota (48.0), Indiana (47.9), and Wisconsin (47.8) also rank in the nation’s top 50. Much of that offensive efficiency stems from taking care of the ball, as five team list in the top-40 in assists/turnover ratio. Iowa leads the nation with a 1.99 ratio, while Northwestern (1.77) and Michigan State (1.72) sit eighth and 13th, respectively.

  • Defensively, the Big Ten boasts nine teams that hold their opponents to below 70 points per game, led by Maryland, who surrenders just 63.8 points per outing, good for 17th nationally, followed by Michigan State, allowing just 65.2 points, and Rutgers at 66.5 points. Four Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 35 in field goal percentage defense. Michigan State and Illinois top the conference, holding their opponents to 39.4 percent shooting, 16th and 17th in the country, respectively. The Scarlet Knights also rank 11th in the country with 5.7 blocked shots per contest, just ahead of Maryland’s 5.3 blocks per game, 19th in the country, while Penn State forces a league-best 15.84 turnovers per game, 16th in the country.    

  • Big Ten players also rank in the top-10 in several individual statistical categories. Purdue’s Zach Edey ranks second in the country with 23.3 points per game, fourth in rebounds per game (11.5), and third in double-doubles (12), while his 195 free throw attempts and 148 field goals rank first and fifth in the NCAA. Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins leads the nation with 7.8 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith’s 136 total assists are tops in Division I. Hawkins’ 132 assists and Smith’s 7.2 assists per contest are also fourth. Two Big Ten players, Michigan State’s Tre Holloman and Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton sit first and fourth in the nation with 5.45 and 4.39 assist/turnover ratios. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.28 blocked shots per game, just ahead of Ohio State’s Felix Okpara whose 2.68 blocked shots are good for eighth, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.84 steals per game rank third.  

  • 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 (#9), Wisconsin (#11), Michigan State (#18), Ohio State (#44), Iowa (#45), Nebraska (#51), and Northwestern (#59). The Big 12 leads the nation with 11 teams in the top-60, three more than the Big Ten and Big East, while the SEC has seven and ACC six.

  • Nine Eight 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. 14 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 43 Iowa, No. 46 Ohio State, No. 56 Northwestern, and No. 64 Nebraska. All 14 Big Ten teams also rank in the outlet’s top-60 Remaining Strength of Schedule listing.

  • Nearly 2.9 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including more than 1.8 million fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-20 in total attendance. Indiana leads the Big Ten and ranks second in the nation with 194,013 fans through 12 home games, just north of Nebraska (185,259) who sits third. Michigan State (177,564), Illinois (176,563), and Wisconsin (166,714) rank seventh, eighth, and 10th, respectively. In total, 11 Big Ten schools rank in the top-50 in total home attendance.

  • On Wednesday, Jan. 10, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced the John R. Wooden Award® presented by Principal® Midseason Top 25 Watch List. Purdue’s Zach Edey and Michigan State’s Tyson Walker were listed among those considered strong candidates for the honor which will be announced following the NCAA Tournament in April. 

  • 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.

  • For the sixth consecutive year, each Big Ten Conference member institution will compete in a 20-game conference schedule. The Big Ten Conference season begins Friday, Dec. 1, when Maryland visits Indiana and Northwestern hosts Purdue, the first of 12 conference games played between Dec. 1-10. Following a break in conference play, Big Ten action will resume on Jan. 2. During the conference season, schools will play seven teams twice -- once at home and once on the road and six teams once, with three of those games being at home and the other three away.

  • The 27th annual Big Ten Tournament will be played at Target Center in Minneapolis between March 13-17, 2024, marking the first time the tournament has been played in Minneapolis. All 14 teams will advance to the tournament, with two 1st round games slated for Wednesday, March 13th. The top four teams will receive 1st and 2nd round byes and advance to the quarterfinals on Friday, March 15th.

  • 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.