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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 1/30/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Jan. 30-Feb. 1

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  • MILESTONE WATCH... Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo will enter Tuesday’s home game against Michigan with 699 career wins. A Spartan victory would make him the 10th active coach in Div. I with 700 career wins. 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).

  • Buie was also named as one of 10 finalists for the 2024 Bob Cousy Award on Monday, the Naismith Hall of Fame announced. Named after Class of 1971 Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic and Holy Cross guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor, now in its 21st year, recognizes the top point guard in Division I men’s college basketball. Previous Big Ten winners include Ayo Dosunmu (ILL), Trey Burke (MICH), Greivis Vasquez (MD), and Dee Brown (ILL).  

  • On Tuesday, the Naismith Hall of Fame announced Michigan State’s Tyson Walker as one of the 10 finalists for the 2024 Jerry West Award, recognizing the nation’s top shooting guards. Three Big Ten players have previously received the award named after Class of 1980 Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player, Johnny Davis (WIS), Carsen Edwards (PU), and D’Angelo Russel (OSU).

  • 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 Wisconsin and Illinois sit at Nos. 11 and 14, respectively, followed by No. 25 Michigan State, No. 56 Iowa, No. 59 Nebraska, and No. 60 Northwestern. The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 top-60 entrants, one more than the SEC, while the Big East has eight and ACC six.

  • The Big Ten has faced 95 Quad 1 opponents, most of any power conference in the country, while its 148 Quad 1 and 2 opposition, are good for second to the ACC’s 151. The Big Ten ‘s 31 Quad 1 wins are second to the Big 12 (36) and one more than the Big East, while its 60 combined Quad 1 and 2 wins sit behind the ACC (63), SEC (61), and Big 12 (61).

  • 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 (#18), Iowa (#44), Northwestern (#47), Nebraska (#51), and Maryland (#52). The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 teams in the top-60, two more than the Big Ten, Big East, and SEC while the ACC and Pac 12 have six each.

  • Nine Eight Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-70 of the ESPN Basketball Power Index (BPI) listing. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 12 Illinois, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 42 Iowa, No. 43 Northwestern, No. 58 Maryland, No. 62 Ohio State, and No. 66 Nebraska. 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, 10 teams average north of 75.0 points per game, led by Iowa’s Big Ten-best 85.3 points, which ranks 10th in the country, five spots better than Purdue (84.9 points). Seven teams also rank in the top-65 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue at 49.1 percent. Iowa (48.0), Indiana (47.8 percent), Minnesota (47.8), Wisconsin (47.7), Northwestern (47.4), and Michigan State (47.1) also rank in the nation’s top 60. 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 1.87 ratio, while Northwestern (1.83), Michigan State (1.71), Purdue (1.58), and Minnesota (1.48) list among the nation’s leaders.

  • Defensively, the Big Ten boasts 10 teams that hold their opponents at or below 70.0 points per game, led by Maryland, who surrenders just 63.4 points per outing, good for 12th nationally, followed by Michigan State, allowing just 66.0 points, Rutgers at 66.6, and Wisconsin at 66.9. Six Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 45 in field goal percentage defense. Michigan State leads the way, holding its opponents to 39.9 percent shooting, a tick above Rutgers and Nebraska, both at 40. Maryland also ranks 15th in the country with 5.4 blocked shots per contest, just ahead of Rutgers’ 5.3 blocks per game, 16th in the country, while Penn State forces a league-best 15.65 turnovers per game, 19th 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 23.0 points per game, fourth in rebounds per game (11.4), and third in double-doubles (14), while his 201 free throw attempts and 158 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 7.0 are good for sixth. Smith’s 148 dimes rank third in the country, one spot above Hawkins with 146. Michigan State’s Tre Holloman also leads the nation with a 5.00 assist/turnover ratio, three spots north of Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton (4.35). Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.11 blocked shots per game rank third in the country, just ahead of Ohio State’s Felix Okpara whose 2.53 blocked shots are good for eighth, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.75 steals per game rank seventh. 

  • Nearly 3.2 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including nearly 1.95 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 third in the country with 198,667 fans through 14 games, just north of Indiana, whose 194,013 ranks sixth in the country. Illinois (192,107) and Wisconsin (183,785) list seventh and ninth, respectively. In total, 12 Big Ten schools rank in the top-50 in total home attendance.

  • On 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.

  • 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.