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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 3/20/2024, Last updated: 3/21/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - March 19

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  • Six Big Ten schools have been selected to compete in the 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, it was announced Sunday on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Show on CBS. Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin will all be taking part in this year’s tournament. All games will be televised on CBS Sports, TBS, TNT, or truTV beginning on Thursday night.
  • Three Big Ten teams will continue their 2023-24 seasons, as Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio State have been selected to participate in the 2024 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). All three teams will open the tournament on Tuesday night, with all the games broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.
  • Purdue’s Zach Edey and Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. were named to the Associated Press All-America Team, the organization announced on Tuesday. Edey was a unanimous selection for the First Team, appearing at the top of all 62 ballots, while Shannon earned third Team accolades. Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, North Carolina’s RJ Davis, Houston’s Jamal Shead, and UConn’s Tristen Newton joined Edey on the First Team.
  • Four from the Big Ten were recognized by Atlanta Tipoff Club, as the organization announced the semifinalists for its Naismith Awards. Purdue’s Zach Edey was named a semifinalist for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Player of the Year and joined Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr. as semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. Purdue head coach Matt Painter was also named to list of semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year.
  • The Illinois Fighting Illini won their fourth TIAA Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday, with a 93-87 win over the Wisconsin Badgers at the Target Center in Minneapolis. With the win, Illinois earned the Big Ten’s automatic berth into the 2024 NCAA Championship and will make its 34th all-time tournament appearance.
  • Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. was named the Jim and Kitty Delaney Most Outstanding Player at the 2024 TIAA Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Terrence Shannon Jr. led Illinois with a Big Ten Championship game record 34 points on 8-15 shooting from the floor and 15-17 shooting from the free throw line, one day after breaking the tournament’s single game scoring mark with 40 points in a semifinal win over Nebraska. With a total of 102 points in the tournament, Shannon fell just one point shy of tying Keegan Murray’s 2022 total points mark. Shannon was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Nebraska’s Keisei Tominaga, Purdue’s Zach Edey, and Wisconsin’s Chucky Hepburn and AJ Storr.
  • Purdue captured the 2023-24 Big Ten Championship with a 17-3 record in league play. This is Purdue’s second consecutive Big Ten title and its 26th overall, four more than Indiana for the most in conference history. The repeat marks the first for the program since raising three straight crowns in 1994, 1995, and 1996.
  • The 2023-24 Big Ten postseason honors were announced on last week. Purdue’s Zach Edey was named Player of the Year by both the league’s coaches and the media for the second consecutive season. Edey joins Luke Garza (2020, 2021), Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves (1998, 1999), and Ohio State’s Jim Jackson (1991, 1992) as back-to-back players of the year. Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr. was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, while Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako and Iowa’s Owen Freeman shared Freshman of the Year honors from the coaches, while Freeman collected the accolade from the media. Purdue’s Mason Gillis was named Sixth Man of the Year. Both the coaches and media selected Nebraska’s Fred Hoiberg and Purdue’s Matt Painter as Co-Coaches of the Year, while Purdue’s Brandon Brantley is this year’s recipient of the Howard Moore Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
  • MILESTONE WATCH... Congratulations to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo who coached his 1,000th career game on Friday. Izzo became the 32nd coach in Division I history to reach the mark.
  • Five teams are included in both major polls entering the tournaments. Both the AP and USA Today polls list Purdue at No. 3, while Illinois stands at No. 10. Wisconsin returns to the top 25, sitting at No. 23 in the AP and 24 in the coaches poll. Nebraska also received votes in both listings, while the coaches recognized Michigan State.
  • Eight Big Ten teams rank in the top-65 in today’s NET rankings, including four in the top 25. Purdue’s No. 23 ranking is tops in the league, while Illinois sits at No. 13 followed by No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 24 Michigan State, No. 33 Nebraska, No. 49 Ohio State, No. 53 Northwestern, and No. 62 Iowa.
  • Eight Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-55 in today’s Kenpom rankings, including four in the top-20. Purdue leads the way at No. 3, followed by Illinois (#10), Michigan State (#18), Wisconsin (#17), Nebraska (#28), Northwestern (#46), Ohio State (#47), and Iowa (#52).
  • According to KenPom, the Big Ten currently owns a 108.2 efficiency rating, second in the country among power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) and ninth highest overall.
  • In Big Ten play, teams protected their home floors to the tune of a 68.3-win percentage (95-44), second best home winning percentage among all conferences. The Big Ten’s 95 home conference victories are the most of any league in the nation.
  • The Big Ten ranks among the nation’s best conferences on both sides of the hardwood. Offensively, the league is tied for third among all conferences in scoring (75.0 ppg), second in total assists (6,672), and fourth in total points (34,493). According to, the Big Ten also ranks third in the country with a +14.80 Adjusted Efficiency Margin (AdjEM), the difference between a team’s offensive and defensive efficiencies.  Twelve teams average north of 72.0 points per game, led by Illinois’ Big Ten-best 84.4 points, which ranks eighth in the country, a tick ahead of Purdue’s 83.4 points per game and Iowa’s 82.9 points. Five teams also rank in the top-50 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue at 48.8 percent. Indiana (47.6), Iowa (47.5), Minnesota (47.2), and Illinois (47.1) 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-45 in assists/turnover ratio. Iowa ranks second with a 1.87 ratio, while Northwestern (1.79) and Michigan State (1.67) rank fifth and 10th, respectively.
  • Defensively, the Big Ten boasts eight teams that hold their opponents below 71 points per game, led by Maryland, who surrenders just 65.88 points per outing, good for 24th nationally, followed by Michigan State at 65.94 and Rutgers at 66.53. Six Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 70 in field goal percentage defense. Nebraska leads the way at 39.7 percent, 10th nationally, while Rutgers holds its opponents to 40.8 percent shooting. Rutgers also ranks 14th in the country with 5.2 blocked shots per contest, just ahead of Minnesota and Ohio State at 4.6, while Rutgers and Penn State force 14.91 and 14.67 turnovers per game, respectively, good for 22nd and 27th in the country.
  • Big Ten players also rank in the top-10 in several individual statistical categories. Purdue’s Zach Edey leads the country with 24.4 points per game, third in rebounds per game (11.7), and third in double-doubles (24), while his 370 free throw attempts and 265 free throws made lead the nation. Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. joins Edey on the scoring list, as his 23.0 points per game rank third. Northwestern’s Boo Buie is connecting on three -pointers at a 44.3 percent clip, fifth in Div. I, while Ohio State’s Jamison Battle’s 43.8 three-point percentage ais good for seventh. Iowa’s Payton Sandfort is one of just seven players to record a triple-double this season. Purdue’s Braden Smith and Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins rank second and fourth, respectively, with 240 and 231 assists on the season. Hawkins 7.5 assists per game rank second, while Smith lists fourth with 7.3. Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton ranks eighth in the country with a 3.68 assist/turnover ratio. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi and Ohio State’s Feliz Okpara rank third and 10th, respectively, with 2.91and 2.38 blocked shots per game, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.67 steals per game rank fifth. 
  • More than 5.36 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including more than 2.9 million fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-25 in total attendance. Indiana (296,427 fans) and Nebraska (277,338) rank sixth and eighth, followed by Illinois (269,827), Michigan State (266,346), and Wisconsin (263,436) in 10th, 11th, and 12th. In total, 11 Big Ten schools rank in the top-45 in 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.
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