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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 2/13/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central: Feb. 13-15

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  • MILESTONE WATCH... Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is on a short countdown to coaching his 1,000th career game. With nine more games on the Michigan State bench, Izzo will join a club that included just 12 active coaches at the beginning of the season.

  • Five teams earned mention in this week’s AP and USA Today Coaches Polls, announced on Monday. Purdue held steady at No. 2, while Illinois slid to No. 14 in both polls after its loss to Michigan State. Two losses last week sent Wisconsin down to No. 20 in the AP and No. 21 in the coaches poll. Michigan State and Northwestern also received recognition in both polls. 

  • Rutgers’ Jeremiah Williams was named Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, for the week of Feb. 5-11.  Williams averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in leading the Scarlet Knights to a pair of wins last week. The redshirt junior guard led all scorers with 18 points to go with seven assists and five boards in an 78-56 upset of then-No. 11 Wisconsin. He also paired 14 points, including the eventual game-winning basket, and five rebounds in Rutgers’ 56-53 victory at Maryland.

  • Iowa’s Owen Freeman claimed his eighth Freshman of the Week honor, after averaging 13.0 points on 64.7 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocked shots, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals last week, as the Hawkeyes split a pair contests. Freeman shot 7-13 for 17 points, a season-best 14 rebounds, four blocked shots and four assists, as Iowa erased a 20-point second half deficit in its 90-85 win against Minnesota. He also paired nine points on 4-4 shooting, five rebounds, and a pair of steals in an 89-79 loss at Penn State.

  • Seven 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 Illinois sits at No. 13, followed by No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 23 Michigan State, No. 53 Nebraska, No. 56 Northwestern, and No. 66 Iowa. The Big 12 leads the nation with 11 top-70 entrants, two more than the SEC, while the ACC and Big East have eight.

  • The Big Ten has faced 116 Quad 1 opponents and a combined 193 Quad 1 and 2 opponents, most of any power conference in the country. The Big Ten’s 37 Quad 1 wins are third, behind the Big 12 (47), while its 84 combined Quad 1 and 2 wins are tops in the nation, seven clear of the ACC and eight better than the Big 12 and 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 (#11), Michigan State (#15), Wisconsin (#17), Northwestern (#50), Nebraska (#51), Iowa (#56), and Maryland (#57). The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 teams in the top-60, one more than the SEC, while the Big Ten and Big East have eight each. 

  • According to KenPom, the Big Ten currently owns a 107.7 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 are protecting their home floors to the tune of a 70.8-win percentage (63-26), third best home winning percentage among all conferences. The Big Ten’s 63 home conference victories are the most of any league in the nation. 

  • Nine 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. 13 Illinois, No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 41 Northwestern, No. 50 Iowa, No. 52 Nebraska, No. 62 Maryland, and No. 68 Ohio State. Thirteen 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), second in total assists (4,909), and sixth in total points (25,429). Nine teams average north of 75.0 points per game, led by Purdue’s Big Ten-best 85.1 points, which ranks sixth in the country, nine spots better than Iowa (84.2 points). Five teams also rank in the top-50 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue at 49.1 percent. Iowa (48.0), Minnesota (47.5), Michigan State (47.5), and Indiana (47.3) 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 ranks fifth with a 1.80 ratio, while Northwestern (1.79), Michigan State (1.75), Purdue (1.58), and Minnesota (1.49) 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 63.7 points per outing, good for 13th nationally, followed by Rutgers, allowing just 65.0 points, and Michigan State at 65.6. Five Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 60 in field goal percentage defense. Rutgers leads the way, holding its opponents to 39.6 percent shooting, a tick above Michigan State (39.9 percent), Nebraska (40.2), and Maryland (40.7). Rutgers also ranks 14th in the country with 5.3 blocked shots per contest, just ahead of Maryland’s 5.0 blocks per game, 21st in the country, while Penn State forces a league-best 15.42 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 third in the country with 23.2 points per game, third in rebounds per game (11.7), and third in double-doubles (17), while his 255 free throw attempts lead the nation and 181 free throws made rank third. Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins leads the nation with 7.6 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith’s 7.1 are good for sixth. Smith’s 171 dimes rank fourth, one spot ahead of Hawkins’ 168.Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton ranks second in the country with a 4.21 assist/turnover ratio. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.22 blocked shots per game rank third in the country, just ahead of Ohio State’s Felix Okpara whose 2.43 blocked shots are good for eighth, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.83 steals per game rank sixth.  

  • More than 3.8 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including more than 2.25 million fans in our 14 home venues. Six Big Ten teams rank in the top-20 in total attendance. Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the country with 229,813 fans through 16 games. Indiana (228,457), Michigan State (221,955), Illinois (207,651), Wisconsin (200,856, and Purdue (178,513) also rank in the top 20. In total, 11 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.