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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 1/5/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Jan. 5-8

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  • Three Big Ten teams were included in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls this week. Purdue remained at the No. 1 spot in both polls, while Illinois moved up to Nos. 9 and 8, respectively, with Wisconsin sitting at No. 21 in both rankings. Michigan State and Ohio State received votes in both polls, while Northwestern earned mention in the media poll and Nebraska and Indiana in the coaches poll. 

  • 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.

  • Maryland’s Jahmir Young was named Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, for the weeks of Dec. 18-Jan. 1. Young averaged 30.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, as the Terps scored wins over Nichols and UCLA. The fifth-year guard paired 23 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls, marking his first double-double of the season. He followed that with a career-high 37 points on 13-19 shooting at UCLA, including a personal 9-0 run to extend Maryland’s lead from two points to eight with 1:12 to play. His 37 points are the fourth-most all-time for a Maryland player in a true road game and the most for the Terps since Diamond Stone scored 39 points against Penn State in 2015.

  • Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the same period, after averaging 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists, as Indiana closed nonconference play with three consecutive wins. Mgbako tallied at least 12 points and five rebounds in all three games, while shooting 40 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free throw line.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Iowa head coach Fran McCaffrey stands just three wins from topping Tom Davis for most victories in program history. Davis collected 271 wins during his 13 seasons in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes’ first conference win of the season will also break a record with Davis for most Big Ten wins in program history... Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo enters Sunday’s game with 696 wins. Izzo is on the verge of becoming the 10th active coach in Div. I to record 700 career victories... Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann will carry 249 career wins into Saturday’s showdown at Indiana. His 135 victories in Columbus are fifth most in program history.  

  • Ten Big Ten teams rank in the top-85 in Tuesday’s NET rankings, including four in the top 25. Purdue’s No. 3 ranking is tops in the league, while Illinois and Wisconsin sit at Nos. 7 and 14, respectively, followed by No. 23 Michigan State, No. 36 Ohio State, No. 58 Nebraska, No. 68 Iowa, No. 80 Northwestern, No. 81 Minesota, and No. 84 Michigan. The Big 12 and ACC lead the nation with 11 top-85 entrants, while the Big East and SEC have nine each, three more than the Pac 12.

  • The Big Ten leads the nation with 1 Quad 1 wins, while its 32 combined Quad 1 and 2 victories through games on Jan. 4 rank second to the SEC’s 35. Of the 23 teams across the country to face at least five Quad 1 opponents, five (Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, and Rutgers) reside in the Big Ten. No other conference has more than three. The Bi Ten also joins the Pac-12 as the only leagues with four teams to have faced at least eight opponents currently listed in Quads 1 and 2. 

  • 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 86.7 points, which ranks 11th in the country, six spots north of Purdue (85.4 points). Six teams also rank in the top-50 in the country, led by Purdue’s 49.6 field goal percentage, good for 23rd.Minnesota shoots 49.5 percent from the floor, 25th nationally, followed by Indiana (49.2 percent), Michigan State (48.4), Illinois (48.3), and Michigan (48.0) sitting in 31st, 38th, 41st, and 47th, respectively. Much of that offensive efficiency stems from taking care of the ball, as five team list in the top-25 in assists/turnover ratio. The Hawkeyes lead the league and rank fifth in the country at 1.92, while Northwestern’s 1.80 ratio is good for ninth. Michigan State (1.71) checks in at 13th, followed by Minnesota (1.60) and Purdue (1.57) in 19th and 24th.

  • Defensively, the Big Ten boasts 10 teams that hold their opponents to below 67.0 points per game, led by Rutgers, who surrenders just 62.5 points per outing, good for 15th nationally. Maryland ranks 26th, allowing just 63.6 points, followed by Michigan State (64.3 points) in 36th. Four Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 15 in field goal percentage defense. Illinois tops the conference, holding its opponents to 37.8 percent shooting, eighth in the country. Michigan State and Nebraska are tied at 37.9 percent, while Rutgers allows a 38.1 percentage. The Scarlet Knights also rank 10th in the country with 5.8 blocked shots per contest, while Penn State forces a league-best 16.5 turnovers per game, 14th in the country.    

  • Big Ten players also rank in the top-10 in several individual statistical categories. Purdue’s Zach Edey ranks fourth in the country with 23.1 points per game and seventh in double-doubles (8), while his 146 free throw attempts and 112 free throw makes rank first and second in the NCAA. Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins leads the nation with 7.7 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith (6.7) stands eighth. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.31 blocked shots per game are good for third. A trio of Big Ten players also rank among the top six in assists/turnover ratio, as Michigan State’s Tre Holloman (5.88), Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton (4.29), and Iowa’s Dasonte Bowen (4.20) sit third, fifth, and sixth, respectively. 

  • Seven Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-60 in today’s Kenpom rankings, including five in the top-30. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by Illinois (#8), Wisconsin (#13), Michigan State (#17), Ohio State (#29), Nebraska (#49), Iowa (#55), and Northwestern (#66). The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 teams in the top-60, two more than the SEC, while the Big Ten, Big East, and ACC have seven each.  

  • Six Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-50 of the ESPN Basketball Power Index (BPI) listing. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 9 Illinois, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 Michigan State, No. 34 Ohio State, and No. 49 Iowa. All 14 Big Ten teams also rank in the outlet’s top-50 Remaining Strength of Schedule listing.

  • More than two million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including nearly 1.4 million fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-20 in total attendance, including three in the top five. Nebraska leads the way with 155,176 fans through 11 games, third in the nation. Michigan State (147,970) and Indiana (142,985) rank fourth and fifth, respectively. Illinois (130,748) checks in at seventh, with Wisconsin (119,317), Maryland (111,487), and Purdue (104,132) in 14th, 18th, and 19th, respectively.  In total, 13 Big Ten schools rank in the top 50. 

  • 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.