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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 12/5/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Dec. 5-11

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  • This week’s Big Ten nonconference slate includes a trio of games against top 25 competition, including a pair of games for Illinois. The No. 20/18 Illini will face No. 11/9 Florida Atlantic tonight in New York City as part of the 2023 Jimmy V Classic. Illinois will continue their road trip on Saturday, as they visit No. 17/13 Tennessee. No. 23/RV Wisconsin will look to knock off top-ranked Arizona on Saturday, as the teams meet in Tucson, Ariz. In other nonconference games to be played on Saturday, No. 4 Purdue will meet Alabama in the Hall of Fame Toronto Series, while Indiana will face Auburn in the Holiday Hoopsgiving Game in Atlanta.

  • Five Big Ten teams were included in this week’s AP and USA Today Coaches polls. The AP ranked Purdue at No. 4, Illinois at No. 20 and Wisconsin at No. 23, with Ohio State, Northwestern, and Michigan State receiving votes. The coaches listed Purdue fourth, Illinois 18th, and Ohio State 25th, while Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Northwestern also earned votes. 

  • The Big Ten opened conference play on Friday, completing four games throughout the weekend. The weekend’s action was highlighted by Northwestern’s 92-88 overtime win over then-No. 1 Purdue, the second consecutive season the Wildcats have beaten No. 1 Purdue in Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern is the seventh program to defeat an AP No. 1 in back-to-back seasons since 2010-11. The Wildcats are the third program to ever defeat the same AP No. 1 opponent at home in consecutive seasons, and first to do so while being unranked in both games.  This week’s schedule includes seven Big Ten league games before the conference takes a break through the end of the calendar year. Conference play will resume on January 2, 2024.

  • The Big Ten has combined to go 72-26 in nonconference action this season. The Big Ten’s 72 wins are fourth most among all conferences behind the Big 12 (85-18), Atlantic 10 (78-38), and the SEC (76-31). The Big Ten’s .734-win percentage lists behind only the Big 12 (.825) and the Mountain West (.735 // 61-22). Among the Big Ten’s 72 victories are six wins over AP Top 25 opponents. 

  • The Big Ten went 10-3 in nonconference action last week, highlighted by the Badgers’ 75-64 home victory over then-No. 3 Marquette. Wisconsin led by as many as 16 points late in the first half, as the Badgers claimed their third consecutive win in the intra-state rivalry. The win marks the first three-game winning streak for either team in the 130-game series since the Badgers won four straight from 1998-2001. Wisconsin’s Max Klesmit scored a game-high 19 points, his highest output since transferring to Wisconsin prior to last season, while Steven Crowl paired 16 points and eight rebounds in the win. 

  • Northwestern’s Boo Buie was named Big Ten Player of the Week after recording 27.0 points, 8.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game as Northwestern went 2-0 this week, which included an overtime win over No. 1 Purdue. Buie posted 31 points, 9 assists and 0 turnovers along with two steals and four rebounds in a 92-88 overtime win over No. 1 Purdue, becoming the only high-major player in the country to post at least 31 points, nine assists with no turnovers in a game since at least 2010. Buie is also the first B1G player with at least 30 points and nine assists in a game since Denzel Valentine had 30 and 13 for Mich. St. against Indiana on Feb. 14, 2016. Buie also scored 23 points and added seven assists, two rebounds and one steal in an 89-67 win over Northern Illinois.

  • Iowa’s Owen Freeman has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the third time this season. Freeman scored a career-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the win over North Florida. He also had five rebounds, five blocks (three in the matter of seconds on a single possession) and three steals in the game. His five blocks were the most for the program since Keegan Murray had five blocks against Longwood in 2021.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Iowa head coach Fran McCaffrey stands just six 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... Maryland head coach Kevin Willard is just four wins shy of his 300th career victory. Willard will become the league’s fifth active coach with 300 career wins and join his father, Ralph, who amassed 336 wins as a coach at Western Kentucky, Pitt and Holy Cross. Willard would join Virginia’s Tony Bennett as the only active coaches with 300 wins whose fathers also have 300 victories.

  • The Big Ten boasts some of the top defensive teams in the country. Four teams rank in the NCAA’s top 31 in scoring defense, led by Rutgers, who 58.4 points allowed per game ranks sixth, and Illinois, who ranks seventh (58.6). Michigan State and Maryland rank 26th and 31st, respectively. Four teams also list in the top 20 in field goal defense, led by Illinois, who leads the nation allowing its opponents to shoot just .339 from the field. Michigan State (.361) and Rutgers (.364) list fifth and seventh, while Nebraska (.375) checks in at 17th. 

  • Eight Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-50 in the Kenpom rankings. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by Wisconsin (#15), Illinois (#16), Michigan State (#19), Ohio State (#24), Iowa (#40), Northwestern (#48), and Michigan (#49). The conference’s eight teams are one behind the Big 12 for the most teams in the top 60. The SEC also has eight entrants, one more than the BIG EAST and two more than the Pac 12. 

  • Entering tonight’s action, seven Big Ten teams rank in the NCAA’s top 50 in toughest future schedule. Michigan ranks 14th, as its future opponents own a .736-win percentage (131-47). Purdue sits at 19th (.718), followed by Indiana in 22nd (.714), Wisconsin in 32nd (.702), Michigan state in 36th (.695), Nebraska in 43rd (.687), and Ohio State tied for 49th (.676).

  • More than one million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including more than 820,000 fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-25 in average attendance. Indiana leads the league with 15,471 fans per game, eighth in the country. The Hoosiers are followed by Wisconsin (15,334), Purdue (14,876), and Michigan State (14,797) in ninth, 10th, and 11th places, respectively. Illinois (14,343) and Nebraska (14,110) check in at 13th and 14th, while Maryland’s 12,4695 fans are good for 21st. In total, 11 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.