media source avatar
Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 12/28/2023, Last updated: 3/15/2024
link picture

Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Dec. 28-Jan. 1

page picture





  • After a four-day hiatus for the Christmas holiday, the Big Ten teams resume their schedules tonight, as Maryland hosting Coppin State. Nine teams will see action on Dec. 29, with Dec. 30 marking the final day of nonconference contests. There will be no games on Dec. 31-Jan. 1, with conference play set to resume on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

  • 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 No. 11 and 9, respectively, with Wisconsin sitting at No. 23 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. 

  • With 12 conference games in the books, the Big Ten has returned to nonconference action through the end of the 2023 calendar year. Four teams, Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois, and Wisconsin are a combined 5-0 on the young season, while Iowa and Michigan State both stand at 0-2. The league’s final nonconference contests are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30, with a return to Big Ten action slated for Tuesday, Jan. 2.

  • The Big Ten improved to 105-36 in nonconference action after the short week. B1G teams have gone a combined 105-36 in non-conference action this season. Their 105 wins ranked 5th most among all conferences behind the Big 12 (130-33), SEC (119-47), Atlantic 10 (118-59), and ACC (115-45). However, their .745-win percentage lists behind only the Big 12 (.798). Among the B1G’s 105 victories are 9 wins over AP Top 25 opponents, which was tied for the most of any conference in the nation.  

  • In last week’s 69-60 win at UCLA, Maryland’s Jahmir Young netted a career-best 37 points on 13-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, along with 7-of-9 at the free-throw line, adding seven rebounds, three assists and a steal in 37 minutes He is one of just 10 players to score at least 37 points in a game this season. Young’s 37 points were the third most by a Terrapin in any game this century and the second highest total by an opponent at Pauley Pavilion since 1993.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Maryland head coach Kevin Willard became the fifth active coach in the Big Ten to reach the 300-win plateau with last week’s victory at UCLA. Willard joins his father, Ralph, who amassed 336 wins as a coach at Western Kentucky, Pitt, and Holy Cross. Willard joined Virginia’s Tony Bennett as the only active coaches with 300 wins whose fathers also have 300 victories... Iowa head coach Fran McCaffrey stands just four 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 Steve Izzo enters Saturday’s game against Indiana State with 695 wins. Izzo is on the verge of becoming the 10th active coach in Div. I to record 700 career victories.  

  • Nine Big Ten teams rank in the top-75 in Thursday’s NET rankings. Purdue’s No. 4 ranking is tops in the league, while Illinois and Wisconsin sit at Nos. 10 and 14, respectively, followed by No. 28 Ohio State, No. 36 Michigan State, No. 57 Nebraska, No. 63 Iowa, No. 68 Michigan, and No. 71 Northwestern. The Big 12 boasts a nation-leading 10 top-75 entrants, while the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC have nine each, one more than the Big East. 

  • The Big Ten leads the nation with 17 Quad 1 wins and is tied for second with 27 Quad 1and 2 wins through games on Dec. 27. Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State are four of just 16 to have faced at least five Quad 1 opponents, while the Boilermakers, Badgers, and Spartans are three of 12 in the country to play at least seven teams in Quads 1 and 2. Only the Big Ten, SEC and SWAC have multiple teams to face at least five quad 1 opponents.

  • The Big Ten boasts some of the top defensive teams in the country. Four teams also list in the top 20 in field goal defense, led by Illinois, who holds opponents to .374 shooting, good for eighth in the nation. Michigan State (.379) ranks 14th, followed by Rutgers (.380) in 16th, and Nebraska (.379) in 18th. Five clubs also rank in the top 40 in scoring defense, led by Rutgers, who allows 61.7 points per game, 13th in the country. Northwestern (63.1) ranks 23rd, followed by Michigan State (63.7), Ohio State (64.1), and Maryland (64.2) in 33rd, 36th, and 38th, respectively. In total, nine teams give up 67.0 or fewer points per game. 

  • Offensively, the Big Ten also ranks among the best in the nation. The conference ranks fourth in points per game (77.0) and field goal percentage (.462), while its 2,499 assists rank third. Three Big Ten teams, Purdue (87.3 ppg), Iowa (86.6), and Michigan (83.8) rank 10th, 12th, and 31st in scoring offense, while Purdue (.497), Minnesota (.495), and Michigan (.492) sit in 17th, 22nd, and 27th, respectively, in field goal percentage. 

  • Big Ten players also rank in the top-10 in several individual statistical categories. Purdue’s Zach Edey ranks third in the country with 24.0 points, while Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr.’s 21.7 points are good for 10th. Edey also ranks 10th in rebounds (10.4) and seventh in double-doubles (7). Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins (7.6) and Purdue’s Braden Smith (6.7) stand second and 10th in assists per game. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.45 blocked shots per game are good for second, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.67 steals per game are good for 10th. 

  • Nine Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-60 in the Kenpom rankings. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by Illinois (#9), Wisconsin (#14), Michigan State (#21), Ohio State (#27), Michigan (#47), Nebraska (#54), Northwestern 9#56), and Iowa (#57). The conference’s nine teams are two behind the Big 12 for the most teams in the top 60. The ACC, Big East, and SEC have seven entrants 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. 12 Illinois, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 22 Michigan State, No. 32 Ohio State, and No. 46 Northwestern. All 14 Big Ten teams also rank in the outlet’s top-50 Remaining Strength of Schedule listing.

  • More than 1.71 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including more than 1.15 million fans in our 14 home venues. Eight Big Ten teams rank in the top-26 in total attendance, including three in the top five. Nebraska leads the league with 126,743 fans through nine games, third in the country. Indiana (126,296) and Michigan State (118,376) rank fourth and fifth, respectively. Wisconsin (103,592) and Illinois (100,085) check in at 14th and 15th, with Purdue (89,256) and Maryland (86,282) landing at 22nd and 23rd, while Ohio State (78,933) sits at 26th. In total, 12 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.