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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 1/2/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central: Jan. 2-5

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  • With the completion of nonconference play on Saturday, the Big Ten will turn its collective focus to conference action through the remainder of the season. The action resumes with three games tonight, as Iowa visits Wisconsin (7 p.m.) and Purdue at Maryland (7 p.m.), while Illinois will host Northwestern at 9 p.m. Four teams, Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois, and Wisconsin are a combined 5-0 on the young season, while Iowa, Michigan State, and Rutgers are seeking their first conference wins. 

  • 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.

  • 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... 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 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 this week’s action with 696 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-80 in Tuesday’s NET rankings. Purdue’s No. 3 ranking is tops in the league, while Illinois and Wisconsin sit at Nos. 12 and 17, respectively, followed by No. 29 Michigan State, No. 33 Ohio State, No. 63 Nebraska, No. 67 Iowa, No. 72 Northwestern, and No. 79 Michigan. The Big 12 and ACC lead the nation with 11 top-80 entrants, while the Big Ten, and SEC have nine each, one more than the Big East.

  • The Big Ten leads the nation with 15 Quad 1 wins 38 Quad 1and 2 wins through games on Jan. 1. Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State are four of just 10 to have faced at least five Quad 1 opponents, while the Boilermakers, Badgers, Wolverines, and Spartans are four of 13 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. Rutgers leads a trio of Big Ten teams in the top-25 in scoring defense. The Scarlet Knights surrender just 61.4 points per game, good for 11th in the nation, while Northwestern (63.1) and Maryland (63.4) sit 21st and 25th, respectively. Four teams also list in the top 20 in field goal defense, led by Nebraska and Rutgers, who hold their opponents to .374 to rank sixth and seventh in the country, followed by Illinois (.375) in 10th, and Michigan State in 15th (.384). Nebraska (.281), Purdue (.285), and Penn State (.289) also rank in the top-35 in field goal percentage defense.

  • Offensively, the Big Ten also ranks among the best in the nation. The conference ranks third in points per game (78.0) and fourth in field goal percentage (.463), while its 2,734 assists rank third. Three Big Ten teams, Iowa (87.8 points per game), Purdue (86.8), Michigan (83.2), and Illinois (82.9) rank ninth, 12th, 35th, and 38th, respectively, in scoring offense, while Purdue (.499), Minnesota (.496), Indiana (49.3), and Michigan (.485) sit in 18th, 22nd, 29th, and 39th, respectively, in field goal percentage.

  • Big Ten players also rank in the top-10 in several individual statistical categories. Purdue’s Zach Edey ranks fourth in the country with 23.2 points per game and seventh in double-doubles (7). Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins leads the nation with 7.6 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith (6.7) stands ninth. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.42 blocked shots per game are good for third, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.69 steals per game rank 10th. A trio of Big Ten players also rank among the top six in assists/turnover ratio, as Michigan State’s Tre Holloman (5.12), Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton (4.82), and Iowa’s Dasonte Bowen (4.56) sit fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively.

  • Eight Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-60 in the Kenpom rankings, including five in the top-30. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by Illinois (#10), Wisconsin (#14), Michigan State (#20), Ohio State (#29), Nebraska (#53), Iowa (#54), and Northwestern (#58). The conference’s eight teams are two behind the Big 12 and tied with the Big East and SEC for the most teams in the top-60.

  • 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. 23 Michigan State, No. 31 Ohio State, and No. 50 Iowa. All 14 Big Ten teams also rank in the outlet’s top-50 Remaining Strength of Schedule listing.

  • More than 1.86 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including nearly 1.3 million fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-20 in total attendance, including three in the top six. Indiana leads the way with 142,985 fans through nine games, third in the nation. Nebraska (141,730) and Michigan State (133,173) rank fourth and sixth, respectively. Illinois (115,629) checks in at 12th, with Purdue (104,132), Wisconsin (103,592), and Maryland (97,173) sit 17th, 18th, and 19th.  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.