media source avatar
Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 2/6/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
link picture

Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central: Feb. 6-8

page picture





  • With just over a month left in the regular season, the Big Ten standings remain jumbled. While Purdue sits atop the standings at 10-2, while Illinois and Wisconsin remain within striking distance at 8-3. Michigan finds itself at the bottom of the standings at 2-9, with Rutgers and Ohio State at 3-7 and 3-8, respectively. The other eight teams in the league sit between 6-5 and 5-6.   

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Congratulations to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo who tied Bobby Knight’s mark of 504 Big Ten Conference games coached on Saturday. Izzo could break the mark on Tuesday, when the Spartans visit Minnesota.

  • 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 moved up to No. 10 in the AP and 12 in the coaches poll. Wisconsin slipped to No. 11 in the AP list, while the coaches placed the Badgers at No. 9. Michigan State collected votes in both polls, while the coaches also recognized Northwestern.

  • Purdue’s Zach Edey was named Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 4. The honor is the third of the season and 10th of his career, tying Ohio State’s Evan Turner (2008-10) for the most Player of the Week honors in a career. The Boilermakers’ big man averaged 24.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.5 assists in leading Purdue with wins over Northwestern and No. 6 Wisconsin. Edey shot 11-14 from the floor and paired 30 points and 15 rebounds, while playing 41 minutes of a 105-96 overtime win over Northwestern. He added 18 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocked shots to lead the Boilermakers to a 75-69 win at Wisconsin in a battle for the top spot in the Big Ten standings. 

  • Minnesota’s Cam Christie was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after scoring15 points, including 10 in the second half, as the Gophers erased a nine-point deficit to top Northwestern 75-66 in overtime. Christie hit a three-pointer with 44 seconds left in regulation to give Minnesota its first lead since the 9:10 mark of the first half. win at Michigan.

  • Purdue’s Zach Edey has been named to the John R. Wooden Award® presented by Principal® Late Season Top 20 Watch List, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced on Tuesday. Edey, who also won the award after the 2022-23 season, is looking to become the award’s first repeat winner since Ralph Sampson in 1982 and 1983.

  • On Wednesday, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame named Ohio State’s Jamison Battle to the 2024 Julius Erving Top 10 list. Named for the Class of 1993 Hall of Famer and 16-year professional basketball player, the award, in its 10th year, recognizes the top small forwards in Division I. Battle would join Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (2016) as the Big Ten’s only recipients of the honor.

  • Purdue’s Zach Edey and Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia have been named to the 2024 Naismith Hall of Fame Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Top 10 List, recognizing the top center in Division I. Edey, who won the award in 2023, joined Iowa’s Luke Garza (2020, 2021), Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ (2019), and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsy (2015) as previous Big Ten award recipients. 

  • Eight 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 Wisconsin and Illinois sit at Nos. 13 and 14, respectively, followed by No. 22 Michigan State, No. 52 Nebraska, No. 59 Northwestern, No. 60 Iowa, and No. 67 Ohio State. The Big 12 leads the nation with 11 top-70 entrants, two more than the Big East and SEC, while the Big Ten has eight, one more than the ACC.

  • The Big Ten has faced 105 Quad 1 opponents and a combined 174 Quad 1 and 2 opponents, most of any power conference in the country. The Big Ten’s 33 Quad 1 wins are third, behind the Big 12 (42) and the Big East (34), while its 76 combined Quad 1 and 2 wins are tops in the nation, five clear of the ACC and eight better than the Big 12.

  • 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 (#10), Wisconsin (#12), Michigan State (#17), Nebraska (#46), Northwestern (#50), Iowa (#51), and Maryland (#53). The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 teams in the top-60, one more than the Big East, while the Big Ten and SEC have eight each. 

  • According to KenPom, the Big Ten currently owns a 108.3 efficiency rating, highest in the country among power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) and seventh highest overall. It is the highest among the power conferences since at least 1999. In that time, only one other conference, the Big East reached a 108 rating (2018). 

  • In Big Ten play, teams are protecting their home floors to the tune of a 68.4 win percentage (52-24), fourth best home winning percentage among all conferences. The Big Ten’s 52 home conference victories are the most of any league in the nation. 

  • Nine Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-65 of the ESPN Basketball Power Index (BPI) listing. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 13 Illinois, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 44 Northwestern, No. 45 Iowa, No. 52 Nebraska, No. 61 Maryland, and No. 65 Ohio State. Twelve 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 (4,580), fifth in total points (23,562), and fifth in field goal percentage (47.75). Eleven teams average north of 75.0 points per game, led by Purdue’s Big Ten-best 85.3 points, which ranks eighth in the country, eight spots better than Iowa (84.2 points). Seven teams also rank in the top-60 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue at 49.4 percent. Minnesota (47.7), Indiana (47.7), Iowa (47.6), Northwestern (47.5 percent), Michigan State (47.4), and Wisconsin (47.1) also rank in the nation’s top 55. 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 third with a 1.87 ratio, while Northwestern (1.78), Michigan State (1.73), Purdue (1.59), 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 63.4 points per outing, good for 12th nationally, followed by Michigan State, allowing just 65.3 points, Rutgers at 66.0, and Wisconsin at 67.8. Six Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 60 in field goal percentage defense. Michigan State leads the way, holding its opponents to 39.6 percent shooting, a tick above Rutgers (40.2 percent), Nebraska (40.4), Maryland (40.6), and Illinois (41.0). Maryland also ranks 14th in the country with 5.4 blocked shots per contest, just ahead of Rutgers’ 5.1 blocks per game, 20th in the country, while Penn State forces a league-best 15.73 turnovers per game, 15th 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 23.1 points per game, fourth in rebounds per game (11.7), and third in double-doubles (16), while his 239 free throw attempts lead the nation and 170 free throws made rank second. Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins leads the nation with 7.8 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith’s 7.3 are good for fourth. Smith’s 167 dimes lead the country, four spots above Hawkins with 156. Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton leads the country with a 4.62 assist/turnover ratio. (NOTE: Michigan State’s Tre Holloman’s ratio is 4.2, but he is three assists shy of qualifying for the NCAA statistics.) Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.0 blocked shots per game rank fourth in the country, just ahead of Ohio State’s Felix Okpara whose 2.48 blocked shots are good for eighth, while Penn State’s Ace Baldwin Jr.’s 2.82 steals per game rank sixth.  

  • More than 3.5 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including more than 2.1 million fans in our 14 home venues. Seven Big Ten teams rank in the top-20 in total attendance. Indiana leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the country with 228,457 fans through 14 games. Nebraska (213,985), Illinois (207,651), and Michigan State (207,158) also rank in the top 10, sitting at fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively. 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.