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Big Ten CommunicationsPublished: 1/9/2024, Last updated: 3/15/2024
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Big Ten Weekly Men's Basketball Central - Jan. 9-12

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  • Purdue, Illinois, and Wisconsin continue to represent the Big Ten in this week’s top-25 polls. The Boilermakers remain at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week, while Illinois falls to No. 10 in both polls and the Badgers move up to 15. Michigan State and Northwestern also garnered attention in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls, while the media also recognized Ohio State.

  • 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.

  • Illinois’ Marcus Domask was named Big Ten Player of the Week, presented by Air National Guard, for the week of Jan. 1-7. Domask averaged 29.0 points, 5.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 59.4% from the field, 66.7% from 3-point range, and 90% from the free-throw line, as the Illini split a pair of games. Overall, Domask accounted for 49% of Illinois’ offense during the week, combining for 58 points while assisting on an additional 27. The graduate student shot 11-15 from the floor and 9-10 from the free throw line for 32 points in a victory over Northwestern, then scored a game-high 26 points while playing all 40 minutes in a loss at No. 1 Purdue.

  • Iowa’s Owen Freeman was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the same period, collecting his fifth honor of the season. Freeman averaged 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks as the Hawkeyes went 1-1 on the week. The freshman shot 7-9 and paired 14 points, a game-high 13 rebounds, and three blocks in a loss at No. 21 Wisconsin before posting 15 points on 5-7 shooting en route to 15 points, four rebounds and two blocks in a win over Rutgers. For the week Freeman shot 75 percent (12-16) from the floor and 83.3 percent (5-6) from the free throw line.

  • MILESTONE WATCH... Congratulations to Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery who earned his 127th Big Ten win on Saturday, breaking a tie with Tom Davis for most in program history. McCaffery remains one win from tying Davis on the program’s all-time wins list... 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 Wednesday’s home game against Wisconsin. His 135 victories in Columbus are fifth most in program history. 

  • Eight Big Ten teams rank in the top-75 in Tuesday’s NET rankings, including four in the top 30. Purdue’s No. 2 ranking is tops in the league, while Illinois and Wisconsin sit at Nos. 9 and 13 respectively, followed by No. 28 Michigan State, No. 44 Ohio State, No. 58 Nebraska, No. 68 Iowa, and No. 71 Northwestern. The ACC leads the nation with 11 top-75 entrants, one more than the Big 12 while the Big East and SEC have nine each, three more than the Pac 12.

  • The Big Ten ranks second in the nation with 21 Quad 1 wins, just two behind the Big East. The Big Ten also owns a combined 36 Quad 1 and 2 victories, tied with the ACC for third in the country behind the SEC’s 40 and the Big East’s 37.

  • The Big Ten ranks among the nation’s best conferences on both sides of the hardwood. Offensively, 11 teams average north of 75.0 points per game, led by Iowa’s Big Ten-best 86.7 points, which ranks ninth in the country, six spots north of Purdue (85.2 points). Six teams also rank in the top-50 in the country in field goal percentage, led by Purdue’s 49.3, good for 22nd. Indiana and Minnesota shoot 48.9 percent from the floor, 29th and 31st nationally, followed by Indiana (49.2 percent), Michigan State (48.4), Michigan (48.1), and Illinois (47.9). Much of that offensive efficiency stems from taking care of the ball, as five team list in the top-25 in assists/turnover ratio. Northwestern leads the league and ranks fourth in the country with a 1.9 ratio, while Iowa’s 1.86 is good for eight. Michigan State (1.67) checks in at 13th, followed by Minnesota (1.61) and Purdue (1.57) in 18th and 21st.

  • Defensively, the Big Ten boasts 10 teams that hold their opponents to below 68.0 points per game, led by Maryland, who surrenders just 63.7 points per outing, good for 27th nationally, followed by Rutgers, who  ranks 31st, allowing just 64.2 point. Four Big Ten teams also rank in the nation’s top 30 in field goal percentage defense. Illinois tops the conference, holding its opponents to 38.2 percent shooting, 10th in the country. Rutgers ranks 16th at 38.8 percent, while Michigan State and Nebraska hold opponents to 39.0 percent. The Scarlet Knights also rank 10th in the country with 5.9 blocked shots per contest, while Penn State forces a league-best 16.67 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 22.3 points per game, eighth in rebounds (10.6), and sixth in double-doubles (9), while his 149 free throw attempts and 112 free throw makes rank first and fifth in the NCAA. Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins ranks second in the nation with 7.8 assists per contest, while Purdue’s Braden Smith (6.7) stands eighth. Two Big Ten players, Michigan State’s Tre Holloman and Ohio State’s Bruce Thornton sit second and fourth in the nation with 5.33 and 4.64 assist/turnover ratios. Defensively, Rutgers’ Clifford Omoruyi’s 3.36 blocked shots per game are good for third. 

  • Seven Big Ten teams currently rank in the top-60 in today’s Kenpom rankings, including five in the top-36. Purdue leads the way at No. 2, followed by Illinois (#7), Wisconsin (#12), Michigan State (#20), Ohio State (#36), Nebraska (#529), Iowa (#53), and Northwestern (#56). The Big 12 leads the nation with 10 teams in the top-60, two more than the Big Ten and SEC, while the 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. 16 Wisconsin, No. 19 Michigan State, No. 36 Ohio State, and No. 49 Iowa. All 14 Big Ten teams also rank in the outlet’s top-51 Remaining Strength of Schedule listing.

  • More than 2.2 million fans have watched Big Ten basketball this season, including nearly 1.5 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. Indiana tops the Big Ten and ranks second in the nation with 159,569 fans through 10 home contests. Nebraska (155,176) and Michigan State (147,490) rank fourth and fifth, with Wisconsin (134,372) and Illinois (130,748) in 10th and 11th, respectively. Purdue (119,008) sits in 17th with Maryland (111,487) in 20th. In total, 13 Big Ten schools rank in the top 55.

  • 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.