Big Ten Men’s Basketball News: February 22-28

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• The Big Ten currently has five teams in the Associated Press Top-25 poll, including four teams in the top 10. The conference made history on Monday, Feb. 15, with Michigan (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 4) and Illinois (No. 5) becoming the first trio of Big Ten teams ever to be ranked in the top five of the AP poll this late in a season since the AP began publishing its poll in 1949. Previously, the closest any Big Ten trio came to being ranked in the top five of the poll on either Feb. 15 or later was Purdue (No. 3), Indiana (No. 4) and Iowa (No. 6) on March 2, 1987. (Research courtesy of Big Ten Network)

• Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois all held their positions in the AP‘s Feb. 22 poll and were joined in the top 10 by Iowa, who moved from No. 11 to No. 9. Prior to this week, the last time the Big Ten had at least three teams ranked in the top 10 of the poll this late in the season was March 5, 2018: Michigan State (No. 4), Michigan (No. 7) and Purdue (No. 10). (Research courtesy of Big Ten Network)

• As of Feb. 22, the Big Ten has four teams in the NCAA NET Ranking’s top 10, including three in the top 5, and is the only conference to have multiple teams in the top 10. Michigan (No. 3), Illinois (No. 4), Iowa (No. 5), Ohio State (No. 7) and Wisconsin (No. 20) all cracked the NET’s top 20. Additionally, 13 of the Big Ten’s 14 teams (.929 pct.) appear in the top 100.

• As of Feb. 22, KenPom’s rankings include four Big Ten teams in the top 10 in Michigan (No. 3), Iowa (No. 4), Illinois (No. 5) and Ohio State (No. 7). Wisconsin (No. 13) sits just outside the top 10 while Purdue checks in at No. 17. The Big Ten owns 40.0 percent of KenPom’s top 10 and 33.3 percent of its top 15, while 11 of the conference’s 14 (.786 pct.) teams appear in the top 50 of the overall rankings.

• By conference, the Big Ten ranks 1st in the nation in NET and 2nd in RPI (.5640). The Big Ten’s RPI trails only the Big 12 (.5778). The Big Ten recorded a 70-14 record (.833 pct.) in non-conference play, marking the highest non-conference winning percentage by any conference in the NCAA.

• The Division 1 Men’s Basketball Committee revealed its top 16 teams and seeds on Saturday, Feb. 13. Michigan ranked No. 3 overall and Ohio State ranked No. 4 overall, with both teams earning No. 1 seeds. Illinois checked in at No. 5 and earned a No. 2 seed, while Iowa ranked No. 13 and was named a No. 4 seed. The Big Ten is the only conference to earn multiiple No. 1 seeds and is also the only conference to secure both a No. 1 seed and No. 2 seed. The rankings and seeds reflect games played through Friday, Feb. 12.

• Marcus Carr (Minnesota), Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Hunter Dickinson (Michigan), Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois), Luka Garza (Iowa), Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana), E.J. Liddell (Ohio State) and Trevion Williams (Purdue) were all named to the Naismith Trophy 2021 Midseason Team. The Big Ten led all conferences with eight student-athletes on the Midseason Team, while the Big 12 ranked second with five.

• Luka Garza, who currently leads the nation in scoring (24.7 ppg), scored his 2,118th career point on Sunday to break Iowa’s all-time scoring record. Garza surpassed the previous record of 2,116 points set by Roy Marble (1986-89, 134 games) and did so in just 119 career games. Additionally, Garza passed Marble for the most made field goals in program history (799).

• The Big Ten took center stage on Sunday with a nationally-televised matchup between No. 3/No. 3 Michigan and No. 4/No. 4 Ohio State. The Wolverines prevailed in a back-and-forth contest to improve to 16-1 on the season and 11-1 in the Big Ten. The win marked Michigan’s first victory at Ohio State in seven years. Michigan finished with five players scoring in double figures and were led by standout freshman center Hunter Dickinson (22 points and nine rebounds) who earned his seventh Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor following the performance. Despite dropping the contest by a narrow margin of 87-92, Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr. was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after leading all scorers with a career-high 30 points.

• No. 5/No. 4 Illinois is riding a conference-best seven-game winning streak and currently boasts a 12-3 record in Big Ten play, which marks the Illini’s best record through 15 games since 2005. Illinois has now won five consecutive road games during Big Ten play (at PSU, at NW, at IND, at NEB, at MINN), marking its best stretch since a school record 13-game Big Ten road winning streak from Feb. 3, 2004 through Feb. 19, 2005. Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu notched his second triple-double of the season in Illinois’ win over Minnesota (19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Dosunmu became the first player in Illinois history to record two triple-doubles in the same season. According to Illinois, Dosunmu is one of just five major conference players to record multiple triple-doubles in the same season since since 2010 (Ethan Happ, Dennis Smith, Denzel Valentine and Draymond Green).

• The 24th Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 10-14, 2021, with the city of Indianapolis playing host to the event for the 12th time. All 14 conference schools will participate in the tournament, which tips off Wednesday, March 10, with first-round games between the No. 12 and 13 seeds, and the No. 11 and 14 seeds. The No. 5-10 seeds will begin tournament play with second-round games on Thursday, March 11, while the four highest-seeded teams following regular-season play will earn first- and second-round byes and make their tournament debuts in the quarterfinal round on Friday, March 12. The semifinals will take place Saturday, March 13, with the championship game slated for Sunday, March 14.

COURTESY THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE


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