MEN’S BIG 10 BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK

• The Big Ten 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 Associated Press Top-25 poll this late in a season since the AP began publishing its poll in 1949. 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. The last time the Big Ten had three teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP 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)

• 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 multiple 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 leads all conferences with eight student-athletes on the Midseason Team, while the Big 12 ranks second with five. 

• As of Feb. 15, the Big Ten has four teams in the top 10 of the NCAA NET Rankings and is the only conference to have multiple teams in the top 10. The Big Ten has a major presence in the NET with 13 of its 14 teams (.929 pct.) appearing in the top 100 and five teams in the top 25: Michigan (No. 3), Illinois (No. 4), Ohio State (No. 7), Iowa (No. 8) and Wisconsin (No. 18). Purdue (No. 23) and Rutgers (No. 25) both cracked the NET’s top 30. 

• As of Feb. 15, 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 currently sits just outside the top 10 at No. 13, while Purdue (No. 22) cracked the top 25, and Rutgers (No. 26) and Indiana (No. 29) round out the top 30. The Big Ten owns 40.0 percent of KenPom’s top 10, while 11 of the conference’s 14 teams (.786 pct.) appear in the top 40 of the overall rankings. The Big Ten’s nine teams in the top 40 lead all conferences, including the Big 12’s six teams.

• By conference, the Big Ten ranks 1st in the nation in NET and 2nd in RPI (.5701). The conference’s RPI trails only the Big 12 (.5794). 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.

• On Jan. 23, the University of Michigan Athletic Department paused athletic activities in all sports in response to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services decision surrounding COVID-19. The Wolverines returned to the court on Sunday, Feb. 14, for the first time since defeating Purdue on Jan. 22. Following its 22-day layoff, Michigan defeated then-ranked No. 21/No. 21 Wisconsin 67-59 to improve to 14-1 on the season and 9-1 in Big Ten play. Senior forward Isaiah Livers led Michigan with 20 points, while adding seven rebounds. Freshman center Hunter Dickinson resumed his dominant play with 11 points, a career-high tying 15 rebounds and a career-high five blocks. The performance marked the fourth double-double of Dickinson’s career. 

• After pushing then-ranked No. 6/No. 6 Illinois to the brink on Friday in a 72-77 overtime loss, Nebraska secured its first Big Ten win of the season with a 62-61 victory at Penn State on Sunday. Junior guard Teddy Allen led the Huskers in both points (14) and rebounds (six), and made the game-winning bucket with 12 seconds remaining to give Nebraska the win.

• No. 4/No. 4 Ohio State owns the longest current winning streak in the Big Ten (six games) and finished the week 2-0 with wins over Maryland and Indiana. The Buckeyes’ 73-65 win over the Terrapins marked Ohio State’s fifth-consecutive Big Ten road win dating back to the team’s Jan. 9 win at Rutgers. The last time Ohio State won more than five Big Ten road games in a season was in 2010-11 when they earned six-straight road wins. The Buckeyes finished the week with a 78-59 win vs. Indiana during which junior forward Justice Sueing recorded his fifth career double-double — and fourth this season — with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

• No. 5/No. 5 Illinois is riding a five-game winning streak and currently boasts a 10-3 record in Big Ten play, which marks the Illini’s best record through 13 conference games since 2005. With a 77-72 overtime win at Nebraska, Illinois has now won four-straight Big Ten road games, which is Illinois’ longest such streak since the Illini set a school record with 13-straight Big Ten road wins between Feb. 3, 2004 and Feb. 19, 2005. Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu recorded his fourth 30-plus point game of the season by scoring a Big Ten single-game career-high 31 points. Teammate Kofi Cockburn registered a double-double in the victory (21 points and 13 rebounds) and has now recorded a double-double in nine of his last 10 games. Cockburn ranks second in the NCAA this season with 14 double-doubles, trailing only Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor (16). Cockburn has registered the most double-doubles by an Illini player since Mike Davis had 15 in 2010. Additionally, Cockburn ranks third in the country in field goal percentage (67.9 pct.).

• Iowa ranks third in the country in scoring offense (87.4 ppg) and second in assists per game (19.8), while leading the country in assist-turnover ratio (2.11). Illinois ranks fifth in the country in rebound margin (10.2). Defensively, Michigan ranks third in the nation in opponent field goal percentage (37.5 pct.).