MEN’S BIG 10 BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK

• The Big Ten currently has six teams in the Associated Press Top-25 poll, including four teams in the top 10 and three teams in the top 5. The conference made history on Monday, Feb. 15, when Michigan (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 4) and Illinois (No. 5) became the first trio of Big Ten teams ever to be ranked in the top five of the AP poll at that stage of the season since the AP began publishing its poll in 1949. This week, Iowa was voted No. 5 in the poll and has become the fourth Big Ten team to earn a top-5 AP ranking in the last month. 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, Illinois and Iowa all moved up in the AP‘s March 1 poll, with Michigan improving from No. 3 to No. 2, Illinois moving from No. 5 to No. 4 and Iowa jumping from No. 9 to No. 5. Ohio State maintains its top-10 status at No. 7 and Purdue re-entered the poll for the first time since Feb. 8 by claiming the No. 23 spot.

• As of March 1, the Big Ten has four teams in the NCAA NET Ranking’s top 10, including two in the top 5, and is one of just two conferences to have multiple teams in the top 10 (Big 12 with 2). Michigan (No. 2), Iowa (No. 5), Illinois (No. 6), Ohio State (No. 8) and Wisconsin (No. 24) all cracked the NET’s top 25. Additionally, 13 of the Big Ten’s 14 teams (.929 pct.) appear in the top 100.

• As of March 1, KenPom’s rankings include four Big Ten teams in the top 10 in Michigan (No. 2), Iowa (No. 5), Illinois (No. 6) and Ohio State (No. 7). Wisconsin (No. 11) and Purdue (No. 13) sit just outside the top 10, while Maryland (No. 26) just missed the top 25. The Big Ten owns 40.0 percent of KenPom’s top 10 and 46.2 percent of its top 13, while 10 of the conference’s 14 teams (.714 pct.) appear in the top 40 of the overall rankings.

• By conference, the Big Ten ranks 1st in the nation in NET and 2nd in RPI (.5601). The Big Ten’s RPI trails only the Big 12 (.5735). 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 February 25, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and Michigan head coach Juwan Howard were named to the 2021 Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Late Season Watch list. Howard has now registered 23 conference wins in his first two seasons with the Wolverines, marking the most conference wins by a Michigan head coach in his first two campaigns (according to @BTNStatsGuys). 

• Minnesota’s Marcus Carr scored 41 points last week at Nebraska, tying for the third-highest single-game total in Gopher history. Carr’s 41-point output was the highest single-game scoring performance for the Gophers since 1972. Carr has now recorded four 30-plus point games on the season, which is the highest number of such games by a Gopher in a single season in the last 10 years and the fourth-most in a single season in Minnesota program history (according to @BTNStatsGuys).

• Nebraska’s Teddy Allen notched 41 points on Feb. 23 vs. Penn State, marking the most points scored in a Big Ten game by a Husker in program history.

• The Big Ten has now had three different players score 40-plus points in a game this season: Minnesota’s Marcus Carr (41 at Nebraska, 2/27/21), Nebraska’s Teddy Allen (41 vs. Penn State, 2/23/21) and Iowa’s Luka Garza (41 vs. Southern, 11/27/20).  

• Last week, Michigan State recorded back-to-back wins against then-ranked No. 5/No. 4 Illinois and then-ranked No. 4/No. 5 Ohio State. The victories over the Illini and the Buckeyes marked the first time in program history that the Spartans have defeated two teams ranked in the top 5 of the AP poll in the same week.

• Luka Garza currently ranks third in the nation in scoring (24.3 ppg), while Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu is tied for 14th (21.0 ppg). Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn owns the third-best field goal percentage in the country (66.8) and has registered the second-most double-double in the NCAA this season (15).

• 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.