College Basketball Nation: Big Ten

Big Ten's 2014 ESPN television schedule

August, 28, 2013
ESPN’s 2013-14 Big Ten regular-season schedule will feature 37 conference games across the company’s family of networks.

The lineup includes top Big Ten games as part of ESPN’s weekly Super Tuesday doubleheader with the SEC. ESPN will also continue to showcase the Big Ten on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the season.

Rapid Reax: Ohio State 81, Cincinnati 66

March, 22, 2012

BOSTON -- A quick look at No. 2 seed Ohio State’s 81-66 win over No. 6 seed Cincinnati in Sweet 16 action in the East Regional at TD Garden on Thursday night:

Overview: Both teams were looking to take advantage of mismatches. Cincinnati hoped its four-guard lineup would cause problems for the bigger Ohio State lineup. Ohio State hoped its size and skill inside would prove overpowering.

Turns out, both teams were right at times.

Deshaun Thomas had scored 30 points in the paint in Ohio State’s first two tourney games, the most in the Dance. So of course the 6-foot-7, 225-pounder took his game outside on Thursday -- hitting 3 of 5 first-half 3-pointers and scoring 20 points in the opening 20 minutes.

But in the second half, the Bearcats turned up the intensity on defense and started hitting shots, their guards using their quickness to cause turnovers and score in transition. Sean Kilpatrick hit a long 2, then a 3, then another 3 and suddenly the 6-seed was back in it.

Turning point: Cincinnati scored the game’s first five points, but Ohio State scored 15 of the next 19 to take control. The Buckeyes led by as many as 13 in the first half and were up a dozen at the break.

Thad Matta’s bunch was 26-1 this season when leading at the half, so this one was in the bag, right?

Cincinnati had other ideas.

The Bearcats used a 14-2 run early in the second half to even the game at 41, then an 8-4 run to take their largest lead since the opening minutes at 49-45 with 12:13 to go.

But after Yancy Gates converted an old-fashioned three-point play to put Cincinnati up 52-48, Ohio State went back to its strength inside. Jared Sullinger got fouled in the paint and hit two free throws, sparking a 17-1 Buckeyes run that essentially ended the drama in this one.

Key player: Jared Sullinger. While Thomas fueled the Buckeyes in the first half, he wasn’t nearly as effective in the second. Luckily for OSU, Sullinger was just as effective in the final 20 minutes as he was in the first 20 minutes.

The sophomore big man followed up a 10-point, nine-rebound first half with a 13-point, 2-rebound second half to post final line of 23 and 11.

Key stats: Second-chance points and free throws.

Ohio State took advantage of its size inside, and its willingness to crash the offensive boards, to compile a 13-5 edge in second-chance points.

And while points in the paint were relatively similar (30 for OSU, 28 for Cincinnati), the Buckeyes’ banging inside helped them get to the line often. Led by Sullinger’s 9-for-10 performance, OSU shot 19-for-27 from the charity stripe on the night.

What’s next: Ohio State moves on to the Elite Eight on Saturday. The Buckeyes will face No. 1 seed Syracuse, which beat No. 4 seed Wisconsin in a thriller 64-63 in the first game Thursday.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for and a frequent contributor to Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.
College basketball might be in for a bit of conference-tournament realignment. The issue, of course, is money -- and determining where conferences and host cities can make the most of it could force a few tournament-location changes in coming years.

College basketball tournaments are multimillion-dollar moneymakers for conferences and host cities. Some cities, like Las Vegas and New York, experience a windfall every year, but others like Atlanta and Kansas City are fighting to play host to tournaments more often. Other cities are simply trying to hang on to the tournaments that call them home.

The Big East’s tournament is one of the most successful each year and is in its 30th year at Madison Square Garden. And though it’s in the first year of a five-year extension at MSG, the conference appears close to signing a deal keeping it there through 2026.

Last year, the conference saw its most-attended tournament in total attendance and ranked second, behind the ACC, in average per-session attendance.

The ACC tournament, which annually ranks first or second in total attendance and average per-session attendance didn’t sell out this year ahead of tournament play, even though games are being held in the 19,300-seat Phillips Arena in Atlanta instead of the much larger Georgia Dome. The 2001 tournament in the Georgia Dome was the most-attended conference basketball tournament in NCAA history for both total attendance (182,625) and per-session attendance (36,605).

Big 12
Ron Chenoy/US PresswireThe Big 12's tournament has rotated between Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Dallas over the past decade, and its future location is not yet set.
The result? The Atlanta Sports Council estimated a total economic impact that year of more than $31 million. But when the Georgia Dome hosted the tournament again in 2009, the impact dropped to $22.9 million.

Dan Corso, executive director of the Atlanta Sports Council, said this year’s tournament will provide greater economic impact than in 2009.

“The economic impact this year, dependent upon how many visitors attend the event, is estimated at approximately $25 million,” said Corso.

The economic impact isn’t as profound for the Big Ten tournament, although it ranks in the top five in terms of attendance each year. John Dedman, Indiana Sports Corp.’s vice president for communications, said the total for the men’s and women’s tournaments in Indianapolis this week is expected to be $12 million to $15 million. “The majority of that economic impact is on the men’s side,” said Dedman.

By comparison, Dedman said the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, which was held in Indianapolis in 2011, generated $17.7 million in economic impact.

The Big 12’s tournament has rotated between Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Dallas over the past decade. The future site is the source of much debate as Missouri leaves the conference for the SEC. The combined economic impact of both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Kansas City is $14 million.

The men’s tournament is in Kansas City through 2014, but the conference announced in November the women’s tournament would leave for Dallas in 2013 and play in Oklahoma City in 2014.

Another tournament potentially on the move is the Pac-12’s championship. Also a perennial top five in attendance in recent years, it is concluding an 11-year stint in Los Angeles this weekend. Commissioner Larry Scott confirmed this week that moving to Las Vegas or Seattle is possible, though there is also the possibility of staying in Los Angeles.

Las Vegas already hosts three conference tournaments: the Mountain West, Western Athletic and West Coast.

“We have not thought a lot about other leagues,” Scott said. “I think more about TV and what our TV windows would be and how they would match up.”

Mountain West coaches may be hoping the conference’s merger with C-USA will result in a new location for their conference tournament. The games are currently played on UNLV’s campus, which has caused some coaches concern over the possibility of a home-court advantage.

“I think it’s absolutely unfair,” San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said during this week’s coaches’ teleconference. “It’s not done in any other major conference.

The Mountain West played its tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver from 2004-06, but attendance paled in comparison to Las Vegas. The highest attended tournament in Denver drew a total of 37,300, whereas Las Vegas has averaged nearly 57,000 each of the past five years. Last year, the tournament drew a record high of 69,913.

In a 2009 study prepared for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the economic impact of the Mountain West tournament brought $6.4 million in non-gaming economic impact to Las Vegas.

Colorado State coach Tim Miles implies it’s the money that has really mattered in the choice of the host city.

“As coaches, we’ve asked for this to be changed and it’s been voted down each time,” Miles said. “When those kids get the bracket and the first thing they do is drop their head because they’re on UNLV’s side of the bracket, or they breathe a sigh of relief they’re not on UNLV’s side of the bracket, it really makes a difference.”

“You can’t tell me any of this was done in the best interest of the student-athletes.”

Pac-12, Conference USA rankings jump

February, 21, 2012
The Big Ten’s lead on the Big 12 has been cut in half and the ACC has moved securely ahead of the Mountain West in ESPN Stats and Information’s weekly college basketball rankings.
For a complete recap of how we rank the conferences, click here.

The computer portion of this week’s rankings is comprised entirely of the BPI, ESPN’s new College Basketball Power Index. The BPI team rating takes into account the game score, where the game was played, the pace of the game and whether any of the team’s top five players was missing. For a complete explanation on the College BPI, click here.

The two conferences that saw the biggest increase from the BPI are the Pac-12 and Conference USA. Neither conference has a team ranked in the Top 25 but their computer rankings increased over 15 points with our new process this week.

Wichita State
and Creighton each won on Saturday but the rest of the conference was just 2-5 in this past weekend’s BracketBusters. The Shockers are now ranked 19th in each of the Top 25 polls. However due to the improvement of the Pac-12 and Conference USA (largely because of the BPI) the Missouri Valley Conference dropped two spots from No. 8 to 10.

The Big 12 is now fewer than seven points behind the Big Ten for the top spot in the rankings. The Big 12’s computer ranking increased more than five points this week, and there are six Big 12 teams in the top 35 of the BPI, more than any other conference.

The ACC had a relatively stable week but was able to increase its lead over the Mountain West Conference for the five spot due to the MWC’s struggles. The Mountain West’s human bonus dropped in half from 11 percent to 5.5 percent, despite now having three teams ranked in the Top 25 polls.

UNLV and San Diego State were ranked in the top 15 in the human polls last week but after New Mexico beat each of them, they dropped roughly 10 spots. Though the Mountain West now has three teams ranked in each human poll, New Mexico is the highest ranked team at 18, which is why the conference’s human bonus has suffered.

Despite its win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday Murray State only improved a few spots in the human polls and the Ohio Valley Conference stayed in the No. 22 spot in the rankings.

Big Ten No. 1, Summit League makes leap

December, 20, 2011
The top 11 conferences in ESPN Stats and Info’s weekly power rankings remained the same this week, but it was the Summit League that made the biggest leap.

For a complete recap of how we rank the conferences, click here and here.

The Summit League continued its strong movement from last week and moved up four spots in this week’s rankings, largely due to two major wins on Sunday. South Dakota State, which sits on top of the Summit League at 10-4, dominated Washington 92-73.

Despite playing a depleted Xavier team, Oral Roberts scored another big win for the league when it defeated formerly eighth-ranked Musketeers 64-42 in Cincinnati. The Summit League has been a strong conference all season, amassing a .561 winning percentage against all other conferences, the 10th-best mark in Division I.

The Big Ten remained at the top of the conference rankings, although its lead over the Big 12 was nearly cut in half this week. The Big 12 will be hurt by Kansas’ loss to Davidson, but Baylor and Missouri remain undefeated. Kansas State also had a big win over another major conference team, Alabama, which will help the Big 12’s standing.

The SEC saw the biggest drop from the human polls this past week. Two teams fell out of the both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls (Alabama and Vanderbilt), leaving the conference with just three teams in each poll.

As you can see from the rankings below, the Atlantic Sun had the biggest fall this week, dropping four spots from 15 to 19.

Video: The Experts preview the Big Ten

November, 10, 2010
ESPNU's round table of experts previews this season's Big Ten:


Big Ten's Big Ten preview

November, 5, 2010
Before we get to the Blue Ribbon team-by-team previews, Eamonn Brennan is here to provide a quick -- and we mean quick -- preview of the Big Ten:

For in-depth previews of each Big Ten team, check out Blue Ribbon's breakdowns: Insider

Michigan State
Ohio State Insider Free
Penn State

More Big Ten content:
-- Eamonn Brennan's "Five Things I Can't Wait To See" in the Big Ten
-- Video: Fran Fraschilla's Big Ten breakdown Video
-- Eric Angevine's five key questions for the conference (Insider)
-- Chad Ford's breakdown of the Big Ten's top NBA prospects (Insider)
-- Former Ohio State player Mark Titus previews the Big Ten from a unique point of view … the end of the bench (Insider)
-- In our Blueblood Bounceback series, Brennan examines the long and often frustrating rebuilding process at Indiana
-- Andy Katz on Trevor Mbawke's opportunity at Minnesota
-- Dana O'Neil's profile of new Iowa coach Fran McCaffery
-- O'Neil's reaction in the wake of Robbie Hummel's season-ending injury
-- In our Summer Shootaround of the Big Ten, Doug Gottlieb predicted a surprise winner of the conference

-- For more Big Ten coverage in the Nation blog, click here.