Courtesy: Big Ten Conference
Conference play continues this weekend with all 14 teams in action. Four matches will be carried on BTN and the remaining matches will stream live on BTN Plus. The Big Ten will feature two top-10 matchups on BTN this week.
• For the sixth week in a row, seven Big Ten programs claimed spots in the latest AVCA poll, with five teams ranked among the top 10: No. 3 Minnesota, No. 4 Penn State, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 7 Illinois, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 13 Michigan and No. 17 Purdue.
• Ten Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 60 of the NCAA RPI: No. 3 Illinois, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 10 Michigan, No. 11 Penn State, No. 12 Nebraska, No. 16 Purdue, No. 37 Ohio State, No. 44 Iowa and No. 54 Indiana.
• Based on past opponents’ winning percentage, four Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 15 for toughest schedules in the nation. The Illini are fourth, Wisconsin is eighth, while Penn State and Purdue are No. 13 and No. 14, respectively.
• Big Ten teams currently obtain four of the top-20 positions on the national team hitting percentage list. Minnesota leads the conference at No. 4 with a .303 hitting percentage, Wisconsin (.292) is sixth, Illinois (.274) is 16th and Nebraska is No. 18 in the NCAA, boasting a .273 team hitting percentage.
• Big Ten teams occupy eight of the top-25 positions on the national blocks per set rankings. Penn State is No. 3 with 3.05 blocks per set. Nebraska (2.86) is ninth and followed by Rutgers at No. 10 with 2.83 rejections per set. Michigan State ranks 13th with 2.81, Indiana (2.71) is No. 17, Wisconsin is 21st (2.68), Illinois is 22nd (2.65) and Minnesota is No. 23 with 2.63 blocks per set.
• Four Big Ten teams currently hold top-25 spots nationally in kills per set. Minnesota ranks third with 15.12 kills per set, Michigan is 13th with 14.29, Wisconsin is No. 14 with 14.23 and Illinois is No. 21 with 14.12 kills per set.
• Big Ten students currently occupy five of the top-20 spots nationally in hitting percentage. Minnesota’s Taylor Morgan leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally with a .416 hitting percentage. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke is No. 12 hitting a clip of .405. Michigan State’s Naya Gros is 17th with a .396 percentage, Nebraska’s Lauren Stivrins (.396) is No. 18, and Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli is No. 20 hitting a clip is .387.
• Four Big Ten students rank in the top-25 positions for blocks per set. Nebraska’s Callie Schwarzenbach leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally, averaging 1.64 blocks per set. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke is sixth with 1.56. Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli (1.43) is No. 17 and Penn State’s Serena Gray is No. 22 with 1.40 blocks per set.
• Four active Big Ten coaches have recorded at least 600 career wins: Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,261), Nebraska’s John Cook (707), Michigan State’s Cathy George (636) and Michigan’s Mark Rosen (610). Rose ranks first among active Division I coaches in career victories, while Cook ranks 10th, George is 15th and Rosen is No. 18.
• Based on average attendance, the Big Ten currently has nine of the nation’s top 25 programs, including the top three spots. Nebraska leads the nation, averaging 8,147 fans per contest, Wisconsin is second with 7,052 and Minnesota is third at 5,236. Penn State checks in at No. 7 with 3,595, Michigan State is 10th with 2,633, Ohio State is 16th with 2,348, Iowa is 18th with 2,282, Purdue is 19th with 2,169, and Illinois is No. 20 with 2,169 patrons per contest.
• The 2018 Big Ten volleyball television package features 39 contests televised live, with 33 of those matches airing live on BTN, and highlighted by eight doubleheaders. Six other matches will be carried live on ESPNU. This week, Rutgers at No. 4 Penn State, Maryland at No. 17 Purdue, No. 5 Nebraska at No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 5 Nebraska at No. 3 Minnesota will be featured live on BTN.