Courtesy: Big Ten Conference
Conference play continues this weekend with all 14 teams in action. Four matches will be carried on BTN, one will be aired on ESPNU and the remaining matches will stream live on BTN Plus. The Big Ten will feature a top-15 matchup on BTN and ESPNU this week.
• For the seventh 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. 6 Illinois, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 12 Michigan and No. 17 Purdue.
• Eleven Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 60 of the NCAA RPI: No. 3 Illinois, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 11 Michigan, No. 13 Purdue, No. 14 Penn State, No. 15 Nebraska, No. 45 Ohio State, No. 46 Iowa, No. 58 Northwestern and No. 60 Indiana.
• Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke was named the AVCA Division I National Player of the Week, after earning her third career Big Ten Player of the Week accolade on Monday. The sophomore middle blocker guided the Badgers to a pair of wins against No. 5 Nebraska and Iowa last weekend. Rettke averaged 3.6 kills per set, a .531 hitting percentage and 1.62 blocks per set.
• Based on past opponents’ winning percentage, six Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 20 for toughest schedules in the nation. The Illini are third, Wisconsin is ninth, Northwestern is 14th, Minnesota is 16th, Purdue is 17th and Nebraska is No. 18.
• 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 .299 hitting percentage, Wisconsin (.284) is 10th, Illinois (.273) is 14th and Penn State is No. 20 in the NCAA, boasting a .265 team hitting percentage.
• Big Ten teams occupy six of the top-25 positions on the national blocks per set rankings. Penn State is No. 5 with 2.96 blocks per set. Michigan State (2.78) is 12th and Rutgers is No. 16 with 2.74 rejections per set. Nebraska ranks 18th with 2.73, Wisconsin is 21st (2.68) and Indiana is No. 24 with 2.63 blocks per set.
• Four Big Ten teams currently hold top-25 spots nationally in kills per set. Minnesota ranks third with 15.15 kills per set, Illinois is 12th with 14.29, Michigan is No. 17 with 14.10 and Wisconsin is No. 18 with 14.09 kills per set.
• Big Ten students currently occupy six of the top-30 spots nationally in hitting percentage. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally with a .419 hitting percentage. Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli is No. 15 hitting a clip of .392. Michigan State’s Naya Gros is 24th with a .381 percentage, Penn State’s Kaitlyn Hord is 26th with .379, Minnesota’s Taylor Morgan is 27th (.379) and Nebraska’s Lauren Stivrins (.379) is No. 28.
• Three Big Ten students rank in the top-20 positions for blocks per set. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke leads the conference and is ranked sixth nationally with 1.57 blocks per set. Nebraska’s Callie Schwarzenbach ranks ninth nationally, averaging 1.51 blocks per set and Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli is No. 19 with 1.42 blocks per set.
• Four active Big Ten coaches have recorded at least 600 career wins: Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,263), Nebraska’s John Cook (707), Michigan State’s Cathy George (636) and Michigan’s Mark Rosen (611). 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 ten 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 5,284. Penn State checks in at No. 6 with 3,429, Michigan State is 11th with 2,633, Ohio State is 15th with 2,348, Iowa is 18th with 2,282, Illinois is 19th with 2,253, Purdue is No. 21 with 2,188 and Michigan is No. 25 with 1,715 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, No. 9 Nebraska at Ohio State, Northwestern at Iowa, No. 3 Minnesota at Michigan State and No. 7 Wisconsin at No. 12 Michigan will be featured live on BTN. No. 6 Illinois at No. 9 Nebraska will be live on ESPNU.