10 Big Ten stories you should read today

A huge win for Michigan State last night at Iowa City. I didn’t think the Spartans could prevail without Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson in that hostile environment vs. that talented Hawkeyes squad.

What’s more, MSU was coming off a tough home loss to Michigan. What would be its mind-set? No worries. The Spartans took care of business in what may be the program’s most impressive league triumph in two seasons. And that’s saying a lot.

What a tough-as-nails Michigan State team this is, a squad that personifies its coach like few others. By the way, this ended Iowa’s 20-game home winning skein and was the Spartans’ seventh win in a row vs. Iowa. Check out this video of Tom Izzo talking about the win.

What to make of Iowa? Before playing host to Michigan State last night, Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery said to win the Big Ten, you’ve got to go through Michigan State. Well, that failed—for now.

It was a great chance for Iowa to make a statement. And, it may have needed to win if it wanted to claim the Big Ten. Yes, Iowa is still alive to win the crown. But the Hawkeyes are 5-3 in the Big Ten; Michigan is 7-0; MSU is 8-1. There is work to do for a program that hasn’t won a Big Ten regular-season crown since 1978-79!!! Looking ahead to March and an NCAA seed, Iowa really doesn’t have many impressive wins, with a victory at slumping Ohio State being the best. No shock to see McCaffery talk in the post-game aftermath about the need for his team to have more toughness.


Big Ten Standings (through 1/28)
Conference Overall
Michigan 7-0 15-4
Michigan State 8-1 19-2
Iowa 5-3 16-5
Wisconsin 4-3 17-3
Minnesota 4-4 15-6
Ohio State 3-4 16-4
Purdue 3-4 13-7
Indiana 3-4 13-7
Northwestern 3-5 10-11
Nebraska 2-5 10-9
Illinois 2-6 13-8
Penn State 1-6 10-10
View Full Standings

Saw this at NBCSports.com: Michigan’s Nik Stauskas is No. 5 on a Player of the Year Power Poll.

This is amazing, as no one saw this kind of a breakout coming from Stauskas back in October. Purdue coach Matt Painter thinks Stauskas is the best player in the Big Ten. Yes, I think that’s pretty obvious.


Super Bowl Sunday will have special meaning for Wisconsin fans, with Russell Wilson quarterbacking Seattle and Montee Ball running for Denver. You’ll enjoy this read. It’s difficult to not want to root for each guy on Sunday. Wilson is a personal favorite of mine.


Ready for the 2014 NBA Draft? Ok, neither am I. Still, here is a mock draft. And, if there’s one thing America likes, it’s mock drafts.

Indiana’s Noah Vonleh is going No. 6 to the Kings; Michigan State’s Gary Harris is No. 8 to the Cavaliers. Poor guys.


With Philip Nelson gone—likely to Rutgers or Kansas State–Mitch Leidner’s role on the Minnesota football has changed. It looks like his quarterback job to lose.

I think he’ll do just fine. But I wanna see what some of the young signal-callers look like this spring, especially Chris Streveler.


A stunning report of sorts came out recently when it was reported that Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons was booted from school before the bowl game.

What is odd is the incident that led to this took place in Nov. 2009. It all apparently came to a head this November when Gibbons didn’t play vs. Ohio State for what Brady Hoke called a “muscle problem.” Gibbons didn’t make the trip to the bowl game, with Hoke saying Gibbons was dealing with a family matter in Florida. Talk amongst yourselves about this.



My take: Crazy, isn’t it?

My take: No. A GREAT win.

My take: I am not gonna disagree.

My take: I was amazed, too.

My take: I don’t see this happening.

My take: I guess I am surprised the number is that high.

My take: So impressive.

My take: Gotta hit the freebies.

My take: No way Purdue beats Michigan State. The Boilermakers have struggled since air was pumped into the first basketball this season. Little progress.


About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
Doug on 1/29/2014 @ 11:24am EDT Said:

hey Andy Garman, Iowa shot 43 free throws, that’s why they had a chance to win, too bad they missed a bakers dozen of them, ball don’t lie !!!!!! hey Jeff Washburn, Purdue plays at Michigan thursday, why are you talking about MSU or don’t you consider a victory vs michigan significant? hey jeff potrykus Iowa shot 43 free throws and only hit 30 of them, not 24 of 36…. finally, this is why izzo is the best coach in the big and one of the best in the nation !

lefty on 1/29/2014 @ 12:14pm EDT Said:

Hey Doug Who died and made you God?

Tim on 1/29/2014 @ 4:31pm EDT Said:

Iowa missed A LOT of shots and that is what cost them the game. FT’s have been their downfall all season and is the reason they racked up the 4 loses to Nova, ISU, Wisco and last night to Sparty. Nothing Izzo did in that game was coaching except for his legacy which is why McCabe didn’t get the call when the MSU player jumped on his back and why Gesell didn’t get the call on the final drive. Fran complains and gets a T for coming out of the coaching box and then less then 5 mins later Izzo does the same thing and nothing happens. Fran just has to earn his dues! Hawks beat themselves and that is all there is to it!

Chris on 1/29/2014 @ 4:54pm EDT Said:

Hey Doug… No way. Izzo is no longer the best in the B1G. You must admit that what Beilein has done to the Michigan program is bordering on miraculous with what he has done there. Izzo… No. Beilein… you would have a good argument.

Doug on 1/29/2014 @ 7:39pm EDT Said:

hey lefty, I worship God every day, who’s your team? Hey Chris, Beilein has done a good job with Michigan, but what Izzo has done at MSU and continues to do, he is still the best.