Latest Tom Dienhart News

Today's links: 3 contenders remain

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Where were you when LaQuinton Ross hit that impossibly long three-point shot with 2.1 seconds left that propelled Ohio State to the Elite Eight? What a dagger. So, if you are scoring at home, that’s two last-second, game-winning shots in a row by the Buckeyes—Aaron Craft did the honors vs. Iowa State in the third round. Gotta start daily links right there. Here’s a video of Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the shot heard ‘round the Buckeye State.

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Collins hire an anomaly among Big Ten coaching moves

Northwestern hiring of Duke assistant Chris Collins as the school’s new men’s basketball coach has created a buzz in college hoops circles. Many love his pedigree, youth and energy. Collins sizzles with potential. Do you smell it? Could the thirtysomething wunderkind lead the Wildcats out of the wilderness of basketball hopelessness and to their first NCAA tourney ever? Collins will be hailed a hoop savant if he does so.

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Quick Hit: Another late trey keeps OSU alive

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For the second game in a row, Ohio State needed a last-second shot to pull out victory. Aaron Craft did the honors vs. Iowa State in the third round. This time, LaQuinton Ross threw the dagger that killed Arizona to lead the Buckeyes to their 11th victory in succession.

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Today's links: All eyes on Hoosiers, Buckeyes

The Sweet 16 kicks off tonight, with No. 2 Ohio State playing No. 6 Arizona in the West and No. 1 Indiana tangling with No. 4 Syracuse in the East. Let’s start daily links there. Each team survived hair-raising third-round games to advance. Are they teams of destiny?

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Dienhart: Big Ten Sweet 16 previews

Deshaun Thomas

2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Analysis: Ohio State vs. Iowa State

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The dust has cleared and only 16 teams are standing in the NCAA tourney—four of them are Big Ten schools. The league more than acquitted itself in the opening three rounds of the Big Dance, forging a 10-3 mark from the seven teams that competed.

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Today's links: Tracking opinions of Gophers' move

Norwood Teague

Minnesota Announces Tubby Smith Firing

The firing of Minnesota coach Tubby Smith resonated across Big Ten country and the nation, and most of the reaction was negative. So, I have to start daily links right there—even with postseason basketball in full churn. Legendary columnist Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Gophers haven’t had much success hiring big-time coaches. He’s correct, but why stop trying? And am I the only one in the galaxy who knows Smith was 46-62 in Big Ten games at Minnesota?

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Dienhart: 'It's Shaka Smart or bust'

Tubby Smith

Minnesota Announces Tubby Smith Firing

Tubby Smith did many good things while head coach at Minnesota. He won some big games, advanced the program to three NCAA tourneys and two NITs in six years on the job. But, the school decided today that all of that wasn’t enough. Smith was fired. Now what for the Golden Gophers, who join Northwestern as Big Ten schools in search of a coach?

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Quick Hit: Spartans imposed will on Tigers

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For the fifth time in the last six seasons, Tom Izzo and Michigan State are headed to the Sweet 16. The Spartans clinched their latest regional semifinal berth by dispatching Memphis, 70-48, Saturday afternoon.

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Quick hit: What 'Havoc?' Michigan rolls VCU

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Many experts thought VCU’s “Havoc” defense would give Michigan fits. Not so much. The Wolverines, despite committing 12 turnovers, steamrolled the previous Cinderella program, 78-53, en route to becoming the first team to advance to the Sweet 16.

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Quick hit: Gophers turn it around

Minnesota vs UCLA

2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Analysis: Minnesota vs. UCLA

The Gophers often found easy access to the rim, hitting 50 percent of their shots. And Minnesota was on fire from beyond the arc, hitting 9-of-16 (56 percent). No doubt, UCLA missed injured star freshman Jordan Adams, as the Bruins had a short rotation. Still, Minnesota deserves credit.

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Quick hit: Craft keys Buckeyes' blowout

Ohio State vs Iona

2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Analysis: Ohio State vs. Iona

The Buckeyes shot lights out throughout the game, hitting 50 percent in the first half en route to building a 43-33 edge at intermission. For the game, Ohio State knocked down 48 percent of its shots. Aaron Craft was all over the court, impacting in a variety of ways. Sound familiar? The junior defensive demon had seven steals and seven assists, while also chipping in four points. And he played his usual suffocating defense, helping force 19 turnovers. A 10-point game at halftime quickly became a glorified scrimmage in the second half, with the Buckeyes notching an eye-popping 52 points after intermission in this lopsided opening NCAA triumph.

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Quick hit: Illini do it the hard way

Colorado vs Illinois

2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Analysis: Illinois vs. Colorado

It was defense that boosted Illinois to victory on this day. Illinois was especially stingy in the first half, which it allowed only 21 points and closed the final 7:05 of the half on a 13-0 run to take a 37-21 halftime edge. And the Illini showed an ability to withstand adversity in the second half, squandering a 16-point halftime lead and falling behind 44-39 with 9:00 left. But Illinois stayed composed and regained the lead, finishing the game on an 18-5 run.

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Quick hit: Indiana flexes,wins easily

Indiana vs James Madison

2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Analysis: Indiana vs. James Madison

This game basically was over at tipoff, as Indiana outclassed James Madison—which had to win a play-in game to advance—in every facet of the game. It was a nice tune-up for the Hoosiers, who were just 3-3 in their six games entering the Big Dance after getting bounced by Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Big Ten tourney. Indiana shot very well, hitting 52 percent of its shots and 39 percent from 3-point range. And IU dominated on the glass, 40-29.

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Quick hit: Badgers' shooting goes cold

Wisconsin vs Mississippi

Badgers Talk About Ole Miss Loss

The Badgers never got into an offensive rhythm, shooting an abysmal 25 percent (15-of-59) overall and 23 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-30) in the 57-46 loss to Ole Miss. Credit Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who deftly switched between a zone and man defense. That disrupted the Wisconsin shooters, who never got on track. The Badgers led at halftime, but Ole Miss ripped off 17-5 run early in the half to take a 47-41 lead with 3:26 left. The Rebels never looked back and cruised to victory.

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Today's links: Another big tourney day

We had to wait until close to midnight for our first big upset of the NCAA tourney, with No. 14 Harvard shocking No. 3 New Mexico. What will Day Two bring? Hopefully not an upset for No. 1 Indiana, which takes its first step toward a national championship today vs. James Madison. And, it’s Final Four or bust for a Hoosiers team that has some pressure on it. But, it’s embracing it.

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Quick hit: Burke struggles but Michigan wins

Mar 21, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Trey Burke (3) moves the ball on South Dakota State Jackrabbits forward Tony Fiegen (34) in the first half during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Wolverines on Win over South Dakota State

The matchup between Trey Burke and South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters was much hyped but it  didn’t pan out, as both players struggled. Burke missed his first eight shots and didn’t sink his first bucket until the 12:46 mark of the second half. The sophomore hit just 2-of-12 shots and finished with a season-low six points, failing to reach double-figures for the first time this season. Still, No. 4 seed Michigan handled No. 13 seed South Dakota State, 71-56.

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Reader mail: My NCAA tournament edition

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to reach into my mailbag and answer your pressing questions. Lots of good questions this week, as usual. Yes, spring football is heating up. But with March Madness here, hoops are on your mind. So, let’s start there.

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