Latest Tom Dienhart News

Quick hits: Badgers ran their kind of show

The Badgers were able to dictate the pace, playing a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair. Michigan? It wanted to play this game in the 70s or 80s—but it never was able to get on track with its array of high-flying perimeter talent. Wisconsin shot just 38 percent but hit eight 3-pointers to Michigan’s three.

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Quick hit: Hoosiers ride strong defense

The Hoosiers came out playing rugged defense, forcing Illinois into myriad bad shots in limiting the Illini to 21 first-half points and 25.9 percent shooting and forcing eight turnovers. And that theme continued in the second half in a game that never really was that close, as Illinois shot just 34 percent and had 12 turnovers. Brandon Paul had 16 points but hit just 2-of-13 shots.

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Friday's previews: 4 more Big Ten tourney games

The opening day of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in Chicago had its fair shares of thrills. Now that four teams are headed home and four others are headed on, let’s look at all four of Friday’s tournament matchups.

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Quick hit: Iowa playing with a mission

This was no shock, as Iowa was expected to take care of business vs. the Wildcats. And, it did with efficiency. The Hawkeyes overwhelmed an undermanned Northwestern team with a balanced attack. This is a team on a mission, as Iowa fights for its first NCAA bid since 2006.  The Hawkeyes have won three in a row and four of five.

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Quick hit: Nebraska drives to big win

Time and again, Nebraska got right to the rim for easy baskets off of drives. Tim Miles’ squad shot 44.7 percent and hit 12-of-17 free throws. Conversely, Purdue shot 40 percent and hit just 7-of-14 free throws. That basically was the difference in a close game. The Huskers had a two-point halftime lead that they pushed to 11 at one point in the second half.

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Quick hit: Wolverines take care of business

Penn State stunned Michigan in State College (84-78) and gave them a tight game (79-71) in Ann Arbor. But there would be no nail-biting for Michigan in this meeting. The Wolverines trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and led by just two points at halftime. But Michigan broke open the game in the second half, shooting 33 percent from three-point range (6-of-18) for the game and hitting 19 free throws to Penn State’s five over 40 minutes.

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Quick hit: Breaking down Illinois' win

The Fighting Illini didn’t shoot well (32 percent) but forced 19 turnovers and had 21 points off of those turnovers. Early foul trouble for Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe helped Illinois, as the sixth-year senior had just eight points and played only 27 minutes. The Gophers have now lost three in a row but still appear to be a lock for the NCAA tourney.

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Preview: No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern

Iowa is the school seemingly with the most on the line in the Big Ten tourney, as it is the lone Big Ten team on the bubble. Many seem to think the Hawkeyes need to win just two games to get an at-large berth. Meanwhile for Northwestern, speculation swirls about the job status of Bill Carmody. Could this be the last game he coaches for the Wildcats? Watch the highlight from their last meeting in this post. Thursday’s game starts at approximately 9 p.m. ET

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Preview: No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Nebraska

These squads met in the first round of the Big Ten tourney last season, when Purdue prevailed. And just like the 2012 tourney, this year’s winner will advance to play Ohio State. The Boilermakers bring plenty of mojo to the United Center and could be a dangerous team capable of a run, as Matt Painter’s team is playing its best basketball of the season. See the highlights in this post from the last time these two teams played. Thursday’s game starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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Preview: No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 12 Penn State

How cruel and tough is the Big Ten? When Jordan Morgan’s last-second put back rimmed out against Indiana on Sunday and Michigan lost to the Hoosiers, the Wolverines went from being co-Big Ten champs to being the No. 5 seed in this tourney and having to play an opening-round game. Penn State has no fear of Michigan, beating the Wolverines once and almost knocking them off another. See highlights of the last time they played in this post. 

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Preview: No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Minnesota

Most every mock bracket already has these teams in the NCAA tourney. So, what are they playing for in Chicago? Probably just NCAA seeding. No doubt, more was expected from each team entering the season. So, the tourney is a new beginning and chance for redemption for these veteran teams that each went 8-10 in Big Ten action. Don’t be shocked if either one makes an extended run. See highlights of the last time they played in this post. Thursday’s game starts at noon ET and airs on BTN/BTN2Go.

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Dienhart: Is 2012-13 season best in Big Ten history?

Dan Dakich has heard the drumbeat all season: The Big Ten is the nation’s best conference. And, he’s not going to argue that notion.

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Today's links: What lies beyond Big Ten tourney?

The haze from Michigan’s loss to Indiana on Sunday seems to have lifted. In fact, Wolverines sophomore point man Trey Burke feels so good that he thinks Michigan can “definitely” go to the Final Four.

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Wow factor: Best of this B1G hoops season

It has been a season of superlatives in the Big Ten in what most feel has been one of the best seasons in conference annals. No doubt, the regular season didn’t disappoint.

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Taking one more look at NCAA mock brackets

With the major league tournaments about to start, let’s take one last look at some mock brackets to see where the Big Ten rates. Indiana remains a No. 1 seed in the four brackets I checked. And there’s nothing that can happen in the Big Ten tourney—or elsewhere, for that matter—that will change that. And a spot in the cozy Midwest Region (Dayton, Ohio; then Indianapolis) also is basically a given, too, no matter what the Hoosiers do in Chicago.

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