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Big Ten Geeks: Left Hanging

America’s High Five was locked out of the Final Four, as both Michigan State and Michigan fell in the Elite 8. And while each team lost for very different reasons, it was peculiar that both games came down to the other team scoring three points after the defense forced a contested heave from 23 feet. In Michigan State’s case, those three points came at the foul line after Keith Appling committed the cardinal sin of fouling a three-point shooter. It was a nightmare game for Appling, who recorded a mere 2 points to go along with 4 turnovers and 5

#BTNLive asks: What tourney outcome surprised you most?

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you can vote in our ongoing series of Big Ten social media polls for our weekday show #BTNLive. On tonight’s episode of #BTNLive at 6 p.m. ET, our experts discuss this question: Which NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament result surprised you the most this weekend? The choices: #WISCWon, #MSULost,  or #MichLost How do you vote via social media? It’s simple. On Twitter, just use any of the above hashtags and we will tabulate them. On Facebook, go to BTN’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/BTN) and post your chosen hashtag there. There’s another very easy way to vote

Merriman: Remember Appling's career for all he did right

Upset. Frustrated. Disappointed. Those are some tough words to describe a 22-year-old kid. That’s exactly what Keith Appling was when he committed to play basketball for Tom Izzo back in August 2008. A tough, gritty kid from inner-city Detroit, Appling came to Michigan State because he wanted to play in a Final Four – an experience that every four-year player under Tom Izzo had experienced until this season. Appling arrived in East Lansing with monumental expectations. A McDonald’s All-American, the guard gave MSU fans a taste of what was to come in the 2009 Michigan High School Basketball Championship game,

Dienhart: Unfinished business for Michigan State

And just like that, Michigan State’s season is over. Finished. Kaput. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. But, in some ways, this seems like a fitting end to season that forever will be marked by what-ifs. It was the season of unfinished business. Go back to Selection Sunday. Way back then, the Spartans were the darlings of the day, the pick of many to advance to the Final Four—and some thought Michigan State would win it all despite a No. 4 seeding that everyone on the planet thought was too low. [ MORE: Kentucky drops Michigan | Dienhart: It

UConn upsets Michigan State, 60-54, in Elite Eight

(AP) Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and UConn beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the NCAA tournament. Napier hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden to carry UConn to the Final Four just as Kemba Walker did in Napier’s freshman year. The Huskies (30-8) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in

Photo: John Harbaugh dons Michigan State hat

John Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, is a former Michigan quarterback, and his brother in-law, Tom Crean, is the Indiana basketball coach. So, when the CBS cameras caught the Baltimore Raves head coach wearing a Michigan State hat during the team’s Elite Eight game Sunday afternoon, it had people talking. John seemed to be enjoying himself, too. He was seated directly to the right of Magic Johnson, after all. The next family gathering should be interesting, huh? Speaking of the Harbaughs, in recent years, Jim has visited the Hoosiers, whether it be to offer a helping hand on the bench or to

Twitter: Are Michigan, MSU fans rooting for rival?

It’s no secret Michigan and Michigan State are fierce rivals. Sometimes, however, conference pride and a chance to make rare history can supersede a rivalry. Consider this: If Michigan and Michigan State both win today, the Big Ten will be the first conference to put three teams in the Final Four since the Big East did it in 1985. So, are Wolverine and Spartan fans willing to root for their rivals for conference pride? I asked on Twitter. Yes! Let's decide it in the final! RT @BTNBrentYarina: Curious, #Michigan and #Spartan fans: Are you pulling for your rival today. #b1gpride

BTN LiveBIG: Monday download

To encourage students to engage with science in their daily lives, there was a public demonstration on campus at the University of Iowa recently. Professors at Purdue recently launched an innovative renewable energy company. This year’s recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize in Agriculture were recently announced by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food. On April 11, the University of Nebraska’s Behlen Observatory will be open to the public. Penn State 2013 Philanthropists of the Year Tracy and Ted McCourtney endowed the Penn State Institute for Democracy with a significant gift. Congratulations to Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers for advancing to the

Dienhart: Big guys lead Spartans to big win

Thank goodness for Michigan State big men Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson. Without that dynamic duo, Michigan State would have been sent packing tonight. But the Spartan tandem led the way in an emotional 61-59 win vs. No. 1 Virginia that advances Michigan State to the Elite Eight to play No. 7 UConn with a spot in the Final Four on the line. [ MORE: Michigan State tops Virginia in Sweet 16 thriller ] Dawson and Payne saved their best for last, excelling in crunch time on a night when few other MSU players stepped up. Keith Appling had two

Michigan State tops Virginia in Sweet 16 thriller

(AP) Branden Dawson had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Michigan State beat top-seeded Virginia 61-59 on Friday night to advance to East Regional final. The fourth-seeded Spartans (29-8) will play Connecticut (29-8) on Sunday with a Final Four berth at stake. The seventh-seeded Huskies beat third-seeded Iowa State 81-76 on Friday. Catch up on all the scores, photos and highlights from the game. MICHIGAN STATE 61, VIRGINIA 59 | RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY HIGHLIGHT: Michigan State slams home a dunk after a missed shot. (by @InfinitiUSA) #MarchMadness http://t.co/hxbfgaGWP8 — NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 29, 2014 HIGHLIGHT: Michigan