Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 8, 2013

Tonight?s the night when Michigan aims to win its first national championship since Glen Rice shot the Wolverines to the top in 1989. Gotta start daily link there. It has been 24 years since ?interim? head coach Steve Fisher led Michigan to the Promised Land. Since then, the school has been through four coaches, one scandal and some bad basketball.

Will it be Trey Burke?s last game as a Wolverine? Probably. And, if it is, he?ll leave Ann Arbor as an all-time great alongside Cazzie, Glen and Tarpley.

Before reading this, know this: Graham Couch is a columnist for the Lansing State Journal, the home paper of the Spartans. Are you ready? He doesn?t think Michigan?s rise under John Beilein is a threat to Michigan State.

Really? This is called ?whistling in the grave yard.? I think a writer in, say, Ann Arbor may disagree. How can the rise of Michigan be good for Michigan State? And, therefore, if it is not good for Michigan, it has to be bad and a threat, right? At the very least, life for Tom Izzo and the Spartans was a lot easier when Michigan was floundering.

Did you know Rick Pitino almost became Michigan coach? It?s true. Check it outBut, Pitino opted to take the Louisville job. Michigan went on to hire Tommy Amaker and, well, you know the rest.

Well looky who Michigan State legend Mateen Cleaves is picking in tonight?s big gameNice to see Mateen pick with his head and not his heart.


No doubt, Minnesota is taking a risk in hiring a 30-year-old coach who has one year of head coaching experience and whose biggest selling point is his last name. Marcus Fuller of the St .Paul Pioneer Press wonders if the hire will be Minnesota A.D. Norwood Teague?s legacy.

Of course it will be. This is a massive risk. But, it?s a massive risk worth taking if you are Teague.


Iowa?s season ended with an NIT title game loss to Baylor. But the enthusiasm and excitement for next season already is buildingThis team loses only Eric May. That?s it. This team may not win the Big Ten, but at the very least it should be a major factor.


Terry Hutchens of the Indianapolis Star has an idea to revive the iconic Indiana-Kentucky series: Play the game in Louisville.

What?s not to like about that idea? Brilliant. Other possible non-conference foes for the Hoosiers proposed by Hutchens: Kansas and UCLA, which of course is now coached by Steve Alford. This must happen.


Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star puts a post mortem on Indiana?s season. What went wrong in that Sweet 16 loss to Syracuse?

In short, Crean didn?t think Indiana made enough free throws and was plagued by 18 turnovers. Oh, and he didn?t mention that the backcourt duo of Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell didn?t score.

Nebraska?s spring game was Saturday. And, by all accounts, it was a rousing success played before over 60,000 adoring fans. Check out this video of Bo Pelini discussing the goings-on.

The offense looked great. The defense? Well, let?s just call it a ?work in progress.? Yes, that sounds about right.

Speaking of Nebraska, here is a nice look at how the school?s travel expenses have grown since joining the Big Ten.

But, as the story so deftly points out: In the economics of conference realignment, additional revenue from renegotiated TV deals — and in the Big Ten?s case, its own TV network — more than makes up for added travel costs.


It was bad news for Wisconsin when it was announced that senior defensive end David Gilbert?s career was finished because of a foot injuryGilbert was a solid pass rusher. With him gone, players like Brendan Kelly and Tyler Dippel must step up. And incoming recruits Alec James and Chikwe Obasih may need to help right now.


The first four months on the job for Purdue coach Darrell Hazell have been a whirlwind. Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal-Courier offers a look inside.

No doubt, Hazell?s arrival has been a breath of fresh air in West Lafayette. Once again, there is optimism, which was in short supply at Purdue the past few seasons.


Penn State is through eight spring practices. And Bill O?Brien says the quarterback race between Steven Bench and JC transfer Tyler Ferguson is evenBut, honestly, does it really matter? The race won?t really begin until Christian Hackenberg arrives.


Would Michigan State consider running a two-quarterback system?

Hmmm. I hate them. You know the adage: If you have two quarterbacks, you have none. The great Mike Griffith of does a great job breaking down three key things Michigan State needs to do this spring to make a run for the roses. In addition to figuring out the quarterback derby, MSU needs to find a running back and eliminate the big plays on defense. I have faith in Mark Dantonio figuring this out after a disappointing 7-6 season.



My take: Indeed. Nebraska led the Big Ten with 35 turnovers last year-and it still won 10 games. Pretty amazing.

My take: Yes, I have seen and heard enough about the ruinous ?Fab Five? era. Let?s celebrate this year?s team.

My take: More reason why each likely will go pro.

My take: We shall see.

My take: The Big Ten is long overdue. Since then, schools from the ACC (Duke, Maryland, North Carolina); Big East (Syracuse, UConn); SEC (Florida, Kentucky); Big 12 (Kansas) all have won national championships.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, 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.

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