Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, January 22, 2014

Big game tonight, Hoop Heads: Iowa at Michigan. And the Hawkeyes? Roy Devyn Marble has some extra motivation. ?I?m trying to knock a couple of teams off the bucket list,? said Marble, a senior and Michigan native who has never won at Michigan or Michigan State during his Iowa career. ?I got both of them at home. I want to get them (on the road). It?s an important game because it?s the next one. Each game is important when you?re in the race to win a Big Ten championship.?

This should be a barn-burner with lots of points and full-court action.


How about those Northwestern Wildcats?! They aren?t pretty, but they are winning. If you are scoring at home, NU is 3-4 in the Big Ten after a double-overtime win vs. Purdue last night. That?s three wins in the last four games for the Wildcats. How is NU doing it? Ah, forget it. Just enjoy!

Iowa comes to Evanston on Saturday. You know what that means ?


The struggles continue for Indiana. Yes, the Hoosiers put up a gallant effort at Michigan State last night. But, a loss is a loss.

Eighteen turnovers for IU proved too costly. On a positive: It was good to see Jeremy Hollowell play after missing the last three games for undisclosed reasons.


Big Ten Standings (as of 1/22)
Conference Overall
Michigan State 7-0 18-1
Michigan 5-0 13-4
Iowa 4-1 15-3
Wisconsin 3-2 16-2
Minnesota 3-3 14-5
Purdue 3-3 13-6
Northwestern 3-4 10-10
Ohio State 2-4 15-4
Illinois 2-4 13-6
Indiana 2-4 12-7
Nebraska 1-4 9-8
Penn State 0-6 9-10
View Full Standings

Indiana has company on the Misery Train with Purdue, which lost one of the ugliest games in Big Ten history last night at Northwestern. During the broadcast, BTN analyst Seth Davis said Boilermakers big man A.J. Hammons recently told him that he doesn?t love basketball. I don?t think I need to type any more. If you can stomach it, Purdue Pete, check out this video of what Purdue beat writer Nathan Baird learned about the loss that ended the Boilers? three-game winning skein.

I learned this: Purdue just isn?t very good. And, there really is no excuse for the struggles.


Is Michigan coach John Beilein one of the top coaches of our generation? Iowa?s Fran McCaffery thinks so.

Whoa! Yes, Beilein is good. But one of the best of our generation? Let?s all thank McCaffery for another lesson in how to butter up your opponent.

The Michigan State machine keeps rolling on. The latest victim was Indiana, which put up a fight in the Breslin Center. No, the Spartans weren?t impressive. But, they rarely have been this season. All they do is win, now sporting a nifty 18-1 record (7-0 Big Ten)–even sans Adreian Payne, who missed a fourth consecutive game with a foot injury. Credit Gary Harris, who continues to show why he?s one of the top players in the Big Ten. So, in two games vs. the Hoosiers this season, the Indiana native has scored 26 and 24 points.

Next up for MSU: A monster game vs. Michigan. Make sure you watch this one.


Ohio State has issues, as evidenced by its four-game losing skid. Chief among the problems is offense. Outside of LaQuinton Ross, this team struggles to score. Point guard play from Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott also has been spotty, with turnovers being an issue. Even the defense-especially around the rim–has sprung some leaks.


Remember mercurial Minnesota wideout Andre McDonald, who arrived on campus amid great hype but flamed out quickly amid suspensions? Well, he has landed at Division III Wisconsin-River Falls. And the suspensions he incurred at Minnesota were for smoking weed.

McDonald was considered one of the top recruits in the Gophers' 2012 recruiting class and played in eight games that fall before getting suspended for the bowl game. McDonald returned to the team last August but got suspended again, this time for the season.


The Wisconsin hoop team needs to study up on how to play defense. What has happened? The Badgers no doubt miss the interior presence of Jared Bergerren and Ryan Evans, as opponents are able to attack the rim.


So, some people are mad because James Franklin has flipped five Vanderbilt commits to Penn State? Big whoop.

All is fair in love, war and recruiting. Anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves-and usually playing in a bowl game in Detroit or Shreveport.



My take: Yep, pretty sad.

My take: Sounds about right.

My take: Yes, you have to wonder what type of shape Payne is in after missing multiple games.

My take: I would like to see Rayvonte Rice play football, too.

My take: That?s a big reason why this team is unbeaten in Big Ten play.

My take: I guess I thought Payne would find a way to play vs. Michigan. It?s gonna be interesting.

My take: The guy has great size for a corner to match up with those big, physical NFL wideouts.

My take: This would be ?false.?

My take: Hey, you have to play to your strengths.

My take: C?mon. Dream bigger than that!

My take: Impressive.

My take: #smh


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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