Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 17, 2014

Michigan and Michigan State had been immune to most of the zaniness that has come to define this Big Ten season. But all that ended on Sunday for the league?s first-place teams.

First, the Wolverines got dumped at home by Wisconsin. Michigan never really was in the game, trailing 35-19 at halftime. Caris LeVert was excellent, but Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas have to do more. They combined for 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting. And neither hit a three-pointer.


The Badgers? Frank Kaminsky was an unstoppable force, notching 25 points and 11 rebounds. He made sure the slow start that doomed Wisconsin in its loss to Michigan earlier this season didn?t repeat itself.


Next, the Spartans got dumped at home by unranked-but-surging Nebraska. This was an even more shocking development than Michigan?s defeat. MSU blew a chance to take control of the Big Ten race, as the Wolverines lost earlier in the day. Tom Izzo says Nebraska just wanted the game more, setting the tone early. That?s oversimplification. Was Izzo out-coached by Tim Miles? He said so.


In stunning Michigan State, Nebraska has won three in e, a row and five of six games. Among the victims have been Minnesota, Indiana and MSU.

Could Nebraska make a run to its first NCAA tourney since 1998? At the least, the Huskers (6-6 in the Big Ten) look like a NIT squad. But let?s put the Huskers on the NCAA bubble.


What?s it all mean? Michigan and Michigan State remain tied for first in the Big Ten with a big showdown vs. each other in Ann Arbor on Sunday.

Still, keep an eye on Iowa. It was the big winner on Sunday without playing a game. The Hawkeyes are lurking in the weeds, just behind the Spartans and Wolverines in the loss column.


Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette says Illinois is still fighting. That?s well and good. And it may be true. But, the results largely are the same: losses.

Thirty-nine points? In 40 minutes of action? That?s all Illinois could muster on its home court in a loss to Ohio State on Saturday. After the game, John Groce said ?our offense was anemic.?

Yep. And that?s being kind.


Ohio State pushes on despite its poor shooting, bouncing back from that loss at home to Michigan with a win at Illinois. But, even in victory, the Buckeyes? shooting woes persist.

The good news: There is help on the way in incoming players like Keita Bates-Diop and D?Angelo Russell.


Big win for Purdue on Saturday, as the Boilermakers ended a four-game losing streak to Indiana. Making the end to the streak even sweeter was the fact Purdue didn?t just beat the Hoosiers-it whipped them by 18. And Boilermakers icon Joe Barry Carroll was on hand to watch. Check out the photos.

Just last season, IU won at Purdue by 37 points. So, this was quite a turnaround. A 55-point swing, to be exact. The Boilers have won two of three games. And Michigan State visits West Lafayette on Thursday coming off an upset home loss to Nebraska. Are you thinking what I?m thinking?


My take: Incredible.

My take: It could happen.

My take: Yes. On the bubble.

My take: Tom Izzo teams out-toughed? Wow.

My take: Good idea.

My take: Roy Devyn Marble may be front-runner now.

My take: Deep and overrated. Perfect.

My take: Oh, it?ll happen.

My take: Drought over.

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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