Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 12, 2014

Getting named Coach of the Year by his Big Ten peers was sweet for Nebraska?s Tim Miles. Maybe even better: His contract calls for him to get a $50K bonus for it. That?ll buy a lot of Runza?s. But his contract stipulates Miles will get the loot for being ?consensus? Coach of the Year. John Beilein was voted the honor by league media. Hmmmm. Regardless, Miles still expects to cash in.

Speaking of Beilein, here is a nice story on the Michigan boss, who truly is uncomfortable with the attention/praise that comes from earning individual honors. Yet another reason to love the guy.


It was sad to see the career of Purdue big man Jay Simpson end recently because of a heart ailment. Jeff Washburn of Boiler Sports Report/ has a nice piece detailing Simpson?s plight.


Who should be Michigan State?s go-to guy? Tom Izzo knows who it should be, and I agree: Keith Appling.

Without a doubt, the senior point man needs to step up in March if the Spartans want to achieve some lofty expectations that had many penciling them in for the Final Four back in November.

"In (Keith) Appling we've got a guy who's good enough to do it, he's done it before," Izzo said. "The question is whether he can regain that. And that's what I'm going to shoot for this week. I still think the ball has to be in his hands.

"I think people can take away a play for Gary Harris or take away something for Adreian Payne. I think most people — if you look at Duke, Kansas, Michigan, maybe the exception in our league would be Wisconsin — but 95 percent of the teams are trying to get some dribble drive where you could possibly get a foul or where you could possibly get somebody to help and kick open for an open shot."

How big is this upcoming Big Ten tourney? Izzo calls it ?my most important Big Ten tournament.? Wow.


Scary times for Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, whose 13-year-old son has a tumor. Keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

On a much, much lighter note: Hawkeye players say they have lost their swag. Sounds about right, as Iowa has lost five of its last six games. Defense and rebounding have been major issues in the swoon.

Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette points out that the breakdowns have been plentiful in both zone and man defenses. They ranged from over-helping to improperly defending screens to slow rotations to on-ball defense to not closing out for rebounds. The Hawkeyes were outrebounded just three times in their first 25 games. Iowa has been outrebounded in five of its last six games. Enough said. Is it too late to get back on track? Nah.


If Penn State is offered a CBI bid, it will accept it. Why not?


Michigan State recently had pro day. Here is a nice behind-the-scenes video of the event. You?ll even see Mike Mayock talk.


Good stuff here from Eleven Warriors: Urban Meyer hired Chris Ash to run his defense, specifically wanting Ash to fix Ohio State?s Cover 4 defense. Great graphics/video included. Believe me, you?ll be smarter after reading this.

Michigan spring practice is in full swing. Lots on the to-do list. Among them: Improving a woebegone rushing attack. Running backs Derrick Green and De?Veon Smith want to change that. Of course, the line will have to play a big part in that.



My take: Hindsight is great.

My take: Popular guy.

My take: This is a start.

My take: OK then.

My take: Nice list in what will be an interesting first spring for Penn State coach James Franklin.


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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