Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 18, 2014

I have made no secret of my affinity for John Beilein. I love the fact he paid his dues by coming up the back roads of his profession, grinding his way up the ladder. He?s a terrific coach who knows how to win in March. The secret to his success? It?s right here.

It?s a good thing that Beilein is a great coach. He?s gonna need all of that acumen. Check out some of the coaches who reside in the Midwest Region with him.

Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, John Calipari ? Oh, my!


Iowa opens the NCAA vs. Tennessee in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday in a play-in game. The Hawkeyes are 2-0 all-time in Dayton, but it?s not their favorite city. In fact, playing in a four-team tourney there in Dec. 1979 may have cost Iowa a national championship.


[ MORE: bracket | Scouting B1G's NCAA draws | Postseason scoreboards ]

The story of Adreian Payne and his relationship with 8-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth never grows old. Payne had the girl help him cut down part of the net after Michigan State won the Big Ten tourney title on Sunday. It was a great moment.

BTN's "The Journey" did a feature on Holsworth last year, telling the story of her relationship with Payne.


Wisconsin?s NCAA path looks promising, according to Tom Oates of I have to agree. I think some people are sleeping on the Badgers amid the Michigan State fever that has broken out nationwide.


Indiana?s season is over. But it?s looking toward tomorrow. One area of focus: Improving the home schedule.

There was no marquee non-conference home game this year. That won?t happen again. It sounds like a visit from Larry Brown and SMU will be on tap next year. But, golly, is SMU really a marquee foe?


Minnesota?s season isn?t over. It?s in the NIT. And the Gophers could make some noise, like they did in 2012. Listen and watch Austin Hollins talk about it.


Spring practice rolls on at Nebraska. And there is a lot of install on offense going on.

And it sounds like I-back Adam Taylor and wideout Taariq Allen are standing out.


Penn State took the lid off the James Franklin era on Monday. And, it?s an exciting time. Depth is improving, though there is lack of numbers among upperclassmen. It will be fun to see what Franklin can do with resources like this. Bob Flounders and Audrey Snyder of discuss it all in this video.


Nice to see ex-Illinois star quarterback Juice Williams brought back into the family by Tim Beckman to connect with former players.



My take: I think it?s great.

My take: Guy was a flat-out stud in Indy.

My take: Thad Matta has this program humming along.

My take: This is good news.

My take: Amazing.

My take: The guy is a stud.

My take: I agree with that.

My take: Good point.


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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