Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 20, 2014

Well, Iowa?s first taste of March Madness didn?t last long. Heck, it wasn?t really even a taste. More like a sip, as the Hawkeyes were bounced in a play-in game by Tennessee. I guess it shouldn?t be a shock. The Hawkeyes lost six of their last seven games entering the tourney. Conversely, the Volunteers arrived in Dayton, Ohio, with some mojo. It?s just too bad it all had to end like this for Iowa, whose season once glowed with such promise.


Illinois continues to gut out wins, rallying to win at Boston University in a first-round NIT game. That?s three wins in four games and six in eight. The lone losses have come to Michigan. Impressive. This John Groce guy can coach. A date at Clemson on Sunday is next for the Illini.

Ray Rice carried the water in Beantown. He?ll need some help next time, fellas.


Lots of delicious storylines for the Dayton-Ohio State NCAA game. The best is the fact Buckeye transfer Jordan Sibert is a key cog for the Flyers. And he?s a heck of a shooter, just the commodity that this Ohio State needs.


An interesting matchup today is American vs. Wisconsin. Why? Because American plays a Princeton style. And, as we have seen in other NCAA tourneys, that deliberate style has posed issues. Who can forget Princeton?s near win over No. 1 Georgetown as a No. 16 seed in 1989? Or how about when Princeton knocked off defending national champ UCLA in 1996?


Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a new impression of Rich Pitino: He?s a whiner.

I have to admit, as Reusse points out, for Pitino to beef about that late three-pointer by Wisconsin in the Big Ten tourney was a bit silly. No, it was really silly.


Michigan State is tucked away in Spokane, Wash., prepped to take the lid off what many feel will be a memorable run to the Final Four ? and maybe a national championship. Check out some of the handy work of the Spartans in practice yesterday. Nice dunks!


The Nebraska storyline will be one of the most told. Why not? The Cornhuskers are making their first appearance in the NCAA tourney since 1998.  And they have Texas Tech transfer Terran Petteway to thank. You can?t make this stuff up, people.

Who saw this story coming?


Michigan has done just fine without Mitch McGary this season. But, boy, it sure would be fun if he was part of the action this March.


OK, gotta have some football on this big day of hoops. Why? Because football is best. Michigan State soon will begin spring drills-March 25, to be exact. And the offensive line will be scrutinized. Lots of work to do with starters Blake Treadwell (left guard), Dan France (right guard) and Fou Fonoti (right tackle) all gone.

It happens once or twice a year, it seems. This must be that time again, time to debate having an early-signing period for college football. Looks like Penn State coach James Franklin is in favor of it. I am.

Why do I like it? Because an early-signing period would help the ?little guy.? And I?m all about the little guy.



My take: Gut-check time.

My take: Interesting.

My take: Perfect.

My take: Enough said.

My take: Disappointing.

My take: Nice.

My take: So there is that.


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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