Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 31, 2014

Still trying to catch your breath after that wild weekend of hoops games? The Big Ten had a great chance to get three teams into the Final Four. Alas, only one made it: Wisconsin, perhaps the least likely of all.

Regardless, the Badgers will take on a red-hot Kentucky, which has won 10 NCAA games in a row.

At this point, don?t think Wisconsin can?t win this whole shebang. This is a connected team that?s as well-coached as any in America. It?s also a loose team with no pressure. They aren?t supposed to be here, remember?


Michigan and Michigan State lost heart-breaking games that came down to the wire. The Wolverines got beat by an impossible shot in the dying seconds by an impossibly talented Kentucky team. No shame here.

The Spartans fell to underdog No. 7 seeded UConn. It was the final punctuation on a season that didn?t live up to its promise. This was a Michigan State that has had flaws all season-and it had to deal with myriad injuries. Disappointment seemed to be its destiny.

It all went so terribly wrong on Sunday in the Elite Eight. The biggest killer in the loss to UConn? Turnovers.

No doubt, it would have been cool if both Michigan and Michigan State had advanced to the Final Four. I?m not shocked that Michigan lost. But, I am shocked that Michigan State loss.

Some players on each team now must wrestle with the prospect of turning pro. Some people seem to think Branden Dawson could go pro. I?d be shocked. I just don?t think he has a position in the NBA. He?s an undersized power forward and lacks the shooting and ballhandling skills to play small forward. Gary Harris didn?t want to think about it in the aftermath of the loss to UConn.

Michigan?s Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary also are at a crossroads.


Ohio State?s NCAA run ended after one game. But the Buckeyes picked up a big win over the weekend when Temple big man Anthony Lee announced he would play his one final season with Ohio State, which is desperate for help in the pivot.


Iowa is grinding through spring drills. One of the goals is to produce more big plays on offense. This offense was too pedestrian in 2013.

Andrew Logue of the Des Moines Register points out that the Hawkeyes took 932 snaps last season, and finished with 44 plays covering 20 or more yards and just 19 plays covering at least 30 yards. That averages out to a 30-yard, momentum-seizing-strike every 49.1 snaps. If you?re looking for a spooky statistic, this is it.


Here is a good analysis of the Nebraska spring football roster. I think this team may be the favorite in the Big Ten West.


My take: Team probably should be getting more hype. There is more talent there than with the Fab Five. And it isn?t even close.

My take: Almost a hoop per minute.

My take: No doubt that is true. This run was more impressive than last year?s run.

My take: Instead, two SEC teams make it. Oh, man.

My take: After that tough Sunday, yes.

My take: And each works just fine.

My take: Shhhh. We don?t want student-athletes to miss out on the lifetime experience of playing in the Little Caesar?s Pizza Bowl. It?s about memories.

My take: It is a bit surprising.

My take: Amen.

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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