Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 2, 2014

Lots of excitement in the Dairy State, as Wisconsin gears up for its first trip to the Final Four since 2000. And that also has stirred memories of the coach who led the Badgers there: Dick Bennett. Yes, his style wasn?t always exciting. But the guy could coach. I miss him.

Wisconsin isn?t the only Big Ten hoops team still playing. Minnesota topped Florida State last night to advance to the NIT title game, where the Gophers will face Larry Brown and SMU. What?s a bit ironic is the fact Minnesota has been motivated by a 26-point loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament.

"The Wisconsin game showed us you have to play hard throughout, no matter who you're playing," point guard DeAndre Mathieu said. "They are a really strong team and are in the Final Four now. They blitzed us early, and it showed us you have to come out with the right mentality and have to defend."


I wrote about seven Big Ten players who are wrestling with decisions on whether they should turn pro. One was Michigan sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas. One NBA scout thinks that if he comes out, he?ll be a lottery pick. Sounds about right.

In case you are wondering, here are some key dates for players weighing turning pro:


  • April 16-19 — Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Portsmouth, VA)
  • April 27 — NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 p.m. ET)
  • May 20 — 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
  • June 16 — NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5 p.m. ET)
  • June 26 — 2014 NBA Draft


Keith Appling sent Tom Izzo a text filled with regret over the Spartans? truncated season that ended a step before the Final Four. As a result, Appling is part of the first senior class under Tom Izzo not to make a Final Four. This may give you pause to remember to make the most of every opportunity. Izzo says he?ll never delete the text as a reminder of just that. Have ? no ? regrets.


Well, Pat Harty of already has his prediction in for Iowa?s 2014 season: 9-3. The losses: at Pitt; at Maryland; vs. Wisconsin.

Nine wins? Really? Seems a tad generous. I?m leaning more toward eight. Check out how I see it for the 2014 Hawkeyes:

  • Northern Iowa W
  • Ball State W
  • Iowa State W
  • At Pitt L
  • At Purdue W
  • Indiana W
  • At Maryland W
  • Northwestern L
  • At Minnesota L
  • At Illinois W
  • Wisconsin W
  • Nebraska L


The hype surrounding Ohio State sophomore defensive end Joey Bosa already is building. No doubt, he will be a marked man in the fall. Heck, Urban Meyer thinks Bosa could be one of the best he?s ever coached. Now THAT?S hype.


It seems Tim Beckman is a bit hacked by a story in SI that the Illinois coach says misquoted him. The story quotes Beckman as saying ?I want this program to get better. That?s the bottom line. And that means five or six wins.?

Five or six wins? That?s it?

?I don?t know how that got quoted that way, but it wasn?t quoted the way that is should be, of course,? said Beckman. ?You want to win and go for championships. That?s why you?re in this profession.?


Who will be the starting quarterback at Indiana? Tre Roberson? Nate Sudfeld?

As IU?s Kevin Wilson enters his fourth season in Bloomington, he maintains the tradition of not having a definitive No. 1 signal-caller.

"Were going to play both of them as much as we can, to be honest with you," offensive coordinator Kevin Johns told the Indy Star. "They're both great players. And they know that. I try to communicate that with them. I think they're a little bit more comfortable with it.

"I think early on, they were worried, 'Boy, if I make one mistake, I'm not going to get a chance to go back out there.' Well, no, you are. But we're going to give this guy a chance, and then it's your turn and then it's your turn."

If I?m making the call, I go with Roberson. He can pass about as well as Sudfeld and is a better athlete.


Nice piece by Dirk Chatelain of on comparing Nebraska hoops coach Tim Miles to another Cornhusker coach. Not Tom Osborne, not Danny Nee, not Bob Devaney. No, no, no. It?s the Nebraska baseball coach. Really. Read on. You?ll get it.


So, Iowa lost $200K on its Outback Bowl trip despite strong ticket sales?

Not a shock. It seems most schools lose money on these bowls. The only folks who make money are the bowls. This just makes no sense. That?s why we should scrap 90 percent of these bowls and just let teams schedule a 13th regular-season game. Imagine how much cash Iowa could have made with an eighth home game last year? Exactly.



My take: I?m gonna say ? yes?

My take: If he could hear himself, he?d throw a chair. I did.

My take:  Quite a dilemma.

My take:  It may be the top d-line in the Big Ten. Who am I kidding? It is.

My take: No doubt, he would be welcomed.

My take:  Glory? I think?

My take:  This isn?t good.


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.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.