Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 2, 2014

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups were announced yesterday (see slate). Lots of nice match ups. And one I already am looking forward to is Michigan State vs. Notre Dame. The schools haven't met since 1979. How does this happen?

And you have to love the 2013 Final Four rematch between Michigan and Syracuse. Michigan, of course, won that game en route to advancing to its first national championship game appearance since 1993. Alas, much has happened since then, as Mlive points out. Michigan has lost Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary to the NBA the last two offseasons, while Jordan Morgan graduated and Jon Horford bolted for Florida.

And how about the Ohio State-Louisville clash? Pretty sweet.

But the best of is Duke vs. Wisconsin. This figures to be a a top-five matchup pitting teams with national title hopes. The last meeting between these teams was in 2010, when Duke dropped a 73-69 decision to the Badgers in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest at the Kohl Center. The Badgers will be loaded: Seven players from the Badgers? eight-man rotation are set to return, including starters Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson. What a great test for Bo Ryan's crew.


Yes, Michigan State has lost a lot of key hoop players–Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Gary Harris. But, Tom Izzo isn't worried. So, I guess, you shouldn't be, either, Sparty.

"We?ll find a way to get some guys better? Izzo said Wednesday. ?That?s the name of the game. We don?t want guys to improve anymore. We want them to come in as finished products. Get your McDonald?s All-Americans.?

Three guys who will be built around: Branden Dawson, Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine. You know Izzo's team will be just fine. Still, I am a bit worried. There is no infusion of top, mega talent.


Nebraska's Terran Petteway took the Big Ten by storm last season after transferring from Texas Tech, leading the conference in scoring. Who saw that coming? No one, of course. Petteway tested his draft stock and received a lukewarm assessment from NBA honchos. So, he's back in Lincoln for his junior season. And motivated.

According to, information in the report from 19 NBA general managers and personnel directors projected him as an early second-round pick; one as a mid-second-rounder; two as a mid- to late second-rounder; four as a late second-rounder; and 11 as not ready for this draft.

?I didn?t get mad about it or sad about it,? Petteway said. ?It?s cool. It?s constructive criticism.?


With the NFL draft inching closer, here's a look in photos at Michigan State's top NFL draft picks for the last decade.

My favorite? It's Le'Veon Bell. The guy was a special back. Who was the Spartans' last first-round selection? Wideout Charles Rogers in 2003. Hard to believe it has been that long.

Speaking of the Spartans, the great Mike Griffith of has a look at the four biggest questions for MSU coming out of spring drills.

Chief among them: How will quarterback Damion Terry be deployed? The guy is an uber talent whom the staff needs to find a role for. We saw bits of his skills in the spring game.


As you know, Jim Tressel is trying to become president of the University of Akron. At recent public forum, he discussed what he would do if he was the school's leader. Among the items are he would spend less money on athletics.

That's easy for him to say since he's no longer a coach.

?If I were the athletic director I would not love having the president be a former athletics guy,? he said.


James Franklin's early  recruiting success has been remarkable. Check out this video of an emotional Franklin explaining. For Franklin, his job is personal. And, it obviously shows.


My take: Now that's some action!

My take: Russell and Michigan's Kam Chatman are the top incoming freshmen in the Big Ten.

My take: This isn't good news.

My take: Digger also refused to play Purdue.

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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