Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 9, 2015

The good times may be starting to roll for Iowa. Not long ago, the Hawkeyes had a three-game skid. Doubters emerged. Now, they have won two in a row. And the to-do list lightens for a team that played the toughest schedule of any Big Ten team in the first half of the season. And Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says it isn?t even close.

Check out this chart that chronicles the first-half league winning percentages through nine games (before Saturday):

1. Iowa 62.5
2. Northwestern 57.8
3. Indiana 51.1
4. Ohio State 50.0
5. Minnesota 49.5
6. Penn State 49.5
7. Nebraska 49.4
8. Purdue 48.8
9. Illinois 47.8
10. Maryland 47.1
11. Michigan State 45.5
12. Rutgers 45.4
13. Wisconsin 43.8
14. Michigan 42.9


I am fascinated by recruiting rankings. I don?t know why. But, I am. It?s one of my many faults. They have some validity, even though we all can agree that the process is flawed and nearly impossible to do. Who knows what will happen to an 18-year-old? Still, stories like this are neat, as it explains that Michigan State consistently outperforms its recruiting ranking.

"What's happening is we're not sneaking up on anybody, whether it's on the field or in recruiting," coach Mark Dantonio said. "When Michigan State offers a guy, the immediate thing is, let's go see what that guy has got. We are not sneaking up on anybody anymore and with that come some stars, I guess."


Here is a link to an aggregation of recruiting rankings over the past four years from As you can see, the Spartans have an average class ranking of 29.25, which is 28th in the country.


Nice recruiting roundtable on the recruiting class inked by Nebraska.

This will answer ANY questions you have about Mike Riley?s maiden class. Trust me ?


Rutgers signed a nice class. But Dan Duggan of says the 2016 Class is even more vital for the Scarlet Knights, with a nice crop of in-state talent prime for the taking. RU must seize the opportunity.


Melvin Gordon bullied? Really? Yep, he says he was a victim back in grade school.

"What you need to do to stop bullying is just to speak up," Gordon said. "I would just say to speak up, and if you're another kid watching someone getting bullied, don't be a bystander. Speak up and go tell someone because you never know, you could save someone's life."

Here is a video on the subject with Gordon.


Tubby Smith said for years that he needed better facilities back when he coached Minnesota. Well, they finally will be coming with news of this $6 million gift for a hoops facility.

The donation was part of the $65 million raised for a $190 million master facilities project that includes a football practice facility and athletes' academic center for the Gophers. This is great news for a rising athletic department.


Since Rayvonte Rice first got hurt in early January and then was suspended, Illinois has rallied to go 6-3 in his absence. The win at Michigan State on Saturday was further evidence of how good this program is under John Groce. Even more noteworthy: This is no longer Rice?s team. Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate have taken over.


Indiana?s win over Michigan on Sunday is more proof that this team is maturing.

Some evidence: The 70-67 victory vs. the Wolverines was the sixth of Indiana's Big Ten games this season decided by 10 or fewer points, and the Hoosiers have won all six.


Ohio State lost running backs coach Stan Drayton to the Chicago Bears. Tough departure, as Drayton was a key assistant. But Urban Meyer reportedly has a replacement in Tony Alford from Notre Dame. Nice hire.

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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