Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 16, 2015

OK, the NCAA bracket is set. It?s time for the Big Ten to make a run at the conference?s first national championship since Mateen Cleaves led Michigan State to the summit in 2000.

The league?s best hope is Wisconsin, which has a No. 1 seed. And this year?s path to the Final Four looks similar to last year?s.

?I joked with the coaching staff that we don?t even need to scout them,? guard Josh Gasser said. ?We can just use what we got last year.?


Maryland is the second-highest seeded Big Ten team, landing a No. 4 seed. But, fans aren?t too stoked about the seed. Seems they felt they should have gotten a No. 3 seed. And, I think they have a legit gripe.

The No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region means a possible clash with No. 1 Kentucky could loom in the Sweet 16. And, you know what that might mean. ..


This is pretty funny: Check out the fun Twitter exchange between Iowa and Davidson, foes in the opening round of the NCAA tourney.


I was happy to see this: Jim Harbaugh plans to have an actual ?game? at the end of spring practices. He even plans on having a draft. Sweet.

That is a contrast to Brady Hoke, notes In 2013, a number of offseason injuries led Hoke to conducting what was basically a glorified practice with very little 11 on 11 scrimmaging in front of fans inside the stadium. Last year, Hoke explained how he felt his team needed one more actual practice — and didn't want to waste the 15th workout on a full-scale scrimmage.


David Jones of recently did an excellent piece on potential stipends in the Big Ten. Now, listen to him discuss the subject on this podcast on

Jones pointed out in his original piece that the higher the stipend figure, the more it could potentially help a basketball or football program lure recruits.

As the numbers stand right now, for example, Penn State can offer facilities, academics and coaching, PLUS nearly $12,000 in extra "pocket" money than Michigan State over the course of a player's four-year career.


Nebraska has a rep for producing top offensive linemen. Knowing that, fans may be interested in reading up on the new line boss: Mike Cavanaugh.

?To me, the biggest thing - and I keep telling them - is we?ve just got to become master technicians,? Cavanaugh said. ?What?s going to be the separator is going to be how great they are technically. So you have to have a lot of pride in that. You?ve got to want to learn.?


Ohio State has been without big man Anthony Lee for nine games. No doubt, his return would be a boost to the Buckeyes in the NCAA tourney. OSU could use some production from its big man.

"He hasn't been 100 percent," Buckeyes athletic trainer Vince O'Brien told Northeast Ohio Media Group on Friday. "He was getting close, then it's just one over-extension and he takes two steps back."


If the report about Jake Rudock bolting Iowa is true, the Hawkeyes would be left with an unproven backup behind C.J. Beathard.

Chad Leistikow of says if Ferentz was faced with losing one experienced quarterback either way, he went with the guy that had two remaining years of eligibility - and, arguably, more upside.

"I told you nobody really improved more than C.J. Beathard last spring," Ferentz said in January. "But I was quick to add after that point that Jake Rudock improved an awful lot as well. I could say the same thing in August. Both players improved, and as I said in August, we had confidence we could win with both guys."


In case you missed this, Dan Duggan of has a look at the three Rutgers players who impressed the most at the Scarlet Knights? pro day.