Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 19, 2015

The Big Ten has seven teams in the Big Dance and is in search of its first national title since 2000. But Kentucky is the obvious talk of the tourney, as it aims for perfection. Good video here from FOX Sports that looks at two schools with the best shot to derail the Wildcats. Oh, there?s a Big Ten connection, as one of those clubs is ? Wisconsin.


USA Today looked at basketball recruiting spending for each Big Ten school. This is always interesting to see which schools are getting the most bang for their buck. Take a gander and draw your own conclusions.

2012-13 recruiting spending by Big Ten schools:

  • Indiana ….. $420,559
  • Ohio State ….. $374,844
  • Nebraska ….. $323,356
  • Illinois ….. $317,382
  • Michigan St. ….. $210,577
  • Iowa ……. $208,546
  • Purdue …… $171,220
  • Minnesota ….. $170,460
  • Michigan ….. $165,276
  • Rutgers ….. $118,611
  • Maryland ….. $84,046
  • Wisconsin ….. $73,193


Zach Osterman of has a Q&A tackling Indiana hoops issues as the Hoosiers prep to start NCAA play on Friday vs. Wichita State.

A big question: Will Hanner Mosquera-Perea be ready after getting hurt in the Big Ten tourney? Osterman says the latest thing said by Tom Crean Sunday night was that Mosquera-Perea has been able to shoot around and go through light warm-ups with teammates, and that IU is hopeful it might get him back by Friday. That?s huge, because this smallish team needs his size-and athletic ability.


Sorry, Ohio State fans, but here it goes: says no team loses more close NCAA games than the Buckeyes.

Since 2009, only 10 programs have lost multiple NCAA Tournament games by one or two points. Only three have lost at least three tournament games by one or two points: Ohio State, VCU and Tennessee. And only Ohio State has lost four. Ironically, OSU plays VCU in its NCAA opener today. So, someone is losing a close game, right?


Randy Peterson of caught up with former Iowa coach Steve Alford, who has his UCLA team in the Big Dance. Let?s just say that Alford didn?t leave Iowa City as a popular man, but he says he never had any issues with Iowa?s administration.

"It was great," said Alford. "There was never any issues there. My situation was that I had a tremendous opportunity at New Mexico. I've been very blessed."


In case you haven?t noticed, the Big Ten has some good freshman guards. Amelia Rayno of the Minneapolis Star Tribune lays it all out.

We hear the most about Ohio State?s D?Angelo Russell, Indiana?s James Blackmon, Jr., and Maryland?s Melo Trimble. But the depth exceeds those stars.

?A couple of years ago, I didn?t think I would see a better freshman guard than Trey Burke (then with Michigan, now with the Utah Jazz),? Northwestern?s Tre Demps told the Chicago Tribune earlier this month. ?But scoring-wise, at least, these guys (this year) are a little bit better.?

I really liked the Gophers Nate Mason. And Northwestern?s Bryant McIntosh and Michigan State?s Lourawls ?Tum Tum? Nairn, Jr., were pretty good, too.


How about this: Former Northwestern coach Bill Carmody has been named coach at Holy Cross, according to a report. Good for him.


How bad was Illinois? NIT loss at Alabama? Here, read this from Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette. He has seen more Fighting Illini hoops than anyone on the planet–and he gives the Illini's five of the worst defeats in the last 25 years.


By all accounts, Michigan State?s Pro Day was a smashing success. How popular was it? Every NFL team had a representative present.

Mike Griffith of says Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin has become a fixture at the Spartans' pro day, and Philadelphia's Chip Kelly and Minnesota's Mike Zimmer were the other head coaches getting a first-hand account.

"I talked to Coach Tomlin, he said this has become a place he's going to come every year," MSU coach Mark Dantonio said. "Chip Kelly, Mike Zimmer, (and) GMs were here. These players have impressed people, and they (NFL personnel) are here for a reason."

The list of general managers on hand included Detroit's Martin Mayhew, Minnesota's Rick Spielman, Buffalo's Doug Whaley and Pittsburgh's Kevin Colbert. Just more proof of how big-time this MSU program has become.


James Franklin says Penn State?s spring game could have a unique twist. Good, because calling most of these things ?games? is a stretch to begin with.

"One of the things we're talking about doing with the spring game is opening the spring game with a kicking competition before the spring game gets started just so I can make sure that these guys have got enough kicks in front of a crowd," he said earlier this week.

"See how they're going to handle that kind of before the game gets started, just to see how they do, make it a competition."

Punters would get their opportunity halfway through the scrimmage.

"We're thinking about doing the same thing at halftime with the punters," Franklin said. "Do a competition with those guys, because you just don't know through the spring game if you're going to get enough live reps and see how they're going to react in that environment.

"So that's something we're thinking about doing."


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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