Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, April 6, 2015
Happy National Championship Monday! Before Wisconsin takes on Duke at 9:18 p.m. ET tonight in the national title game, let's take a look at the top Big Ten links.
As you might suspect, Wisconsin?s win over unbeaten Kentucky on Saturday set the sports world on its ear. The Wildcats? march toward a 40-0 season and national title were halted by a plucky Badgers? team that will meet Duke tonight for the crown. Wisconsin has made good on its promise to improve on last season, which ended with a Final Four loss to UK. But, why be satisfied? Why not win it all for a league that hasn?t won a national championship since ? 2000?
The Washington Post has an entertaining feature on Frank Kaminsky, "Wisconsin's Napoleon Dynamite." If that doesn't interest you, click that link to see the hilarious AP photo at the top of the story. You won't be disappointed, trust me.
Michigan State?s season ended with a resounding thud in a 20-point loss to Duke in the Final Four. No shame in that. If it makes MSU fans feel any better, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski says that?s the best his team has played in a tournament.
The crushing defeat doesn?t diminish what this team accomplished in marching to the Final Four as a No. 7 seed. In fact, Tom Izzo says getting to the Final Four was one of the greatest accomplishments in school history. When it comes to reaching your potential, this roster certainly did that-and more. Impressive.
"I've got a lot out of a lot of teams over the years, this was squeezing blood from a rock," Izzo said. "This team gave me everything they had to give me. They played through so many things."
Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com has 11 highlights of Jim Harbaugh?s first spring in Ann Arbor. And, it has been a wild ride so far-from helping people in a car accident to offering advice to Jameis Winston and Bryce Petty. Josh Gasser isn?t Captain America ? Harbaugh is.
Speaking of Harbaugh ? he put the finishing touches on his first spring with a game on Saturday. The offense? Well, it needs work. But the defense shined. So, the Wolverines have that going for them ? which is nice. Even more vital, as this piece points out, the seeds of a cultural shift have been planted in Ann Arbor.
"I got emotional," he said Saturday afternoon during Michigan's 2015 spring game. "The competition, the way they all saw each other in pursuit of that.
"And I just thought 'this is what I wanted.' "
Now that C.J. Beathard is the No. 1 quarterback at Iowa, the new most popular man on campus is Tyler Wiegers.
Wiegers, who redshirted in 2014, was elevated to No. 2 when Jake Rudock left for Michigan. Wiegers, who originally committed to Rutgers, started for three seasons at Detroit Country Day High School. He completed 122 of 192 passes for 2,093 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. He also rushed for 200 yards.
"He's a freshman, so things are kind of going fast for him right now," Beathard said. "But he's got a bright future ahead of him. He's a smart kid."
The Cedar Rapids Gazette obtained emails from Iowa athletic director Gary Barta via the Freedom of Information Act. And-boy-there are some doozies.
Purdue?s defense has a chance to be OK in 2015. And a reason for that optimism is a set of linebackers that?s improving.
The Boilermakers LB crew will be led by vets Ja'Whaun Bentley, Danny Ezechukwu and Jimmy Herman. For too long, this unit has struggled. Bentley could be a special linebacker who is coming off a successful freshman season.
Good video here from Omaha.com that goes behind the scenes with Nebraska DB coach Brian Stewart.
Stewart joined the Husker staff after spending three years as the Maryland defensive coordinator; he also has been DC at the University of Houston and with the Dallas Cowboys. His former players praise his energy and Stewart has said he's excited to work with the talented Husker DBs. This was a nice ?get? for Mike Riley.
Minnesota has put in a no-huddle offense. And Jerry Kill has been shocked with how quickly players have picked up on it. Check out this video.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, 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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