Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 15, 2016

Anymore questions about Greg Gard after that monster win at Maryland? I hope not. Here?s hoping the ?interim? tag gets taken off at some point for Gard, whose team is riding a seven-game winning streak and making a push for the Big Dance.


I am still miffed as to why Maryland?s Diamond Stone wasn?t booted from the game Saturday for intentionally trying to ram the head of Wisconsin?s Vitto Brown into the court.

Officials say because Stone used an open hand instead of a closed hand, it wasn?t a flagrant 2 foul ? just a flagrant 1. Open hand, closed hand, what difference does it make? Stone intentionally tried to hurt another player by smashing his head into the floor. What difference does his hand make?

*** thinks Iowa is destined to play in Des Moines in the first- and second-round of the NCAA tourney. And, I think it is correct.

The NCAA can?t say it that strongly yet, obviously, with much basketball to be played between now and Selection Sunday on March 13. To better grasp Iowa?s positioning, it helps to understand three key factors:

A primary principle in the NCAA?s bracket building is, ?Teams will remain in or as close to their areas of natural interest as possible.?

Iowa State cannot play at Wells Fargo Arena, because it?s the host school. That?s important, because the Cyclones are a top-25 team and own a head-to-head win over Iowa. The NCAA seeds teams Nos. 1 through 68. The first thing that happens in the bracketing stage is scattering the top 16 overall seeds — Nos. 1-4 in each of four regions — among the eight first- and second-round host sites.


You ever wonder how Ohio State would be doing this year had D?Angelo Russell not turned pro early?

"Yeah we'd definitely be a Final Four contender," Russell told during an interview on Wednesday.

Oh, Matta has thought about it too.

"He's always like, 'I can use you here. The scholarship is still on the table.' He jokes about that," Russell said.

Safe to say Ohio State would be battling for the Big Ten title-and not just battling to try to get on the NCAA bubble.


Tom Izzo says he never has dreamed of being a finalist for the Hall of Fame. Well, he is.

Izzo was named one of 14 finalists on Friday for the 2016 Hall of Fame class. He'll find out on April 4, the day of the national championship, whether or not he'll be enshrined this fall. I like Izzo?s chances.


Lots of change on the Penn State football staff. One of the biggest is the arrival of OC Joe Moorhead. What is his biggest spring goal?

"I think establish our identity," he told the Penn State Coaches radio show. "We have four main goals, and that's No. 1, between the older kids and veterans, and getting them with our younger guys and seeing how they work together, installing the system, and putting all the pieces together.

"We need to establish what our identity is first and foremost." says the Pittsburgh native is known for his up-tempo, high-scoring offenses; his Fordham units ranked near the top in nearly every statistical category during his four years there, and he wants to bring offensive fireworks to Penn State. First, though, he will need to pick a quarterback. Either redshirt sophomore Trace McSorley, redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens, or freshman Jake Zembiec, who enrolled in January, will be tasked with replacing Christian Hackenberg. But the biggest issue: developing the offensive line.


Urban Meyer doesn?t want an early signing period. Please, tell me this doesn?t shock you. My guess: If Meyer was coaching, say, Iowa State, he would want one.

Ohio State is an ?elite? program that can flip recruits late in the recruiting process when it has unexpected holes to fill. The Buckeyes did a masterful job of flipping this winter. Had there been an early signing period, OSU would have had no shot to take top recruits from lesser schools, as they already would have been signed.


Count San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly among those who digs what Jim Harbaugh is doing in the college ranks.

?I think what Jim's doing and what everybody?s doing at the college level is exciting,? Kelly told SiriusXM College Sports Nation. ?I think it?s good for the sport. I think Jim is good for the sport. It?s still about blocking and tackling. More importantly, it?s about educating young men. It?s exciting to watch from the outside. I know it?s an extremely competitive environment, in terms of recruiting. It?s fun on the outside, watching what?s going on.?


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