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Dienhart: Michigan State defense still has it

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Those were real, live hits on quarterbacks in today’s Michigan State spring game. What else would you expect from a Spartans program renowned for its toughness? At one point in the second quarter, quarterback Damion Terry absorbed a wallop that sent him to the sideline. The famed “Spartan Dawg” defense that roughed up Stanford in the Rose Bowl still has it, in case you were wondering. This will be the last time we see Michigan State until Aug. 29, when the Spartans open the season playing host to Jacksonville State on a Friday. And, frankly, I’m

Dienhart: It was a good spring for Ohio State

As far as dress rehearsals go, this one was a success … I guess. The final score said Gray 17, Scarlet 7. Not sure what it really means. But, it doesn’t really matter now, does it? These spring games are equal parts glorified practices/pep rallies/excuses to tailgate. But, who cares? It’s a celebration of football. And, that’s OK in my book. Let’s give today’s sun-splashed Buckeye spring game a sideways thumb’s up. Meh. The highlight was a halftime footrace between some members of the student body and some of the fastest Buckeyes. This was made-for-TV fun who by—as you would

Wisconsin bows out in battle of clutch shots

Traevon Jackson has hit a number of big shots this season for the Badgers. The guy was money. The guy was clutch. But he didn’t have his magic touch on this night. Jackson missed a key free throw and potential game-winning shot that proved fatal in the dying moments of Wisconsin’s 74-73 loss to Kentucky in a national semifinal game. [ MORE: Kentucky sinks Wisconsin in Final Four thriller ] It was a tough way for the season to end for Jackson and No. 2 Wisconsin. After 39 gut-wrenching, spine-tingling, spell-binding, back-and-forth minutes, it came down to big shots. Kentucky

Dienhart: It was a 'great run' by Michigan

Breathless. There is no better word to describe the Michigan-Kentucky Elite Eight game in the Midwest Region in Indianapolis. The game epitomized what has been a thrilling NCAA tourney. Up and down the court they went in a game that seemed to be played at 120 mph at times. It was a track meet inside Lucas Oil Stadium, as the teams traded runs, momentum and plenty of punches. Each took turns grabbing the lead … and then losing it. And it all was wrapped inside a tight, 40-minute drama-packed package. [ MORE: UConn upsets Michigan State | Dienhart: Unfinished business

Dienhart: Unfinished business for Michigan State

And just like that, Michigan State’s season is over. Finished. Kaput. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. But, in some ways, this seems like a fitting end to season that forever will be marked by what-ifs. It was the season of unfinished business. Go back to Selection Sunday. Way back then, the Spartans were the darlings of the day, the pick of many to advance to the Final Four—and some thought Michigan State would win it all despite a No. 4 seeding that everyone on the planet thought was too low. [ MORE: Kentucky drops Michigan | Dienhart: It

Dienhart: Welcome back, Michigan State

INDIANAPOLIS–I’d like to be one of the first to welcome back Michigan State. I have missed the Spartans. The Big Ten tourney has been Michigan State’s chance to trumpet its return from what largely was a moribund regular season that saw the Spartans go 12-6 in Big Ten play. That’s good by some school’s standards. But not for MSU. The postseason is the second season, a do-over. And the Spartans are taking advantage. First, they blasted No. 11 seed Northwestern on Friday, 67-51. But Michigan State was even more impressive Saturday in dispatching No. 2 seed Wisconsin, 83-75. “I think

Dienhart: Michigan should be 'confident, cocky'

INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan comes at foes in waves. Ready or not, here come the Wolverines. And, god bless if you aren’t ready, because you’ll be run off the floor, up the ramp and out the door. The start of today’s game with Ohio State was a perfect example. There was … A Nik Stauskas three-pointer. A Glenn Robinson III three-pointer. A Caris LeVert three-pointer. Two GR3 jumpers. A Jordan Morgan slam. Just like that, it was 15-2 with only 4:25 off the clock. Thad Matta hadn’t even broken a sweat and his offensively challenged team already was in a deep

Dienhart: It's Michigan's Big Ten title to lose

It’s true, so let’s go ahead and type it: Michigan’s 70-60 win Tuesday night at Ohio State put the Wolverines in the driver’s seat to win the Big Ten for a second time in three seasons. “It’s great to be in this,” John Beilein said after notching Michigan’s first win in Columbus since 2003. “I don’t know if we expected this this year. We’re watching (Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.) in the NBA right now and they’re doing really well. I said, ‘geez, we better have made it to the Final Four last year.’ Those were really two good

Dienhart: This one won't soon be forgotten

INDIANAPOLIS — The Big Ten title game is just three years old, but Michigan State’s 34-24 win over Ohio State was a “classic” and won’t soon be forgotten. The game had it all. A team vying for the BCS title game? Check. Another team trying to reach its first Rose Bowl in nearly three decades? Check. Ebbs and flows? Check. The Spartans raced to a 17-0 lead. Then, the Buckeyes ripped off 24 unanswered points; then MSU answered with 17 points to cap a back-and-fourth game that will see the Spartans go to the Rose Bowl for the first time