Roundball chatter

Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:

• Congrats to Michigan on winning its first outright Big Ten regular-season championship since 1986. John Beilein has done a terrific job, especially with center Mitch McGary on the sidelines with back issues.

Villanova won its first Big East title since the early 80s. Let's be honest, the league is a lot different now. Give credit to Jay Wright for a job well done.

• Tim Miles has done an amazing job at Nebraska. Come on, how many people had the Cornhuskers getting a bye to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament? The win over Wisconsin may be enough to get them into the big dance.

Michigan State looked like the national championship contender that it was expected to be when it blew out Iowa in the second half last week. Having Branden Dawson, Adreian Payne, Keith Appling and Gary Harris together and playing as a cohesive unit makes a difference.

• Several 2014 tournament fields were announced last week. The Coaches vs. Cancer event in Brooklyn will feature Duke, UNLV, Stanford and Temple. The Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii has a nice field which includes Wichita State, Colorado, George Washington and Nebraska.

• The race for the NCAA championship is wide open. Think about it: when Wake Forest beats Duke, when Illinois wins at Michigan State, when Boston College wins at Syracuse, no team can regard an opponent as an automatic win. The tourney should be something special, and March Madness is the best three weeks in all of sports.

Iona gave a contract extension for basketball coach Tim Cluess through the 2018-19 season. He is in his fourth season with the Gaels.