Read these 10 Friday Big Ten links

The Badgers took care of business last night. Now, Michigan and Michigan State take center stage in the Sweet 16. The Wolverines battle No. 11 Tennessee, while the Spartans take on No. 1 Virginia. Michigan has a tough task playing the Vols, who are outplaying that No. 11 seed. This is a hot team, going 8-1 since Feb. 26.

The X-factor for Michigan? Oh, that’s easy: It’s Glenn Robinson III, who is playing against one of his dad’s best buddies in Zo Martin.

In the MSU game, watch the clash between Keith Appling and London Perrantes. This could be the battle that determines the game.

Great win for Wisconsin last night over Baylor. Now, the Badgers are off to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. Wisconsin sliced and diced the vaunted Baylor zone. Now, the Badgers will play No. 1 Arizona for a shot at their first Final Four since 2000. And I like Wisky’s chances.

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There was a report yesterday that said a new football practice facility was coming at Minnesota with ground to be broken in December. Oops. Now, the school is throwing water on that report.

Too bad. Jerry Kill needs this.

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This from Michigan spring practice: Devin Gardner is still the starting quarterback.

C’mon. There is NO way Gardner won’t be the starter in 2014. This is WAY too critical of a season for Brady Hoke to hand over the job to a neophyte.

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Iowa has a potpourri of options at running back. So, that could lead to some creative use of the backs in order to maximize their talents. To wit: Use Damon Bullock in the slot.

And why not use Mark Weisman at fullback from time to time? This is certainly a nice issue to have for Iowa, which not long ago had to deal with rampant injuries to its running backs. Now, it has to try to figure out how to use all of them.

Jordan Canzeri and Weisman are listed as the co-starters, while Bullock and LeShun Daniels are listed as the co-back-ups. Also in the mix: Barkley Hill, Akrum Wadley, Jonathan Parker and incoming freshmen Markel Smith and C.J. Hilliard. See the issue in Iowa City?

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Most of Ohio State’s big spring questions loom on defense, with new coordinator Chris Ash taking over a unit that sprung a lot of leaks in the back seven in 2013. But the offense has some issues, too. The line is being overhauled. And who will replace running back Carlos Hyde?

Gotta think Ezekiel Elliott is the front-runner. Stay tuned. The kid is a home run hitter. Fast and strong.

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Ben Jones of StateCollege.com doesn’t understand why some Penn State fans still have a beef with Bill O’Brien leaving. And, frankly, neither do I. The guy walked in during the darkest days of the program. And he left it a better place.

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Will Purdue big man A.J. Hammons turn pro after his sophomore season?

“I know I can play in the NBA, but it’s just, am I ready to? That’s the only problem,” Hammons told the Lafayette Journal Courier. “I’ve heard it before. I know I can do it, it’s just putting in a lot of hard work, and that’s something I’ve been trying to do.”

Non-seniors have until April 27 to declare as early entry candidates for the draft. Those who do not sign with agents must withdraw their names by June 16 to retain their college eligibility.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Nebraska’s PBA has quickly become a hostile court to foes.

My take:  Exactly.

My take:  Sounds about right.

My take:  Yes, it could happen.

My take:  Too bad.

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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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1 Comment

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (1 Comment)
B1Gfan MI on 3/28/2014 @ 10:38pm EDT Said:

Michigan’s QB position group is beginning to resemble the talent they had in the ’98 thru ’06 seasons . Three bonafied B1G pro prospects who can lead their offense. Building around them is the next task. Won’t be surprised if they recruit one or two more in ’15.

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