Our Big Ten stories to read on this Thursday

Saturday is a huge day for spring football games. One of the teams in action will be Ohio State. Yes, many questions loom on a defense that too often was punchy when it came to defending the pass. But the offensive line also has work to do, as five starters are gone. Nebraska will conclude spring drills on Saturday, too. And, I’ll be honest: This could be a very good team. How good? Good enough to win the Big Ten West. Bo Pelini delivered a message along those lines to his team recently.

Love the defense. But, the o-line needs to firm up. And Tommy Armstrong must take the next step in his development.

[MORE: Watch every Spring Football game live this Saturday via BTN2Go ]

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The talk of player unions remains a hot topic. And Nebraska’s Kenny Bell has an opinion. After, he’s a buddy of the guy who is helping spearhead the case: Kain Colter.

“I’ll probably get a little bit more involved here going forward,” Bell said. “I’m not really taking any sides, I just think it’s a conversation that needs to be had. I think it’s about time someone starts up something. It’s been awhile that the same old rules are the same old rules. You agree with them or not, that’s your own opinion, right? I think it’s appropriate to have a conversation about it.”

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OK, Michigan fans, theWolverine.com has made a best-guess at what the depth chart could look like now that the offseason has arrived in Ann Arbor. Here you go.

The offensive line: LT Erik Magnuson; LG Kyle Bosch; RG Kyle Kalis; RT Ben Braden. The center spot is undecided between Jack Miller, Graham Glasgow and Patrick Kugler. It’s all on these guys in 2014. No pressure there, huh?

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Nice read on the passing of Lacey Holsworth from Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal.

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This is pretty cool: former Penn State DT DaQuan Jones has turned to MMA training to help prep for the NFL draft. How’s i going? Watch this video and find out.

Speaking of Penn State, many eyes will be on the receiving corps at this Saturday’s spring game. With Allen Robinson gone, who will step up as the go-to wideout?

Paging Geno Lewis.

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Interesting observation here: Iowa has developed a rep for being a running team under Kirk Ferentz. But few Hawkeyes running backs are ever drafted. Fifty-two Iowa players have been drafted since Ferentz took over in 1999. But only two have been running backs: Ladell Betts and Shonn Greene. Quarterback is even worse, with just one picked: Ricky Stanzi.

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CBSSports.com has chronicled what it thinks were the 10 best games of the NCAA tourney.

On the list: Michigan State-Virginia; Michigan-Tennessee; Kentucky Michigan; Kentucky-Wisconsin; Wisconsin-Arizona. My personal fav was UK-Michigan. But, the UK-Wisconsin game was a thriller, too. What a fun, exciting tourney.

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The Gopher Hole has a definitive wrap on the Minnesota hoop season: The Good; The Bad; The Interesting.

I think we all can agree on this: Richard Pitino exceeded expectations in his debut season by guiding this team within an eyelash of the NCAA tourney and onto the NIT title with no all-conference players. I’m excited about the future of this program. And, you should be, too.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Interesting. I don’t think I agree.

My take: This will be nice.

My take: Why not? A good way to bolster the roster, especially if attrition is great.

My take: But remember, these bowl experiences will be treasured forever by the kids. They lift weights and practice for hours to earn that Heart of Dallas Bowl bid.

My take: Should be interesting. Wanna see if the defense is improved.

My take: Better than going one-and-done in the NCAA tourney.

My take: So there is that.

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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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