Big Ten links: Scroll through Wednesday best headlines

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Scroll through Wednesday best headlines

With Bri’onte Dunn getting the boot from Ohio State, Mike Weber has a clear path to No. 1 running back status. Weber figured to win the job at some point this season. But now, with Dunn gone, Weber is the clear No. 1 back from the start of camp. He is supposed to be a stud. We shall see as works behind a line with three new starters.

The No. 2 back could be true freshman Antonio Williams. Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel also could get carries. And J.T. Barrett may run more, too.

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Don’t be shocked if Penn State redshirt freshman Ryan Bates starts at guard this fall. How did that happen?

Greg Picket of Pennlive.com notes that Penn State is seeking a new interior lineman since Angelo Mangiro graduated after the 2015 season, and Bates, at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, appears to be it. The redshirt freshman arrived at University Park a year ago weighing in at 275, too small to hit the field early, but he was advanced enough technique-wise to make an immediate impact as the pounds added up. The development of this line is so critical to 2016.

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Rutgers coach Chris Ash gets it. He knows the days of scheduling easy games are gone.

“The days of just scheduling easy games and victories are gone,” Ash told NJ Advance Media. “It used to be you could turn around a program fairly quickly based on how you scheduled your non-conference games.

“But in this day and age, the fans, media, playoff committees, they want to see what you did in your non-conference games. It’s a big part of it.”

Non-league games at Washington and vs. New Mexico will be a challenge this fall for Ash, as he looks to turn the worm at Rutgers.

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Testudo Times has been looking at Maryland’s 2016 schedule. The biggest tossup game? Minnesota’s visit on Oct. 15, which comes a week after the Terps go to Penn State. This is one Maryland probably needs to win if it wants to go bowling.

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So, the NCAA will allow the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tourney to pick its site for its first two games. No big whoop. The committee typically always put the top overall seed as close as it could to its campus.

After four years, Husker hoops coach Tim Miles is 63-67. Predecessors Doc Sadler (70-58) and Barry Collier (56-63) had similar marks. What’s it mean? This coming season will be an important one for Miles, who will have a young roster. Can he turn the corner? Check out Lee Barfknecht’s piece. No man walking the planet knows more about Husker hoops.

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Looks like Tum Tum Nairn is taking young Cassius Winston to school at Michigan State.

Mlive.com says a certain bond is forming this summer between Nairn and Winston. The elder is welcoming the youngster into the fraternal order of MSU point guards. The walls are lined with names like Mateen Cleaves, Scott Skiles, Denzel Valentine, Kalin Lucas, Drew Neitzel, Charlie Bell and … Magic.

“It’s a big deal, man,” Nairn said.

Yes, it is.

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A Michigan vs. Texas hoop series? Yes, please.

According to a report from CBSSports, Michigan and Texas will begin a home-and-home basketball series beginning in 2016-17. The first matchup will be held in Ann Arbor next season, giving John Beilein’s club a much-needed additional marquee home game. U-M will make the return trip to Austin in 2017-18.

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We all know Peter Jok will be Iowa’s No. 1 scoring option next winter. But who will be No. 2 for Fran McCaffery? How about Dom Uhl?

HawkCentral.com says Uhl has a guard’s mentality in a forward’s body, shooting 45 percent from the 3-point arc last year. But he’s also trying to be a better finisher in the post, where he can take advantage of his height and springiness. Uhl and Jok frequently have one-on-one battles in practice. It’s a good chance for the understudy to measure himself against the star.
“We’re going to really rely on him a lot,” Uhl said of Jok. “He’s definitely tough to guard. He won the last time we played, so …”

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

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, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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