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.

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BTN LiveBIG: Share A Solution Stories

This year, the University of Maryland and Rutgers University join the Big Ten. Each school already has a tradition of living big, with students, faculty and alumni impacting the world with their service and research. As part of BTN LiveBIG share a Solution, student journalists at Maryland and Rutgers have shared some of these solution stories with us. Check them out below. And if you are a Big Ten student, share your solution story with us by April 18th and you may win an inaugural BTN LiveBIG Solutions Journalism Award.

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Merriman: If everyone could inspire like Lacey

Lacey Holsworth

Spartans Softball Team Plays for Lacey Holsworth

They say that it doesn’t matter what someone is born, but, instead, what they grow to be. In eight short years of life, Lacey Holsworth, whose battle with cancer and relationship with Michigan State’s basketball program became known nationwide, grew to be an inspiration to anyone who knew her story.

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Izzo, Hollis release statement on Lacey Holsworth

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Adreian Payne Journey Feature

Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and athletics director Mark Hollis released a joint statement on the passing of Lacey Holsworth, the eight-year-old Adreian Payne fan who died late Tuesday night. Read both statements in this post.

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Dienhart: Here's my top 5 incoming freshmen

Freshmen often are expected to contribute the moment they hit campus. Look at what guys like Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes, Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr., and Indiana’s Noah Vonleh—among others–meant to their teams last season.

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Video: Michigan State softball honors Lacey Holsworth

Lacey Holsworth Tribute

Spartans Softball Team Plays for Lacey Holsworth

The Michigan State softball team honored Lacey Holsworth during its game Wednesday afternoon vs. Indiana. Holsworth, the 8-year-old with neuroblastoma who befriended Michigan State star basketball player Adreian Payne, died from cancer late Tuesday night. Watch the softball team’s tribute in this post.

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