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Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as league MVP last year as a sophomore. Now, he has improved and could be better than ever—and a legit Heisman contender. “If Braxton was a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 when we got here, he finished (last) season around a four,” Buckeye offensive coordinator Tom Herman told Ozone.net. “By the end of spring ball he was around a six, but the cool thing with him is he could be about a 12.”
It was a busy weekend in the Big Ten. A REALLY busy weekend, with the NFL Draft as well as the big announcement of a new divisional alignment and a nine-game schedule for the venerable Big Ten. So much to cover in daily links. Let’s start with a view on the conference’s new configuration from a few Big Ten ports-of-call.
The NFL draft is here. Hallelujah! But, Thursday night’s opening round may not be a joyous occasion for the Big Ten. In fact, the league may not have a first-round choice for the first time since—are you sitting down?–1953. Gulp. Yes, that’s 60 years.
That recent grant of rights agreement inked by ACC schools apparently has stuck a fork in expansion, Big Ten commish Jim Delany said at an on-going gathering of college commissioners.
Iowa has produced some great offensive linemen under Kirk Ferentz. In fact, since 2003, 13 Hawkeye offensive linemen have been drafted—guys like Robert Gallery, Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff, among others. Who is the next great one? Check out tackle Brandon Scherff. In fact, I wonder if Scherff may be Iowa’s most talented player on offense. Think about it.
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Much was made last year about Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez working with quarterback guru Steve Calhoun in southern California. But, the results were good. Well, Martinez will be back at it in May, looking to further hone his technique for a big senior season send-off.
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Count Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston among those who are an Ohio State believer after watching the spring game. Who can blame Livingston? There is a lot to like about this edition of Ohio State. No doubt, the Buckeyes’ second spring game impressed even Urban Meyer.
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
There are a lot of things to like about an Ohio State offense led by QB Braxton Miller. But the Buckeye offense will be even better if some big-play receivers step up. Could Michael Thomas be one of those guys? Let’s start links here.
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Michigan’s run for the national championship game up short. But the Wolverines have no shame in falling 82-76 to No. 1 overall seed Louisville. Have to start daily links right there. Michigan’s improbable march to the national championship game is evidence that the program is back among the nation’s elite—and it’s not going anywhere.
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Tonight’s the night when Michigan aims to win its first national championship since Glen Rice shot the Wolverines to the top in 1989. Gotta start daily link there. It has been 24 years since “interim” head coach Steve Fisher led Michigan to the Promised Land. Since then, the school has been through four coaches, one scandal and some bad basketball.
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The honors keep rolling in for Michigan’s Trey Burke. And more likely are coming. Let’s start daily links there. The latest Burke bauble: AP player of the year. The only other Wolverine to win the honor was Cazzie Russell in 1966. Yes, it has been that long. And I still can’t believe those are the only two Wolverines ever to win the honor.
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Let’s hear it for Iowa! I said: Let’s hear it for Iowa!! The Hawkeyes beat Maryland last night in the NIT semifinals. Gotta start daily links there. When folding seemed possible, Iowa seemingly found a way to straighten up and seal the deal against the Terps, notes the great Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
No doubt, the emergence of freshman big man Mitch McGary in the NCAA tourney has turned Michigan into a dangerous team that’s capable of winning the national championship. Let’s start daily links with the big fella.
Michigan is off to the Final Four for the first time since 1993—I didn’t think it would be 20 years between appearances. I also thought more than one Big Ten team would be headed to Atlanta for the Final Four. Nonetheless, let’s celebrate Michigan! And, let’s start the daily links here.
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The Sweet 16 kicks off tonight, with No. 2 Ohio State playing No. 6 Arizona in the West and No. 1 Indiana tangling with No. 4 Syracuse in the East. Let’s start daily links there. Each team survived hair-raising third-round games to advance. Are they teams of destiny?
The Sweet 16 starts tomorrow, with four Big Ten teams vying to all reach the Final Four. Wouldn’t that be something? But before we dig in on that, it looks like Northwestern soon will hire a hoops coach. Maybe as soon as today.
The firing of Minnesota coach Tubby Smith resonated across Big Ten country and the nation, and most of the reaction was negative. So, I have to start daily links right there—even with postseason basketball in full churn. Legendary columnist Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Gophers haven’t had much success hiring big-time coaches. He’s correct, but why stop trying? And am I the only one in the galaxy who knows Smith was 46-62 in Big Ten games at Minnesota?