Despite rough spring game, Wilton Speight still tops Michigan's quarterback depth chart

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Despite rough spring game, Wilton Speight still tops Michigan's quarterback depth chart

Wilton Speight is still on top of Michigan's quarterback depth chart, despite the fact that the incumbent starter had an ugly performance in the Wolverines' spring game.

Speight threw two interceptions and completed just nine of his 26 passing attempts in the spring's fanciest scrimmage. But Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday that Speight is still ahead of everyone at the game's most important position.

"It'll always be (a competition,)" Harbaugh said in Detroit, his quotes published by the Detroit Free Press. "Still over the course of the whole spring practice, Wilton on our depth chart, he's No. 1. But it's a meritocracy. By your effort and by your talent you will be known. That's a good thing for our football team.

"We get it in camp and we go through camp, somebody that stands out and it's undeniable, that's what we're looking for, there's that one guy. Probably eight, nine, 10 practices, that's probably the range where you make up your mind on something like that. It's always going to be that meritocracy."

The challengers are John O'Korn, who was No. 2 to Speight last season, and Brandon Peters, a freshman from Indiana who had a nice spring game with 160 yards and a touchdown on just nine completions as well as a rushing touchdown.

Speight completed 61.6 percent of his passes last season, throwing for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. O'Korn completed 20 of his 34 passing attempts in game action last season, throwing for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Peters was ranked as a top-160 recruit nationally by Rivals, a four-star prospect and the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2016.

Unsurprisingly for the always-secretive Harbaugh, the head coach said the quarterback competition will be ongoing and last for some time. It would be no shock to see things play out much like they did last season, when Michigan's starting quarterback was a mystery until the offense took the field in the season-opener.

Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

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Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

Conference play could be getting a bit longer in the Big Ten.

According to a Monday report from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, there are talks about expanding the Big Ten conference basketball schedule from 18 games to 20 games.

Commissioner Jim Delany told Goodman that while there hasn't been a vote among the league's coaches yet, there are ongoing discussions about lengthening conference play by a couple of games.

Conference play expanded a decade ago, when the number of league games jumped from 16 to 18 for the 2007-08 season.

In order for there to be enough days in between games for players, an expanded league schedule would mean the beginning of conference play coming earlier in December. Recently, conference play has typically started around New Year's. Of course, there will be a week earlier start to conference play this season with the Big Ten Tournament — at Madison Square Garden in New York — a week earlier than usual, wrapping a full week before Selection Sunday.

Similar moves have been made in football, with the Big Ten starting a nine-game conference slate last fall. It's meant league games in September — a no-no in the past — and this season will feature a conference matchup in the season's first week, when Indiana and Ohio State play on Aug. 31.

Expanding conference play in college basketball would have a similar effect as it has had on schedules in football. With fewer non-conference slots to fill, those games become more important to a team's NCAA tournament resume. It forces teams to schedule more high-profile opponents and eliminate games against small schools that generate little interest during the season's first couple months.

The ACC, a league that often runs neck and neck with the Big Ten in the debate over which is America's top basketball conference, announced it will be moving to a 20-game schedule last July, with that starting in the 2019-20 season.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo shared some thoughts on the subject with Goodman, saying he expects the move to happen.

"I personally see us going to a 20-game schedule," Izzo told Goodman. "I don't think there's any question it's going to happen — and I'm not overly against it."

Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

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Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

Ohio State found its next head basketball coach, going to one of Thad Matta's former employers to find the longtime coach's successor.

The school announced Friday morning that Butler head coach Chris Holtmann is the Buckeyes' new head coach.

Holtmann spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Butler, posting a 70-31 record and making NCAA tournament appearances in all three of those seasons, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in March. He was named the Big East Coach of the Year this past season.

Holtmann spent two seasons as an assistant at Ohio under former Illinois head coach John Groce, a former Matta assistant, before serving as the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons. Holtmann left Gardner-Webb for an assistant-coaching job at Butler, though he was quickly promoted to interim head coach and then head coach in Indianapolis.

Holtmann takes over for Matta, who himself was the Butler head coach in the 2000-01 season before becoming the all-time wins leader at Ohio State. Matta's mostly successful tenure was ended earlier this week, when athletics director Gene Smith saw recruiting misses teaming with declining win totals to create a dip in Matta's success.

This week has been dominated by rumors and declarations of lack of interest from numerous candidates and possible candidates for the job. Xavier head coach Chris Mack and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott both made their decisions to stay at their current schools known via social media, and a report linking Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to the job forced a no-interest comment from Hoiberg, too.

Despite those repeated "no thank yous," though, Ohio State is still seen to be one of the best jobs in college basketball thanks to one of the highest-profile athletics departments and one of the best conferences in the country, providing ample resources.

Recruiting will be a big expectation for Holtmann, as Matta's performance in that area dipped near the end of his tenure. The Buckeyes missed the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons, while Holtmann just took Butler to a No. 4 seed in the Big Dance, the highest in that program's history.