The 10th annual college basketball ACC/Big 10 challenge is now underway. The ACC has dominated this affair winning the last 9 challenges in the series. The last two years in the challenge the ACC has won 8 of the 11 events. The ACC will be favored again to win the challenge this year, but there will be a number of interesting match-ups to watch. Also find out which games our experts like the Big 10 to be a factor in.
Last night in the first game for the ACC/Big 10 challenge, the #22 Wisconsin Badgers edged out the Virginia Tech Hokies 74-72. The Badgers win gets the Big 10 rolling in the right direction to try and finally win the challenge. Junior guard Trevon Hughes hit a game winning shot with just under 2 seconds in the game to seal the deal for the Wisconsin victory. The win marks the first of many exciting games to come.
The Challenge will hit full swing tonight as a slate of teams will take the floor. Highlighting the night will be the #5 Duke Blue Devils and #10 Purdue Boilermakers. (9EST) The Boilermakers have perhaps the best team in the Big 10 right now and they will try to pull off what would be a big win. Duke has been rolling fairly well this season winning 6 of their 7 games by 15 points or more. Purdue has already suffered one loss to #13 Oklahoma this season and definitely does not want to lose two games this early in the season.
Tuesday, 12/02 Games:
Clemson at Illinois 7:30PM ET – A pair of undefeated teams plays tonight in Clemson Tigers and Illinois Fighting Illini. Both teams considered middle of the road will square off with one team getting their first loss of the season. Clemson is the favorite for the game and considered the better all around team. Illinois has struggled with field goal % and 3 point shooting in some under rated games. Look for the ACC to roll in this one unless the Illini can pull of the upset.
Ohio State at Miami 7:00PM ET – This game will be a classic for size against speed in college basketball. Miami has some lethal guards led by Jack McClinton scoring 15 points per game. Ohio State has a really big team and will look to control the inside. Once again the ACC team in considered the favorite while the Big 10 will be looking to surprise.
Iowa at Boston College 7:00PM ET – The Boston College Eagles have won their last 3 games in the ACC/Big 10 challenge and look to make it four in a row. Their contest with the Iowa Hawkeyes showcases two very similar teams. These two teams may not have the ability to make a run at conference championships, but both teams do have the ability to pull of some big wins this season. Both teams shoot the ball well, but who will be able to pull out the win?
Virginia at Minnesota 8:30PM ET – The Cavaliers are one of bottom dwellers in the ACC while Minnesota is standing at a season record of 6-0. Minnesota is considered the favorite to win the game and improve the undefeated mark. Golden Gophers guard Lawrence Westbrook is an extremely gifted player that leads a strong offensive front for Minnesota. Watch and see if Minnesota can score a much needed win for the Big 10.
Wednesday, 12/03 Games:
Indiana at Wake Forest 7:00PM ET – Wake Forest should have a big advantage in this game giving their extremely talented team. Wake is one of the best teams in the ACC this season while Indiana is expected to struggle in the Big 10. Indiana is 3-2 this season with two of those wins coming against Division II opponents. The Demon Deacons on the other hand are a perfect 5-0 led by sophomore guard Jeff Teague averaging 22 points per game. Hopefully the Hoosiers can keep this game close.
Michigan at Maryland 7:30PM ET – Both teams have one loss this season and this contest looks to be an exciting one. Michigan upset #4 UCLA early this season while Maryland had an upset of their own knocking off #6 Michigan State rather convincingly. Michigan may have the slight advantage with their excellent back court in guard Manny Harris (23ppg). Watch for this game to go right down to the wire.
Florida State at Northwestern 9:30PM ET – The Noles are undefeated at 7-0 mark while Northwestern is 3-1. Florida State will be the favorite for the ACC to win yet another game, but I believe Northwestern could be primed for the upset. The Wildcats are on of the top field goal percentage teams in the country and I believe their slow pace style they sometimes find themselves playing present some problems for FSU. Interesting contest between two teams considered not so good in their conferences.
Penn State at Georgia Tech 7:30PM ET – Georgia Tech has been struggling against some pretty week teams despite their 4-0 record. The Nittany Lions are 6-1 on the season and love to shoot the ball from the 3-point range. Georgia Tech should be able to over power the Penn State defense scoring down low while controlling the boards. Advantage Georgia Tech
#1 North Carolina at #12 Michigan State 9:00PM ET – The #1 ranked Tarheels will take the court against #12 Michigan State in perhaps the most anticipated game in the tournament. North Carolina averages a 2nd best 96 points per game and are in the top 20 in nearly every offensive category led by 2008 Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough. Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan is a force to be reckoned with averaging 17 points per game and 5 rebounds. The Spartans lone loss of the year came from another ACC opponent the Maryland Terrapins. Michigan State will look to even the score against the ACC in the last game of the Challenge.