The Big Ten faces off with the ACC in the 20th year of the challenge. The ACC currently leads the challenge in yearly wins, holding 12 compared to the Big Ten’s five, which is accompanied by three ties, one of which came last year.
The event started with two games yesterday, with each of the two premier conferences winning one. Miami escaped Illinois’ comeback efforts, winning by two despite being out scored by 17 in the second half. In the night cap, Minnesota handled Clemson, 78-60, behind a dominant performance from Marcus Carr.
These next two days should be very fun to watch, as the matchups given this year offer great competition and intriguing headlines. No matter who comes out on top, this should be an entertaining two days of hoops.
Northwestern at Boston College, 7:00 pm, ESPNU
The Wildcats started off the season on the wrong foot, giving Merrimack it’s first D1 win in hoops. Their next game, they trounced Providence. BC started hot, beating Wake Forest by 7, but is on a three game skid. Northwestern is unpredictable this year, but it’s loss to Pittsburgh by 13 on a neutral floor gives reason to give BC an edge on their home court.
Northwestern – 68
Boston College – 75
Iowa at Syracuse, 7:00, ESPN2
Despite being 4-3, Syracuse has lost all three of its Power 5 matchups early on this season. Iowa has lost two games this year, one to undefeated DePaul and one to undefeated San Diego State. The Hawkeyes also have a win against Texas Tech by 11. Syracuse needs a resume booster, but they won’t get it here.
Iowa – 72
Syracuse – 58
Michigan at Louisville, 7:30, ESPN
Michigan made this game the challenge’s premier game, going from unranked to ranked 4th in the nation. Both teams are 7-0, and have quality wins. Michigan won 3 games in 3 days, all against top 15 teams. Impressive, yes, but a fourth game after another short layover against one of the nations best players in Jordan Nwora? Not to mention, at the Yum! Center, one of the most difficult places to play in the country, Michigan will have its hands full.
Michigan – 85
Louisville – 88
Florida State at Indiana, 9:00, ESPN2
Indiana currently sits at 7-0, but has yet to face a power five opponent. After a 3 point loss to Pittsburgh, Florida State is 7-0 with wins over Purdue, Florida, and Tennessee. The Noles are far more prepared to play this game, but Indiana has more talent, and home court advantage. However, in college hoops, experience trumps all.
Florida State – 67
Indiana – 61
Rutgers at Pittsburgh, 9:00, ESPNU
These two teams may be the surprises of their respective conferences. Despite losing a buy game to Nichols, Pitt has beaten Northwestern and Kansas State in this early season, as well as Florida State. Rutgers has one loss to St. Bonaventure, and is coming off a quality win over UMass. Pittsburgh only wins when they can score, and Rutgers defense only allowed 59 points per game thus far.
Rutgers – 63
Duke at Michigan State, 9:30, ESPN
In what was supposed to be the marquee matchup before Michigan surged, the two blue bloods face off in a possible Final Four preview. Duke lost at home to Stephen F. Austin, but has beaten Kansas to start the year. Michigan State, despite having losses not as bad as Duke, has only one quality win thus far, when it narrowly beat Seton Hall. Michigan State has the experience, as well as the home floor. But Duke wants revenge from last years elite eight. Sorry Duke, not tonight.
Duke – 84
Michigan State – 92
Virginia at Purdue, 7:15, ESPN2
In a rematch of the game of the tournament last year, Purdue looks to get revenge on Mamadi Diakite, Kihei Clark, and Virginia. Purdue was a mere seconds away from the final four, but a miracle brought the Cavaliers to overtime. Virginia lost its top three scorers from last season, but Purdue lost Carsen Edwards, and no one else on the Boilermakers could crack the pack line. It shouldn’t be any different this year.
Virginia – 56
Purdue – 48
Nebraska at Georgia Tech, 7:15, ESPNU
The Cornhuskers have yet to play a true road game, and they have lost two buy games in November. Georgia Tech has played all their games thus far close, and Michael Devoe is one of the ACC’s best scorers.
Nebraska – 68
Georgia Tech – 71
Notre Dame at Maryland, 7:30, ESPN
The Fighting Irish have one loss to UNC, and have one six straight buy games. What does that tell us? Notre Dame has played one game against a worthy opponent and came away empty handed. Maryland has beaten a well rounded Harvard squad, Markus Howard’s Golden Eagles, and has Anthony Cowan Jr., an early candidate for Big 10 player of the year. Oh, and they are a favorite to win the national championship.
Notre Dame – 67
Maryland – 89
Wake Forest at Penn State, 9:15, ESPNU
Wake Forest, in a rebuilding season, has lived up to the label. The Demon Deacons have lost to Charlotte and barely beat Columbia. Penn State is surging, beating Georgetown, Yale, and Syracuse in the early part of non conference play. The Nittany Lions should continue to pick up steam in this one.
Wake Forest – 63
Penn State – 77
Wisconsin at NC State, 9:15, ESPN2
Is Wisconsin good enough to beat the Wolfpack on the road? Their schedule is a bit confusing. After wins over in state rivals Marquette and Green Bay, the Badgers have lost two straight, one to Richmond and one to New Mexico. However, NC State has yet to beat a top tier team this season. If Wisconsin can handle Markus Howard, it can handle NC State.
Wisconsin – 83
NC State – 80
Ohio State at North Carolina, 9:30, ESPN
Cole Anthony averages over 20 point per contest, and yet the Buckeyes may still have the edge in this game. Why? North Carolina revolves around one scorer, while Ohio State has several. Not to mention, the Buckeyes play savvy defense. When the Tar Heels fell to Michigan, they only scored 64 points. Ohio State averages 55 points allowed per game.
Ohio State – 74
North Carolina – 69