ACC/Big Ten Challenge Recap
It's a draw! After a 4-2 effort from the Big Ten on Tuesday night, the ACC went on a 4-2 run of their own, including wins from Boston College and Virginia on the road. Miami (FL) had the most shocking victory in a 67-59 win over (13) Michigan State and (1) Indiana had the most dominant victory in an 83-59 win over (14) North Carolina.
The most disappointing losses for each conference can go to Florida State for the ACC and Northwestern for the Big Ten. A preseason top 25 ranked Florida State team suffered a mysterious opening season loss to South Alabama, but didn’t look competitive for numerous stretches against a possibly surprising Minnesota team come tournament time. The talk every year around Northwestern basketball is always “Is this the year we make the tournament?”
After a difficult loss to Maryland, that question may have to wait until next year, but March is still a long way off for the Wildcats. With the news of Louisville being added to the ACC in 2014 replacing Maryland, who will join the Big Ten with Rutgers in 2014, this Challenge is only going to gain more credibility matching possibly the two top conferences in college basketball.
The future additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC also will only add fire to the debate, which is the best conference in college basketball?
(1) Indiana 83, (14) North Carolina 59
Indiana came ready to shoot lights out in Assembly Hall against North Carolina, literally. Indiana’s outstanding shooting effort eventually led them to a lead as large as 32 in the second half. The Hoosiers shot 45% from the field and 40% from 3 point range, led by Cody Zeller’s dominant 20 point effort along with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey each contributed 19 points, Sheehey’s coming off the bench.
North Carolina struggled shooting the ball in the 2nd half starting out 1 for 20 with their only basket coming from a tip in. Dexter Strickland led the Tar Heels with 14, while Marcus Paige chipped in 11 of his own starting in place of injured guard P.J. Hairston.
(3) Michigan 79, (18) North Carolina State 72
Trey Burke controlled the game from the opening tip Tuesday night, but you wouldn’t be able to tell based off the box score. Burke matched his career high 9 assists in the first half without scoring and became the 3rd Big Ten player in the last 15 seasons with at least 18 points, at least 10 assists, and zero turnovers in a game, eventually finishing with 11 assists.
Air Canada was on full display in Ann Arbor by freshman Nik Stauskas, who is now shooting 14 for 24 from 3-point range on the season, led the Wolverines with 20 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 16 of his own and freshman sensation Glenn Robinson III had 11. NC State shrunk a 73-58 deficit to 75-70 with just over 2 minutes left to play, but extended their ACC-Big Ten Challenge losing streak to 5. An 18-point effort from T.J. Warren paced the Wolfpack
(21) Minnesota 77, Florida State 68
After playing their fourth game in six days, Minnesota showed no sign of fatigue jumping out to a 7-0 start in the first half. Tubby Smith’s Golden Gophers never trailed with an impressive victory in a very tough Florida State environment. Joe Coleman led Minnesota with 16 points, 12 in the second half, eventually giving Minnesota its largest lead of the game at 21. Terrance Shannon, who had 12 points on 3 of 9 shooting, led Florida State. The Seminoles extended their losing streak in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge to 5 games.
Virginia Tech 95, Iowa 79
Blacksburg, Virginia was home to the game of many runs for both sides in a game that eventually turned into a Hokie blowout. Virginia Tech went on runs of 19-1, 14-6, and a 26-17 run that eventually closed out a pesky Iowa Hawkeye effort. Erick Green scored a game high 24 points and became the 2nd player in the country to score at least 20 points in his first 6 games this season.
Contributing to Virginia Tech’s 53% scoring effort was Robert Brown who had 18 of his own. Iowa went on a 14-0 run of their own in the second half, getting the deficit to 3, which would be the closest Iowa would get in the second half. Aaron White led Iowa with 21 points and Roy Devyn Marble had 18.
Maryland 77, Northwestern 57
In a game that matched future Big Ten foes, the Terrapins had the upper hand in their first contest with a Big Ten opponent since announcing their move in 2014. Whether or not this Northwestern team is the one to finally end their NCAA tournament drought is still in question, after Maryland roared to a lead they would not surrender in the second half.
Dez Wells scored a game high 23 points shooting 9 for 11 from the field. The 19-point effort from Reggie Hearn was not enough for Northwestern, who shot 34% from the field. Three Wildcats had double-digit scoring nights, but the rest of the team scored only 14 points.
Nebraska 79, Wake Forest 63
In another showdown that was close at half, Nebraska broke it wide open in the second half. The Huskers scored on 16 of their first 19 possessions after the break, which led to a 20-3 run over Wake Forest. Ray Gallegos scored 12 of his game high 20 points in the Cornhuskers run. He was joined by Center Andre Almeida, who also contributed 20 points along with 11 rebounds in 27 minutes of play. Nebraska shot 51% from the field, while Wake Forest shot 43%. The Demon Deacons were led by 14 points on 6 for 9 shooting from Madison Jones off the bench.
Miami (FL) 67, (13) Michigan State 59
A very timid and sloppy performance by Michigan State led to the students rushing the floor at the BankUnited Center. Miami picked up its first win over a ranked non-conference opponent since 2004. Four Hurricanes scored in double digits, led by 18 points from Trey McKinney Jones. Gary Harris and Travis Trice both returned from injuries for Michigan State and Tom Izzo’s substitution pattern was altered not knowing whether each player was back to 100% yet. Keith Appling led the Spartans with 15 points shooting 6 for 13 from the field.
Virginia 60, Wisconsin 54
A defensive battle between two teams, who both display tough defensive styles, was just that in Madison on Wednesday night. Virginia has let only one team reach 60 points all season and this was a traditional grind it out Wisconsin game.
Joe Harris scored a game high 22 points for Virginia, who earned a victory in the Kohl Center where Bo Ryan has won over 90% of his games during his tenure as head coach. Ben Brust scored 15 for Wisconsin, who shot a dreadful 38% from the field as a team. Jared Berggren was the next leading scorer for Wisconsin adding 12 points.
Purdue 73, Clemson 61
Purdue never trailed against Clemson with their largest lead eventually swelling to 20. One reason could be to D.J. Byrd who had a game high 22 points with six 3-pointers made and shooting only one 2 point basket. Terone Johnson played a team high 38 minutes and contributing 13 points of his own. The Boilermakers shot 51% and Clemson shot only 40% on the night. Leading the Tigers was Devin Booker, brother of former Tiger great Trevor Booker, with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Purdue has now won 4 straight games in the conference challenge.
(22) Illinois 75, Georgia Tech 62
Joseph Bertrand was the human highlight reel in the 10-0 run that sparked the Illini to finish off an upset-minded Georgia Tech team. Bertrand scored every point in the 10-0 run that eventually led to a 21-4 run when the Illini trailed 58-54 to the Yellow Jackets.
In a game that showcased two first year head coaches who finally get their chance in the BCS ranks, both teams put their new head coaches’ schemes on in a great display. John Groce let the Illini chuck the ball from all around the perimeter shooting 14 for 28 from beyond the arc.
A tough defensive minded Brian Gregory team forced 14 Illinois turnovers keeping Georgia Tech mostly in control in Assembly Hall until the Illini slammed the door shut. Kammeon Holsey led Georgia Tech in scoring with 14 points off the bench.
Boston College 73, Penn State 61
Another cold shooting night doomed the Tim Frasier-less Nittany Lions in the Bryce Jordan Center. Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill picked up the slack scoring 25 and 22 points respectively. The rest of the Penn State team managed to only score 11 points. Boston College jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and never looked back. Freshman Olivier Hanlan directed the Golden Eagles with 22 points and 4 assists. Penn State went on an 18-1 run to get within 3 with 3 minutes left, but a young Boston College team would not let this one slip away after blowing a lead to Bryant last time out.
(2) Duke 73, (4) Ohio State 68
A monstrous effort from Miles Plumlee on the boards helped give Duke a tight victory over Ohio State. Plumlee set a career high with 17 rebounds to go along with 21 points as Duke earned its 3rd victory over a top 5 opponent in the month of November. Ryan Kelly chipped in 15 for the Blue Devils and Seth Curry seemed to suffer an apparent ankle injury finishing with just 4 points. Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 16 points on 6 of 14 shooting. Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. were the next leading scorers for the Buckeyes each scoring 11.
Ryan Stevens is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.