Around the Big Ten Basketball Week 4

Story posted November 29, 2017 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff

Matt Freiler, Hunter Pitcoff, Jordan Kalfon and David Hadar break down all the action coming up this week on the hardwood in the Big Ten. 

The annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge is always viewed as a marquee event of the nonconference slate, as two of the nation’s premier conferences battle for supremacy. The Big Ten has come out on top in recent years, but the ACC won the matchup last season.

Both conferences in recent years have put their top teams against each other to see which conference comes out on top. That is not the case this season, as the slate provides just two ranked games with a couple of ACC heavyweights taking on middle of the pack Big Ten foes.

The signature game of the event is the final game of the challenge when fifth-ranked Notre Dame travels to East Lansing to take on third-ranked Michigan State. Both teams are riding high after knocking off ranked opponents in the final of touted nonconference tournaments. Notre Dame won the Maui Invitational, while Michigan State took home the PK80 Victory bracket trophy.

The Spartans are shaping up as the top team in the Big Ten. Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. looks to be a load defensively, while sophomore guard Josh Langford proved against North Carolina that he is capable of playing Robin to Miles Bridges’ Batman. Sophomore center Nick Ward terrorized the Tar Heels in the post and should have similar success against Notre Dame, as the Spartans have too much talent for the Fighting Irish.

The other ranked matchup in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge is Miami and Minnesota, which might be the best matchup of the entire slate. This matchup features two top-15 teams in the nation that each have a different method for success.

The Hurricanes rely on a terrific backcourt with Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown, while Minnesota likes to pound the ball inside to their big men in Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch. Guards Amir Coffey and Nate Mason are also players capable of taking over a game. The Golden Gophers are probably the best team in the Big Ten aside from Michigan State.

Great post play combined with the talented backcourt make them difficult to beat at home. Minnesota will rely on the conference’s leading scorer in Murphy, as the Golden Gophers squeak by the Hurricanes.

Every year, a Big Ten team gets stuck with matching up against Duke, and Indiana pulled the short end of the stick this year. The Hoosiers have rebounded nicely from their opening night loss to Indiana State by winning four of their last five, but the Blue Devils boast an unblemished 8-0 record and the nation’s best freshman in Marvin Bagley III. Robert Johnson is a solid player for the Hoosiers, but he would need to score at least 30 points for Indiana to have a chance against Duke.

The Michigan Wolverines face a similar problem as they have to travel to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels. Michigan had a decent showing in Maui as it went 2-1 and finished fifth. Charles Matthews is the star for the Wolverines, but the Tar Heels will be too much for he and the Wolverines in Chapel Hill.


Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

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Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a senior from Bay Head, NJ, majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. He has done play-by-play and beat writes for almost all the sports from CommRadio.  His two talk shows, Murph’s Lounge and Road to Russia, covered various different topics as the later previewed the qualification process to the World Cup with the former discussing relevant sports events. Joe also had an internship for Shore Sports Network (an affiliate of Town Square Media) before his junior year. To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Freshman / Journalism

Jordan Kalfon is a freshman from Herndon, Virginia majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Jordan serves as a contributor on various sports podcasts including “The Day Late Tailgate” on a weekly basis. He also serves a reporter in the news department as well as an anchor and analyst with Penn State Sports night. Jordan aspires to be a play-by-play broadcaster, beat reporter, or sideline reporter.  You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Hunter Pitcoff

Senior / Journalism

Hunter Pitcoff is involved in multiple clubs and organizations in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. He is the executive producer and an on-camera personality for Penn State Sports Night, the news producer for PSN News, and a member of the Centre County Report. Hunter holds a part-time live events support position with Penn State Athletics too. On top of that, he also does a weekly radio show with CommRadio called The Shootaround and hosts the podcasts “Ball Don’t Lie” and “Run N’Gun” with Penn State Sports Night. Hunter hopes to pursue a career in the sports media industry when he graduates in 2021.

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David Hadar

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Hadar is a senior from Chapel Hill, N.C., majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in entrepreneurship. He is a sports director with CommRadio in addition to being a play-by-play broadcaster. Additionally, David served as the voice of the Penn State women’s volleyball team for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, covering the radio broadcasts for all home and away matches. David previously interned with Westwood One Sports and the Saugerties Stallions. To contact David, you can email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @djhadar.