Big Ten/ACC Challenge Preview

Story posted December 8, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Adam Sheetz

Purdue at Miami

Both programs have NCAA Tournament aspirations this year, and both have the opportunity to get a huge win in this game.

Purdue is averaging 77 points per game and shooting 43.6% as a team from 3-point range. The Boilermakers have also been impressive on defense, only allowing more than 70 points once this season.

The Hurricanes have dominated lesser competition in their two wins. They have been led by sophomore Isaiah Wong, who is averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the 2020 season.

The game should be close, but the Boilermaker should pull out a close win on the road.

Prediction: Purdue 72, Miami 68

 

Boston College at Minnesota

Minnesota is searching for an impressive performance, and they may get one in this game.

The Gophers are led by guard Marcus Carr, who is averaging 26.5 points per game. The Gophers will go as far as Carr is able to take them, as the team has struggled to find a true second scorer on offense.

Boston College has played four extremely tough games and now gets another one in a road trip to Minneapolis. The Eagles have struggled to get stops this year, allowing over 90 points in each of their last two games.

The Gophers should roll over the Eagles in this one.

Prediction: Minnesota 83, Boston College 71

 

No. 16 North Carolina at No. 3 Iowa

This game is one of the most anticipated matchups in college basketball, and it should live up to the hype.

The Tar Heels struggled last season but are expected to have a bounce-back year. The Heels are extremely balanced with four players averaging double figures in scoring, including senior forward Garrison Brooks.

The Hawkeyes are a talented team led by Luka Garza. Garza is arguably the best player in college basketball, and the numbers back it up. He’s averaging 34 points and 9.7 rebounds on the year.

This should be an exciting game, but Garza will not be stopped, and the Hawkeyes will get the huge win.

Prediction: Iowa 89, North Carolina 81

 

No. 23 Ohio State at Notre Dame

The Buckeyes and the Irish should make for an exciting game to watch.

The Buckeyes are expected to be a contender in a deep Big Ten conference. They are a balanced team that plays tough defense and efficient offense. The offense is led by forward Justice Sueing, who transferred to the Buckeyes from Cal.

The Fighting Irish come in with a scoring mentality. They rely on junior guard Prentiss Hubb to get the offense going. Hubb is averaging 20.5 points and five assists on the year.

This should be a good test for the Buckeyes, but they should be able to pass the test and get a key win on the road.

Prediction: Ohio State 75, Notre Dame 61

 

Penn State at No. 15 Virginia Tech

The last time these two teams met, the Nittany Lions upset the Hokies 63-62 in 2018. This should be another exciting game.

The Hokies upset Villanova earlier this season and have looked impressive since. The Hokies are led by forward Keve Aluma, who is averaging 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds on the year.

The Nittany Lions looked impressive early but lost a heartbreaker to Seton Hall 98-92 in overtime on Sunday. They shoot from deep extremely well, averaging 11 made 3-pointers per game. The Lions have leaned on sophomore Seth Lundy to pick up the scoring. Lundy is averaging 22.3 points on the season.

The Nittany Lions have a great chance to pull off the upset in Blacksburg, but the Hokies have looked great and should be able to get the win.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 75, Penn State 72

 

No. 6 Illinois at No. 10 Duke

This is arguably the best matchup on the slate. The Blue Devils and the Fighting Illini are two of the best teams in the nation and have a huge matchup Tuesday night.

The Illini have an amazing big three of Kofi Cockburn, Adam Miller and Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu has been the most impressive this season, averaging 23.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists.

The Blue Devils have been great at recruiting, and their freshmen class is impressive again this year. Jalen Johnson is the key for the Blue Devils, as he’s averaged 13 points and 8.7 rebounds.

This game should be extremely fun to watch, but the Illini’s experience should be enough to get them the road win.

Prediction: Illinois 81, Duke 76

 

Syracuse at No. 21 Rutgers

This game is between two former Big East foes, and it should be a great game.

Orange forward Alan Griffin has been great this year. Griffin is averaging 16.7 points and seven rebounds per game. The Orange have been using a balanced attack on offense and will look to stay balanced throughout the year.

The Scarlet Knights are a deep team, and they are extremely dangerous. They rely on Ron Harper Jr. to lead the way on both ends. Harper averages 21 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 57.8% from the field. Harper has made a lot of strides and has Rutgers as a contender in the Big Ten.

Rutgers is a talented team, but the Scarlet Knights only shoot 29.3% from deep and will face Syracuse’s signature 2-3 zone all game. This is a bad matchup for Rutgers, giving Syracuse the edge.

Prediction: Syracuse 74, Rutgers 65

 

Maryland at Clemson

Both these teams are searching for a big win, and this is a great opportunity.

The Terrapins have rolled over lesser competition to start their season and have gotten valuable reps for their younger talent. The Terps have a good mix of young talent and returning players and should be extremely tough to beat.

The Tigers have been battle-tested early this year, playing two power-conference opponents to start the year. The Tigers are a great defensive team, only allowing 50 points per game. The Tigers also average 9.3 steals per game, and their defense has pushed them to their undefeated records so far.

This will be a low-scoring affair, and the Tigers should have a slight edge due to their great defensive play.

Prediction: Clemson 61, Maryland 58

 

NC State at Michigan

Michigan is an extremely talented team and has high expectations this year. Isaiah Livers decided to return for his senior season, and he has not let them down. Livers has the ability to score off the dribble and shoot the ball, making him a dangerous offensive threat.

NC State is an excellent offensive team, and the 3-pointer is where they thrive. The Wolfpack shoot an amazing 44.9% from long and make over 10 per game.

The Wolfpack have the ability to upset Michigan with their shooting ability, but the Wolverines are the better team and will win.

Prediction: Michigan 81, NC State 69

 

Georgia Tech at Nebraska

Both of these teams were expected to struggle this year, but both want to prove the doubters wrong.

Nebraska is relying on transfers to produce immediately. The Huskers are led by guard Teddy Allen, a transfer from West Virginia.

The Yellow Jackets lost their first two games but then upset Kentucky on the road. Georgia Tech is led by senior forward Moses Wright, who is averaging 24 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

This game is between two struggling programs, but the Yellow Jackets are coming off a huge win and should build on that momentum for another.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 74, Nebraska 67

 

No. 4 Michigan State at No. 18 Virginia

This is the best game on the Wednesday slate between two teams that have high expectations for the year.

Virginia is an elite defensive team and has been for the last decade. The Cavaliers gained transfer Sam Hauser, and he has been effective for them, averaging 14.5 points and 6.8 rebounds.

The Spartans went on the road last week and knocked off Duke. They also gained a transfer this offseason in Joey Hauser, Sam’s brother, who is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds on the season.

The Spartans looked great in the Duke game, and they should get another huge win on the road at Virginia.

Prediction: Michigan State 68, Virginia 62

 

Indiana at No. 20 Florida State

Both these teams have looked good in a small sample size, but this game will tell us a lot more.

The Hoosiers are led by forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. He returned to the Hoosiers this year and has balled out, averaging 21.5 points and seven rebounds on the year.

The Seminoles relied on M.J. Walker in their only game so far, in which Walker scored 17 points. The Noles are expected to be led by freshman Scottie Barnes, who had eight points, six rebounds and six assists in his first ever collegiate game.

The Noles should expect a great game out of Barnes and Walker and should dominate to get a huge win.

Prediction: Florida State 75, Indiana 61

 

Pittsburgh at Northwestern

This showdown pairs two teams that are projected to have a tough year but are looking for a spark.

The Panthers have relied on Au’Diese Toney, who averages 18.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

The Wildcats have relied on guard Chase Audige and forward Miller Kopp to score this season, combining for 35 points per game this year.

This is a tough game to read, but expect the Wildcats to get the win.

Prediction: Northwestern 71, Pitt 65

 

Final Challenge Prediction: Big Ten 8, ACC: 5

 

Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu.