Big Ten-ACC Challenge Preview and Predictions, Every Game!

nate north carolina

The ACC-Big Ten Challenge has not been much of a challenge at all as the Atlantic Coast Conference has won ten of the eleven years since its inception in 1999.  The only time the Big Ten conquered this match-up was last season; as the Midwest's premiere conference won six of the eleven games including Wisconsin's home upset of then sixth ranked Duke.

This week, the Big Ten should be the favorite. 

If they are able to once again take down the ACC, in the words of Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown in Major League, "that's called a winning streak."  Here is a breakdown and predictions for the 2010 ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

-Virginia (3-3) at Minnesota (6-0), Mon 6:00, ESPNU
The Gophs have already defeated five NCAA Tournament caliber teams
including a first place finish at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.  However,
they are expected to be without starters Al Nolen and Rodney Williams
who will both be sidelined with injuries.  There is reportedly help on
the way though as Devoe Joseph is rumored to return from suspension and
can help fill the void left by Nolen.

Prediction: MN 74, VA 57

-Georgia Tech (4-2) at Northwestern (4-0), Tues 6:00, ESPN2
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a ten-point win against UTEP and an
encouraging four-point loss to Syracuse.  Their guard play is talented
but rather inconsistent while forward Brian Oliver has played well
averaging more than 21 points in G-Tech's last three games. 
Northwestern had their first true test Sunday when they knocked off
Creighton 65-52.  John Shurna and Drew Crawford account for half of the
'Cats scoring and will be put to the test Tuesday night.

Prediction: NW 83, GT 71

-Iowa (3-3) at Wake Forest (3-3), Tues 6:00, ESPNU
Both teams are young and undergoing re-building years which is why they
have each suffered early season hiccups.  The Demon Deacons have lost to
Stetson, Winthrop, and were blown out at home by VCU.  The Hawkeyes
were the lowest ranked power conference school in my pre-season rankings
and have already fallen to South Dakota State and Long Beach State. 
You could not pay me to watch this game.

Prediction: WF 84, IA 72

Jared Sullinger Ohio State

-Ohio State (5-0) at Florida State (5-1), Tues 6:30, ESPN
I really like this Ohio State team and their defensive effort has been
extremely impressive as they have allowed 45 or less points in each of
their last three games.  The 'Noles have a quick turnaround after
falling to Florida on Sunday.  If the Buckeyes can contain Chris
Singleton who was just 2 of 12 shooting against the Gators, OSU should
pick up the tough road win.

Prediction: OSU 66, FSU 59

-Michigan (3-2) at Clemson (5-1), Tues 8:00, ESPN2
The Wolverines are young this season as five freshmen see significant minutes including Tim Hardaway
Jr.  The Tigers only loss has been a one point defeat to a very good
Old Dominion team as they have been getting things done on the defensive
end.  Clemson is very balanced on O' as six players average between
9-14 points.

Prediction: CLEM 67, MICH 54

-North Carolina (3-2) at Illinois (6-1), Tues 8:30, ESPN
This Illini team has been very well balanced getting great guard play
from Demetri McCamey, D.J. Richardson, and Brandon Paul.  They will need
the Mike's (Tisdale and Davis) to play big since the Heels do not have a
lot of muscle or depth up-front.  UNC is coming off a terrible showing
at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off but has the talent to pull off the upset.  As
we have learned with this group though, talent does not equal wins.  I
am interested to see Harrison Barnes and Jereme Richmond match-up
against each other at the three.

Prediction: ILL 78, UNC 73

-N.C. State (4-1) at Wisconsin (4-2), Wed 6:15, ESPN2

The Badgers did not shoot the ball especially well in Orlando at the Old
Spice Classic and face a very athletic Wolfpack team that does not
shoot the ball well from distance either.   Three of N.C. State's four
leading scorers are freshmen and they will be without bruiser Tracy
Smith due to injury which does not bode well when visiting a tough
environment like the Kohl Center.

Prediction: WIS: 61, NCS: 53

Maurice Creek

-Indiana (6-0) at Boston College (4-2), Wed 6:15, ESPNU
Indiana is a much improved squad this season but has played an
incredibly weak schedule en route to their unbeaten record.  B.C. is
coming off an encouraging performance at the Old Spice Classic in which
they beat Texas A&M and Cal, and lost to Wisconsin after leading at
the half.  I want to give the Eagles the edge but there is a tiny bit of
me that is concerned about their legs since this will be their fourth
game in seven days and they are not a very deep team.  Plus, I need to
pick one upset.

Prediction: IND 66, BC 62

-Purdue (5-1) at Virginia Tech (4-2), Wed 6:30, ESPN
This will be the deciding game in the challenge.  The Boilermakers were
upset by Richmond at the Chicago Invitational Tournament after scoring
just 14 first half points while the Hokies fell to UNLV in the 76
Classic championship game.  Purdue needs someone not named E'Twaun Moore
or JaJuan Johnson step up while focusing their defensive effort on
containing Malcolm Delaney, who can light it up from deep but also
attack the basket.

Prediction: PUR 58, VT 57

-Maryland (5-2) at Penn State (5-1), Wed 8:15, ESPN2
Unless the Nittany Lions somehow figure out how to clone four Talor
Battles and have two of them grow eight inches, Penn State really does
not stand a chance.

Predictions: MARY: 72, PSU 53

Kyrie Irving

-Michigan State (4-1) at Duke (6-0), Wed 8:30, ESPN
The Main Event!  Sparty did not look sharp in Maui and the Blue Devils
seem practically unbeatable at this point of the season.  MSU has lost
to UNC the past two years in the challenge and will not be intimidated
playing at Cameron.  There are a lot of intriguing match-ups:
Lucas/Irving, Summers/Smith, Green/Singler and this could very well end
up being an early look at the national title game.  For now, Duke is
just the better team.

Prediction: DUKE: 79, MSU 71

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.


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