Tuesday, 28 November 2006

A look at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge

As always at this time of year, we've got some interesting matchups in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Historically, the ACC is 7-0 in these challenges and things point to them making it 8-0, but there are some intriguing subplots nonetheless. Here's a look at what happened today:

(10) Duke 54, Indiana 51
For all of the talk about Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus, I'm not even sure they're that good. Ok, McRoberts is a very athletic big man, dribbles well for his size, and is a good passer. But as a #1 scorer? I've not been convinced. He had 7 points against the Hoosiers and is only averaging about 11. As for Paulus, I think he was ok last year when he didn't have to do much. I'm not convinced he can do any more than just be a caretaker for the offense. He can't shoot, he can't get to the hole that well, and he's not quick enough defensively to stick with quick PGs. Ok, Duke won, but that does not mean all is well for the Dukies.

(13) Wisconsin 81, Florida St. 66
Someone wrote this, and I don't remember who, but FSU is like the Michigan of the ACC. They always seem like they have the talent to do things, but they never do. I mean, losing at Pittsburgh and then at Wisconsin is not unreasonable by any means... but they've just looked so bad doing it. Wisconsin, meanwhile, looks strong as expected. They are deep, talented, and one of the top 2 teams in the Big 10.

(19) Maryland 72, Illinois 66
Very interesting matchup here, as Maryland snapped a very long Illinois non-conference home winning streak, continuing their great run to start the year. The Terps are now 8-0 and one of the most impressive teams in the country. With the Terps youth/experience blend, they very well could be the second best team in the ACC after North Carolina. Duke is down, BC is not playing well, and Georgia Tech is still very young. At the very least, a return trip to the NCAAs is in order for the Terps.

(24) Georgia Tech 77, Penn St. 73
I know the Nittany Lions have had a tough loss earlier this year to Stony Brook, but they're still a solid ballclub. Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley are one of the top duos in the Big 10. But once again, GT got things done. Javaris Crittenton scored 14 points and doled out 5 assists, while Lewis Clinch continues to just knock down shots, draining 4 threes on his way to 20 points. Nice win for the Yellow Jackets as they try to distance themselves a little from the middle of the pack in the ACC.

Northwestern 61, Miami 59
Move along, nothing to see here.

ACC holds the 4-2 lead so far, with a few more games remaining. Here are the games to be played Wednesday, with my picks in bold.

Michigan St. @ Boston College
Iowa @ Virginia Tech
Virginia @ Purdue
Ohio St. @ North Carolina
Clemson @ Minnesota