The annual whooping the ACC puts on the Big Ten in basketball started last night. Actually, it was Wisconsin who came out on top of Virginia Tech Monday to start off the challenge.
Some people think this may be the last game the Big Ten wins in the entire event. However, Wisconsin's 74-72 buzzer-beater win might be the spark the Big Ten needs to pull the upset. It's not hard to see why people would doubt the Big Ten though. In nine years, the ACC holds a 56-30 advantage and the Big Ten hasn't even come close to winning this thing in the last few years. Not to mention, many view this as a "down year" for the conference.
There are ten games left; five tonight and five on Wednesday, and the Big Ten needs a split to, well, steal the challenge. The article linked above seems to base predictions solely on strength of schedule, regardless of wins and losses, and how bad the Big Ten teams have done in this competition in the past. I suppose that is as good a strategy as any, but let's go with my policy of hardcore bias and gut instinct based on what I had for lunch.
Here are Tuesday's games:
Iowa at Boston College, 6 PM
Iowa's program is not in the best shape and Boston College boasts a start in Tyrese Rice, but these two teams aren't easy to figure out. Anything could happen, but when in doubt in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge go with the home team. BC big.
Ohio State at (21) Miami, 6 PM
Wait, how long has Miami's basketball program been better than their football program? Does Michael Irvin know about this? I like Ohio State to pull the upset in this one. Well, I don't like Ohio State, but you get what I'm saying. The Buckeyes have only played three games, but they have reloaded with some young talent. Look for a phantom pass interference call to push the Bucks to a win. Deja Vu! OSU wins.
Clemson at Illinois, 6:30 PM
This will be the Big Ten's first home game and the Illini have a pretty good shot here. Why not, they're undefeated right? Well, Clemson has pulled the same trick of winning all their games against terrible teams. Illinois does have a win against Vandy that looks pretty good, so what the hell, I'll go with the Illini.
(4) Duke at (9) Purdue, 8 PM
Duke has never lost in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Purdue has never lost to Duke. Therefore, both teams will win. This is the showcase game for the entire event. Michigan State-UNC looks good tomorrow night, but not so much after MSU lost to Maryland last weekend. Purdue lost to Oklahoma last weekend and will have to close the free throw gap to have a chance against the Blue Devils. Oklahoma shot 46 free throws to Purdue's five. Robbie Hummel will have to step up for Purdue if they want to get the Big Ten a win here. Hate to do this, but I'll pick Duke.
Virginia at Minnesota, 8:30 PM
Minnesota has played no one good and is 6-0, Virginia has played one good team and four bad teams and is 3-2. This is usually when the Big Ten bias kicks in, but in a game where you have no idea who will win, always go with the
There you have it. The Big Ten will likely be out of this thing by the end of the night, but they have a legit shot in at least four of the five games tonight and could keep it close enough for tomorrow's five games to mean something.