ACC/Big Ten Challenge finishes with 6-6 tie
After a Tuesday that saw the Big Ten go 4-2, the ACC came back to do the same on Wednesday to finish the annual challenge between power conferences at a 6-6 deadlock. The Big Ten, who had won the previous three challenges, retained the Commissioner's Cup as the previous years winner. Nonetheless, this signified a major step forward for the ACC as they took some key match-up's.
Duke managed to avenge their 2011 beatdown at the hands of Ohio State, winning 73-68 at Cameron. Rasheed Sulaimon scored all of his 17 points in the 2nd half, while Mason Plumlee continued his solid senior season with a 21 point and 17 rebound performance. Duke moved to 7-0 on the season and should hold down their #2 ranking. After looking sluggish out of the gate, the Blue Devils once again made defense their calling card, holding the Buckeyes to 33.8% FG on the game. DeShaun Thomas led Ohio State with 16 points.
- Indiana may not have faced the quality of teams that Duke has thus far, but they still absolutely appear worthy of the title of the #1 team in NCAA basketball. They manhandled North Carolina at Assembly Hall with Cody Zeller leading the way with 20 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks. Juniors Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey each finished with 19 and the Hoosiers held North Carolina's primary offensive option James McAdoo to 10 points on 4-15 FG. While they may have had minor struggles in the Legends Classic against Georgia and Georgetown, the Hoosiers still look like they have everything it takes to challenge for a NCAA championship.
- Trey Burke had a very memorable performance for Michigan against North Carolina State, scoring all of his 18 points in the 2nd half. Burke also finished the game with a career high 11 assists and no turnovers, clearly get the best of the talented Wolfpack guard core. Freshman Nik Stauskas scored 20 points off of the bench for Michigan, with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III also finishing in double figures. TJ Warren scored 18 for NC State, with CJ Leslie adding 16, at one point shrinking the lead to 5 points with a little less than a minute remaining. Michigan managed to draw an offensive foul on Leslie, ending the comeback bid with a final of 79-72. Michigan has taken care of the ball exceptionally well and while they can struggle a tad with size, they can cause teams fits with their outside shooting.
- Miami stormed the court after a big time upset win over #13 Michigan State. Seniors Trey McKinney Jones and Durand Scott finished with 18 and 15 respectively, while center Reggie Johnson chipped in 10 and 11 rebounds. Freshman Gary Harris, returning from injury after missing Michigan State's last two contests, finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds in the loss. After an embarassing loss to Florida Gulf Coast early in the season when they were missing Scott, Miami looks like they are back on track to compete amongst the top half of the ACC.
- Virginia Tech's Erick Green is getting some serious buzz for his consistency to start off his senior season. He was right around his season average with 24 points and 5 assists in the Hokies 95-79 takedown of Iowa. Tech is now 6-0 and with improvement from wing players Jarrell Eddie and Robert Brown will look to show they can compete in the ACC.
- In what was probably the biggest road win of the Challenge, Minnesota beat Florida State 77-68 to give validation to their Top 25 ranking. Other road winners were Maryland over Northwestern, Nebraska over Wake Forest, Virginia over Wisconsin, Purdue over Clemson and Boston College over Penn State.
- Illinois has once again gotten off to a blistering start to the season at 8-0 after beating Georgia Tech 75-62. Last year the Illini won their first 10 contests before finishing the season at 17-15. With new coach John Groce at the helm along with some maturation from players such as Brandon Paul and Joseph Bertrand, hopefully Illinois will not face the same drop off they did last year.