Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
I'll keep this brief because I'm not going to pretend like I can go 8-deep with every Big Ten and/or ACC team. These are my initial reactions to the match-ups.
Minnesota at Florida State
Michael Snear is the self-proclaimed best SG in the country. And he is very good, not sure if he is quite that good. This game makes me nervous. FSU is a good team that will be right in the thick of the ACC race and it is on the road.
But I'm a homer and KenPom also tells me we are going to win this one so I pick the Gophers to get a huge, road, resume building win.
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Tech wins, Iowa sucks.
NC State at Michigan
My initial reaction was to say Michigan, but apparently NC State is pretty good this year and might even win the ACC. And to be honest with you I'm not nearly as high on Michigan as everyone else is. I know that Michigan is at home but I'm going with an ACC pick-up here as NC State hits a bunch of threes and goes on to beat Michigan. This is a big upset and might swing this thing in the ACC's favor.
Maryland at Northwestern
I want to pick Maryland here but KenPom tells me it is Northwestern with 76% certainty. That is a pretty high probability and it is a home game for the Cats.
Nebraska at Wake Forest
Another one where I'll just defer to KenPom where I'm told Wake is a 68% favorite. Wake Forest it is. The real question is, is this the worst game of the Challenge? Other worth candidates are Penn State vs BC or Iowa vs. Virginia Tech.
North Carolina at Indiana
OK, this should be a great game to watch. I was all set to pick North Carolina in a big upset, but that would just be stupid. I do think Indiana is ripe for an upset but they are at home and North Carolina isn't going to be the team that does it. Indiana wins.
Virginia at Wisconsin - this is an interesting match-up with Tony Bennett coming back to Madison with his Cavaliers. Paul Jesperson is a UVA guard and also makes this match-up interesting considering he is from Wisconsin and someone the Gophers fought to get.
I'm not as high on Wisconsin this year after they lost their PG, but I'll take them at home against a bottom-half of ACC Virginia team.
Purdue at Clemson
Another Big Ten team that I'm not very high on, I'm picking a balanced Clemson squad.
Michigan State at Miami
The Spartans finally get a break and do not have to face Duke or North Carolina. This is a road game but should be a relatively easy win for Izzo and the Spartans.
Georgia Tech at Illinois
Illinois and it won't be close.
Boston College at Penn State
Arguably the worst team in the ACC against arguably the worst team in the Big Ten, I am not likely to watch 5 seconds of this game. A lesser man would pick BC out of spite for BSD picking Florida State. But I want to see Penn State win this one at home. This might be their only win over a BCS conference opponent this year.
Ohio State at Duke - These two teams played last year and the Buckeyes won at home. This year it is at Cameron Indoor. Both of these teams have great starting fives and don't tend to get much production out of their bench (Duke's bench scored 2 points against Minnesota). Ohio State isn't good enough to win this year at Duke, but I hope I'm wrong.
Big Ten - 7
ACC - 5