ACC Continues Dominance Over Big Ten

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge was designed to put two of the nation’s power conferences head to head to showcase some quality NCAA Tournament type games early in the season. Teams from each conference would face a comparable team from the other league in a battle for supremacy. Through its first eight years, it’s been no contest: the ACC has dominated the challenge, winning every year since its creation. 2007 looks no different as the Big Ten has managed only one win through the first six games. In order to take the crown for the first time, the Big Ten must sweep all five games on the slate for Wednesday night, or else they will fall to 0-9 against the ACC.

The only winner so far for the Big Ten was Indiana, a huge favorite at home against Georgia Tech. The Hoosiers, led by Eric Gordon, have major plans for San Antonio this season, while the young Yellow Jackets are just looking to build a solid resume for March. Indiana prevailed, barely pulling out a 83-79 victory in which Gordon led the way with 29 points and DJ White had 18 points and 14 rebounds. Paul Hewitt’s team fell to 3-3, but this loss was the most encouraging, coming on the road to a top-20 team.

Other completed games from the Challenge:

Wake Forest over Iowa, 56-47
The main story surrounding the Demon Deacons is their attempt to cope with the loss of their former head coach Skip Prosser, who passed away unexpectedly during the offseason. New coach Dino Gaudio has his team off to a solid 4-0 start, and his team used an early run to build a 16 point halftime lead, which Iowa never came close to denting during the offensive struggle.

Virginia over Northwestern, 94-52
This was a mismatch from the get go as the Cavaliers beat one of Division I’s worst teams comprehensively. Virginia hit 16 three-pointers exploiting a disastrous zone implemented by the Wildcats. Mamadi Diane led the way, hitting six treys and scoring 22 points in a game that was reminiscent of a 1 vs. 16 matchup. The Cavaliers responded well to their first loss of the season, improving their mark to 6-1, while sending Northwestern back home with a 1-4 record.

Florida State over Minnesota, 75-61
Tubby Smith’s Golden Gophers eased their way into the season by scheduling three cupcakes en route to an early 3-0 record. However, facing their first real competition of the season, Minnesota just couldn’t hang with the Seminoles. Smith’s team just shot 34% from the field and only hit six free throws, compared to 27 from Florida State. The victors had four players in double figures, led by Isiah Swann’s 15. The win improved Leonard Hamilton’s team to 6-2.

Duke over Wisconsin, 82-58
This was perhaps the most surprising result of the six completed games of the challenge, not because of the resuly, but because of the margin of victory. Duke has looked much improved from their disastrous season a year ago, but they beat down a quality team badly. The Blue Devils jumped on the Badgers early, building a 20 point lead in the first half, and maintaining it throughout the second half. Duke did their damage from the three point line, knocking down 11 from downtown, while getting five guys to double figures. Greg Paulus led the way with 18 in his most productive scoring game of the season. Him and Taylor King combined to hit nine treys to help the Blue Devils notch their second win over a ranked team in six days.

Clemson over Purdue, 61-58
The only competitive game of the night was a sloppy one that saw Clemson overcome a horrific 10-26 performance from the line to pull out a late victory. Trailing most of the way, the Tigers overcame a six point deficit in the last 6:22 to complete another win for the ACC. Playing without injured star James Mays, K.C. Rivers stepped up and put together his first double double of the season. Rivers had 18 points, 12 rebounds, and the game winning shot with 30 seconds left that broke a 58-58 tie. The Boilermakers definitely didn’t play their best game, but they held their own in a hostile environment, and will contend for a second straight Tournament bid this season.

11/29 UPDATE: The ACC continued their dominance of the Big Ten, winning three of five games on the third and final day of the challenge to take the cup, 8-3.

Wednesday's Games:

#10 Michigan State oer #24 NC State, 81-58
Boston College over Michigan, 77-64
Maryland over Illinois, 69-61
#1 North Carolina over Ohio State, 66-55
Penn State over Virginia Tech, 66-61


With Malice said...

Excellent work... really enjoyed reading that.

Keep up the good stuff, especially the college ball (I don't get to read enough on that!).


PJS said...

Minnesota won at Iowa State. How is that a cupcake? ISU might be down this season, but scheduling a road game against a power conference as your second game of the year can't be construed as 'scheduling three cupcakes.'

Sportsattitude said...

Duke is absolutely the real deal this season. Will be Top Ten all year long. Will agree with pjs on the Iowa State comment. True that the Cyclone women have been doing better than the men in recent times, but Iowa State in your second game of the season is doing better than most of the elite teams are scheduling.

With Malice said...


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