NC State

Day 1 Preview and Schedule: ACC/Big Ten Challenge starts Tuesday


The ACC/Big Ten Challenge starts Tuesday, featuring six of the 12 games between the clashing conferences.

Below is a preview of Tuesday’s slate of games. will have a preview of Wednesday’s games tomorrow.

Game of the Night: No. 14 North Carolina at No. 1 Indiana, 9:30 p.m.

The No. 1 team in the nation, Indiana, faces its first big challenge of the season against James Michael McAdoo and the Tar Heels. The McAdoo-Cody Zeller match-up down low will be interesting to see, along with the young point guard match-up between UNC’s Marcus Paige and IU’s Yogi Ferrell.

Last week in Brooklyn, Indiana looked lethargic in the first half before flipping the switch and beating Georgia. Can North Carolina catch the Hoosiers on an off night and dethrone the nation’s No. 1 team?

Another Game to Watch: No. 18 NC State at No. 3 Michigan, 7:30 p.m.

By winning the Preseason NIT in New York last week, Michigan showed that it is a legit Top 5 team. The combination of Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glenn Robinson III, and Trey Burke is as difficult a backcourt/wing ensemble as you’ll find anywhere.

NC State, with such high expectations coming into the season, disappointed many with a blowout loss to Oklahoma State and narrow victory over UNC-Asheville, but the season is young. TJ Warren has been impressive as a freshman, averaging 14.8 points per game.

Rest of the Slate:

Iowa at Virginia Tech, 7:15 p.m.

Minnesota at Florida State, 7:15 p.m.

Nebraska at Wake Forest, 9:15 p.m.

Maryland at Northwestern, 9:15 p.m.

Star Player to Watch: Alex Len, Maryland

Many expected Len to break out this season and he has delivered, putting up 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game so far this season. The Terrapins should be looking for him again vs. Northwestern. Len continues to build his resume, one that will likely make him a hot commodity when the 2013 NBA Draft rolls around.

Match-up to Watch: Lorenzo Brown (NC State) vs. Trey Burke (Michigan)

Brown and Burke are both arguably Top-10 point guards in the country and they’ll face off Tuesday night. Brown has inside and wing options like Richard Howell, TJ Warren, and CJ Leslie, while Burke looks more to Robinson III and Hardaway, Jr., as complements. Both can work as offensive engines for their respective teams, so it should be fun to watch Tuesday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.