Trey Burke

Who will win the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge? CBT staff makes its picks

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Just prior to the start of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, CollegeBasketballTalk took some time to pick the winners. Here’s the way we see it:

To read the preview for Day 1 of the ACC Big Ten Challenge, click here. A preview for Day 2 will be posted Wednesday.

Iowa vs. Virginia Tech

Eric Angevine – Iowa

Rob Dauster – Iowa

Daniel Martin – Iowa

David Harten – Iowa

Troy Machir – Virginia Tech

Raphielle Johnson – Iowa

Terrence Payne – Iowa

CBT Pick: Iowa, 6-1

No. 21 Minnesota vs. Florida State

Eric Angevine – Minnesota

Rob Dauster – Florida State

Daniel Martin – Minnesota

David Harten – Minnesota

Troy Machir – Minnesota

Raphielle Johnson – Florida State

Terrence Payne – Florida State

CBT Pick: Minnesota, 4-3

No. 18 NC State vs. No. 3 Michigan

Eric Angevine – NC State

Rob Dauster – Michigan

Daniel Martin – Michigan

David Harten – Michigan

Troy Machir – Michigan

Raphielle Johnson – Michigan

Terrence Payne – Michigan

CBT Pick: Michigan, 6-1

Maryland vs. Northwestern 
Eric Angevine – Maryland

Rob Dauster – Maryland

Daniel Martin – Maryland

David Harten – Northwestern

Troy Machir – Maryland

Raphielle Johnson – Maryland

Terrence Payne – Maryland

CBT Pick: Maryland, 6-1

Nebraska vs. Wake Forest 
Eric Angevine – Nebraska

Rob Dauster – Wake Forest

Daniel Martin – Wake Forest

David Harten – Nebraska

Troy Machir – Nebraska

Raphielle Johnson – Nebraska

Terrence Payne – Wake Forest

CBT Pick: Wake Forest, 4-3

No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 14 North Carolina
Eric Angevine – Indiana

Rob Dauster – Indiana

Daniel Martin – Indiana

David Harten – Indiana

Troy Machir – Indiana

Raphielle Johnson – Indiana

Terrence Payne – Indiana

CBT Pick: Indiana, 7-0

Wisconsin vs. Virginia 
Eric Angevine – Virginia

Rob Dauster – Wisconsin

Daniel Martin – Wisconsin

David Harten – Virginia

Troy Machir – Wisconsin

Raphielle Johnson – Wisconsin

Terrence Payne – Wisconsin

CBT Pick: Wisconsin, 5-2

Clemson vs. Purdue 
Eric Angevine – Clemson

Rob Dauster – Purdue

Daniel Martin – Clemson

David Harten – Purdue

Troy Machir – Clemson

Raphielle Johnson – Clemson

Terrence Payne – Clemson

CBT Pick: Clemson, 5-2

Miami vs. No. 13 Michigan State
Eric Angevine – Michigan State

Rob Dauster – Michigan State

Daniel Martin – Michigan State

David Harten – Michigan State

Troy Machir – Miami

Raphielle Johnson – Miami

Terrence Payne – Michigan State

CBT Pick: Michigan State, 5-2

No. 22 Illinois vs. Georgia Tech 
Eric Angevine – Illinois

Rob Dauster – Illinois

Daniel Martin – Illinois

David Harten – Illinois

Troy Machir – Illinois

Raphielle Johnson – Illinois

Terrence Payne – Illinois

CBT Pick: Illinois, 7-0

Boston College vs. Penn State 
Eric Angevine – Boston College

Rob Dauster – Boston College

Daniel Martin – Penn State

David Harten – Boston College

Troy Machir – Penn State

Raphielle Johnson – Boston College

Terrence Payne – Penn State

CBT Pick: Boston College, 4-3

No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Duke 
Eric Angevine – Duke

Rob Dauster – Duke

Daniel Martin – Duke

David Harten – Duke

Troy Machir – Duke

Raphielle Johnson – Ohio State

Terrence Payne – Duke

CBT Pick: Duke, 6-1

CBT Consensus Pick: Big Ten wins 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, 7-5

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

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.