Tag: ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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Late Night Snacks: ACC/Big Ten Challenge continues while Memphis takes a bad home loss

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GAME OF THE NIGHT No. 17 Michigan 68, Syracuse 65

In one of the better head-to-head matchups of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Wolverines got the best of Syracuse thanks to Spike Albrecht’s big second half and late-game heroics. Albrecht’s three-pointer with 31 seconds left in the game put Michigan ahead by three and while his 11-point, nine-assist game looks average on paper, much of that production came when Michigan needed him to step up. Zak Irvin also scored 18 points and All-American candidate Caris LeVert had 12 points and six assists.


1. Stephen F. Austin 64, Memphis 52

Things were already off to a dicey start for the Tigers this season, but the heat is going to be on after a double-digit home loss to drop Memphis to 2-3. Guard play continued to be really bad for the Tigers as the Lumberjacks won despite shooting only 41 percent from the field and 35 percent from the three-point line. Memphis will need to bounce back quickly and start to string together some wins if they want to build momentum heading into conference play.

2. No. 5 Louisville 64, No. 14 Ohio State 55

The Cardinals jumped out to a 35-18 halftime lead, but the Buckeyes made them sweat out a home win by making the game close in the final minutes. Freshman D’Angelo Russell struggled to shoot consistently for Ohio State but he still made enough plays to finish with 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds. For Louisville, senior Wayne Blackshear had one of the finest performances of his career as he led all scorers with 22 points and added six rebounds while junior forward Montrezl Harrell had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

3. No. 15 Miami 70, No. 24 Illinois 61

This didn’t look like it would be one of the best ACC/Big Ten Challenge games on the schedule entering the season, but in a battle of unbeatens, Miami was able to slow down Illinois’ high-scoring offense for another solid win. Junior guard Angel Rodriguez was limited to nine points on 2-for-9 shooting for the Hurricanes, but Miami’s offense did a nice job piecing together a balanced scoring effort as Deandre Burnett had 19 points off the bench and and Manu Lecomte added 15 points.


1. The Big Ten

The conference jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge early in the night before dropping a few and winning the final game of the evening to finish ahead 6-2 with one more night to go. While Wednesday night’s game between top-five teams Duke and Wisconsin and a fun matchup between Iowa and North Carolina will still draw the nation’s attention, it looks like most of the Big Ten’s non-elite teams are stronger at this point in the season.

2. James Madison guard Andre Nation

James Madison guard Andre Nation has only played in two games so far this season after serving a suspension and he made his presence felt for the Dukes in their 63-61 win over Campbell. How, you might ask? With the game-winning alley-oop with 1.9 seconds left.

3. Purdue big men

One of the most fascinating “platoons” in college basketball this season is the center duo at Purdue in junior All-Big Ten candidate A.J. Hammons and freshman center Isaac Haas. The duo combined for exactly 40 minutes in Tuesday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge win over N.C. State and finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds on 10-for-17 shooting. Hammons is a load to handle on the interior on his own, but now teams have to worry about the emergence of Haas, who has improved tremendously over the last year coming into his first year of college basketball.


1. Pittsburgh starting guards

It looked like Pitt had some momentum entering the ACC/Big Ten Challenge after a big Maui Invitational win over Kansas State last week but the Panthers starting backcourt of James Robinson and Chris Young struggled in the 81-69 loss to Indiana. Robinson was 1-for-9 from the field and Young was 6-for-17 as neither could get consistent production as scorers.

2. VCU’s offense

For much of the season, the Rams have struggled to generate consistent offense — especially when Havoc isn’t working. But thankfully for head coach Shaka Smart, VCU began forcing a lot of Illinois State turnovers in the second half and won despite shooting only 33 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point line in a 66-62 win. The Rams will have to figure out some more ways to free up offense in the half court, but they did fight back for a nice comeback road win over a tough Missouri Valley opponent.


  • Khadeem Carrington had the best game of his young college career as the Seton Hall freshman guard went 8-for-8 for 16 points off the bench in the Pirates’ 78-55 win over Mount St. Mary’s.
  • D’Angelo Harrison had 16 points and nine rebounds to help St. John’s get past Niagara, 70-57.
  • Hofstra junior guard Ameen Tanksley had a night to remember, going for 30 points on 9-for-9 shooting and 5-for-5 three-point shooting in the Pride’s 88-74 win over Norfolk State.
  • Georgia used the scoring of Kenny Gaines (25 points) and Marcus Thornton (24 points) to run past Chattanooga, 86-55.
  • LSU had a big night from Josh Gray as the junior guard had 25 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals in a 82-60 win over UMass.
  • Minnesota got 27 points and seven rebounds from guard Andre Hollins in an 84-69 win over Wake Forest.
  • In a high-scoring affair, Louisiana Tech got past Northwestern State, 99-88, as guard Alex Hamilton finished with 30 points.
  • Coming off the bench, Texas freshman Myles Turner had 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a 63-53 win over UT-Arlington.
  • One of the best mid-major guards in the country, Evansville’s D.J. Balentine, went for 28 points in the Purple Aces’ 86-78 win over Wright State.
  • Iowa State had five players in double-figures as the No. 20 Cyclones cruised to a 96-59 win over Lamar. Bryce Dejean-Jones had 12 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead the way.
  • Buzzer beaters are always fun, and Eric Laster from Loyola (MD) made a tough one to give the Greyhounds a win over Columbia.
  • Nino Williams only played 20 minutes but had 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting as Kansas State rolled past Omaha for an 84-66 win.
  • Bradley junior guard Warren Jones dropped 33 points as the Braves won 84-73 over Central Michigan.
  • Stanley Johnson and Gabe York each had 18 points as No. 3 Arizona got past Gardner-Webb 91-65.
  • Gonzaga actually trailed Southeastern Louisiana, 33-32, at the half before taking over and running away with a 76-57 win. Kyle Wiltjer led the Zags with 20 points.
  • Alabama was able to knock off South Florida as Rodney Cooper had 20 points and Ricky Tarrant added 17.
  • An efficient Tuesday evening for Larry Nance Jr. as he led Wyoming with 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting in a 68-42 win over Denver.
  • There aren’t many duos on the west coast better than Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth and they had another big night in a BYU road win at Utah State. Haws went for 35 points and Collinsworth had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
  • DePaul had five players finish with at least 13 points in a 78-67 win over Northern Illinois. Junior forward Myke Henry and sophomore guard Billy Garrett Jr. each had 15.

No. 15 Miami significantly slows down No. 24 Illinois and its offense in ACC/Big Ten Challenge win

Illinois v Miami
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Miami has already proven itself during the initial weeks of the 2014-15 season. The Hurricanes earned a road win over (then) top-ten in-state rival Florida the first week of the season before winning the Charleston Classic and ascending to No. 15 in the rankings this week.

Tuesday night the Hurricanes passed another important test, as they held high-scoring No. 24 Illinois to a season-low in points in a 70-61 home win. While the Hurricanes have relied at times on strong individual scoring performances from guards Angel Rodriguez and Shelden McClellan during the early part of the season, it was the defense and a balanced scoring effort that got it done to give the ACC their first win in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Entering Tuesday night’s game, Illinois was averaging 90 points per game on 48 percent shooting. Those numbers plummeted against Miami, as the Fighting Illini struggled to find consistent perimeter shooting — which was a huge issue for them last season — as they were held to 33 percent from the floor and 23 percent from three-point range.

Illinois entered this season with some questions at point guard after starting lead guard and senior Tracy Abrams went down with a torn ACL. Abrams’ replacements in the lineup, transfer guards Ahmad Starks and Aaron Cosby, didn’t answer the call against the Hurricanes. The two combined to go 2-for-20 from the field and 2-for-13 from three-point range and didn’t give the Illini much of anything.

Senior guard Rayvonte Rice had a big outing as the go-to performer for Illinois, going for 22 points and 12 rebounds, but Starks and Cosby need to make life easier for him by hitting shots and providing floor spacing. It doesn’t help that the duo also can’t match the perimeter defense that Abrams provides and it was part of the reason that Miami committed a season-low five turnovers.

But back to Miami’s effort, which was certainly impressive. The Hurricanes only trailed 3-0 early in the game and controlled the rest of the game on both ends of the floor — when the game didn’t devolve into an ugly chuck-fest for both teams. It’s no secret that both of these teams aren’t afraid to hoist perimeter shots and there were quite a bit of quick looks from both teams as neither could really find an offensive rhythm.

Miami also has to be pleased that its offense stepped up when Rodriguez struggled. The junior point guard only had nine points on 2-for-9 shooting, but Deandre Burnett had 19 points off the bench, Manu Lecomte chipped in 15 points and McClellan added 14.

Miami is 8-0 for the first time since 2009 and Jim Larranaga’s team looks like they are starting to get a comfortable feel for how to win tight games in different ways. The Hurricanes beat a good opponent in Illinois and didn’t need Rodriguez to go in beast mode and they held the lead for nearly the entire game despite shooting only 38 percent from the field.

There hasn’t been a time that Miami has faced a truly elite team this season — Florida is very depleted and Illinois is still finding itself offensively around Rice against good defenses — but the Hurricanes are finding ways to win games and look like arguably college basketball’s biggest surprise to this point in the young season.

Previewing, predicting the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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Jahlil Okafor (Getty Images)

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge kicked off Monday evening, but the best games of the event will begin on Tuesday night.

Here is the complete schedule, a ranking of the matchups and a quick preview and our picks in each game (all times EST):

1. No. 4 Duke at No. 2 Wisconsin, Wed. 9:30 p.m.: The marquee matchup of the challenge will arguably be the best matchup we get all season long. Two of the nation’s top three teams. The favorite in the ACC vs. the favorite in the Big Ten. Perhaps most importantly, the nation’s two best big men in Frank Kaminsky and Jahlil Okafor will square off. I could not be more excited about this matchup.

CBT Prediction: Wisconsin

2. No. 14 Ohio State at No. 5 Louisville, Tue. 9:30 p.m.: Ohio State has proven to be better than we expected this season, as Shannon Scott looks like the second coming of John Stockton and D’angelo Russell has been quite good early on this season. Watching Russell matchup with Terry Rozier will be fun, but the key may end up being who on Ohio State draws the unenviable task of trying to cover Montrezl Harrell.

CBT Prediction: Louisville

3. No. 7 Virginia at No. 21 Maryland, Wed. 9:15 p.m.: Well, this is boring. The leagues had a chance to get a rematch from last year’s Sweet 16 thriller between Michigan State and Virginia, but instead decided to send the 10 Cavs on the road to face their old ACC rival Maryland in the Terps’ first season in the Big Ten. Snore. That said, Maryland has played like a top 25 team, but without Dez Wells and with Evan Smotrycz banged up, this matchup has lost some of its luster.

CBT Prediction: Virginia

Jerian Grant (AP Photo)

4. No. 19 Michigan State at Notre Dame, Wed. 7:15 p.m.: The Spartans have not looked great through seven games, but Branden Dawson, Denzel Valentine and Travis Trice have all played well. That said, Notre Dame looks like a sleeper to finish in the top four in the ACC, and Jerian Grant has played like an all-american.

CBT Prediction: Notre Dame

5. Syracuse at No. 17 Michigan, Tue. 7:30 p.m.: A rematch of the 2013 Final Four minus much of the intrigue. Michigan has great guards, but they are still trying to figure their big men out. Syracuse has the opposite issue. Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough have been great, but their back court still has some question marks.

CBT Pick: Michigan

6. No. 24 Illinois at No. 15 Miami, Tue. 9:00 p.m.: So Angel Rodriguez has been pretty good, hasn’t he? Sheldon McClellan too, right? Miami already owns a win over Florida and won the Charleston Classic. But Illinois? They are undefeated as well. The most underrated matchup of the event.

CBT Pick: Miami

7. Iowa at North Carolina, Wed. 7:30 p.m.: This game was a lot more intriguing before we realized that Iowa’s back court was not that good. Intriguing storyline here: Marcus Paige, who has had a slow start to the season, is an Iowa native.

CBT Pick: North Carolina

8. N.C. State at Purdue, Tue. 9:00 p.m.: N.C. State has been one of the most surprising teams in the ACC this season. Purdue? They’ve surprised a lot of people in the Big Ten as well. Cat Barber, Trevor Lacey and A.J. Hammons are all underrated nationally. This will be a good gauge game for both teams.

CBT Pick: N.C. State

9. Pitt at Indiana, Tue. 7:00 p.m.: It will be interesting to see what happens with Indiana this season, as the program is dealing with quite a bit of turmoil. Pitt should make a return to the NCAA tournament as well.

CBT Pick: Indiana

10. Nebraska at Florida State, Mon. 7:00 p.m.: Nebraska has already lost to Rhode Island on the road, but Florida State is missing two key back court pieces, Devon Bookert and Aaron Thomas.

CBT Pick: Nebraska (UPDATE: Nebraska won)

11. Minnesota at Wake Forest, Tue. 7:00 p.m.

CBT Pick: Minnesota

12. Georgia Tech at Northwestern, Wed. 9:15 p.m.

CBT Pick: Georgia Tech

13. Virginia Tech at Penn State, Wed. 7:15 p.m.

CBT Pick: Penn State

14. Rutgers at Clemson, Mon. 7:00 p.m.

CBT Pick: Clemson (UPDATE: Rutgers won)