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. NBCSports.com 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 JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_