It's the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and we couldn't ask for a better matchup on Tuesday night when the No. 16 North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-1) take on the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (5-0).
Two of the country's best backcourts will go head to head in what promises to be an evenly matched showdown of Top 25 schools.
Here's everything you need to know heading into what promises to be one of the more entertaining games of the year.
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
When: Tuesday, November 27, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: Not yet posted
Key Injuries for North Carolina State (via USA Today)
No injuries to report
Key Injuries for Michigan (via USA Today)
Josh Bartlestein, G—(Ankle)—Questionable
Tim Hardaway Jr., G—(Head)—Questionable
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, Hardaway will play against North Carolina State:
Michigan official says Tim Hardaway Jr. passed all concussion tests, just a bump on the head. Should be fine (NC State next week).— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) November 24, 2012
What's At Stake
NCAA tournament seeding.
Neither squad figures to fall into the abyss of the unranked with a loss in this game. and it would take a meltdown of epic proportions for both teams to not reach the NCAA tournament in March.
But when the selection committee gets together to work out brackets for March Madness, a win in this game will look awfully good on someone's resume.
North Carolina State Player To Watch: Lorenzo Brown
The catalyst for the Wolfpack offense, Lorenzo Brown has no problem attacking the rim, but he's become adept at seeing passing lanes and setting his teammates up for easy baskets.
A tenacious defender who led the ACC in steals in 2011-12, Brown is going to make things incredibly difficult for Michigan PG Trey Burke.
Michigan Player To Watch: Trey Burke
Trey Burke might be the best point guard in the country.
Not only is he a phenomenal creator for his teammates, but he has the ability to get his own shot.
Averaging nearly seven assists per game and shooting 47 percent from the field, it's clear that Burke has taken his game to another level a a sophomore.
This game is going to come down to which backcourt can contain the other one.
North Carolina State's fearsome foursome of Brown, Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis and Scott Wood is as good a backcourt as there is in the country.
With the ability to drain shots from long range or break down defenders to get to the rim, they are almost impossible to contain.
Michigan, however, doesn't have a bunch of slouches, either, and containing them will be equally as difficult.
Purvis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas and Matt Vogrich are equally adept at draining shots from long range and creating chances for their teammates in the lane.
Hardaway Jr, especially, has shown a jump shot that is incredibly more consistent—and deadly—than we've seen from him in the past.
Prediction: Michigan 86, North Carolina State 81
This is going to be a battle, with both teams getting excellent play from their guards and wings.
While the Wolfpack have the edge defensively, Michigan shoots the ball as well as any team in the country—and Hardaway Jr. is as hot as any player in the country.
They'll ride a huge game from him to squeak out the victory over a squad that they'll likely meet again when March Madness gets underway.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!