Big Ten-ACC Challenge Day Two Preview, Predictions

Ryan Curi@rcuri1Featured ColumnistDecember 4, 2013

CORONADO, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Branden Dawson #22 of the Michigan State Spartans catches a rebond with John Henson #31 and Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic on board the USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011 in Coronado, California.  The Tar Heels won 67-55.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Maryland at Ohio State

Time: 7 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN

This time next season, Maryland will still be taking part in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, though on the opposite side of the draw. Mark Turgeon's Terrapins will be members of the Big Ten, returning a team with only one senior. Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz has been a welcome addition while Dez Wells has star power in him.

The Buckeyes return everyone aside from Deshaun Thomas from last year's Elite Eight squad. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott offer a starting backcourt that brings defensive intensity and two floor generals. LaQuinton Ross has been disappointing thus far, though Amir Williams has improved from a year ago.

Wisconsin at Virginia

Time: 7 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2

After losing three senior big men from a year ago, some thought this would be a down year for Bo Ryan's squad, but not so fast. Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker have formed a top frontcourt while Josh Gasser, Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson round out a starting five who have played stellar in Ryan's swing offense.

Nov 28, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Virginia Cavaliers forward Akil Mitchell (center) goes for the rebound with Wisconsin Badgers guard George Marshall (3) during the first half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the Badgers, Virginia likes to slow down the game and limit possessions. Joe Harris is a crafty wing while Akil Mitchell could cause problems in the middle. A season ago, the Cavaliers stormed into the Kohl Center and upset the Badgers. Don't be surprised to see them victorious again in this battle.

Northwestern at N.C. State

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPNU

After sitting out last season with a shoulder injury, Drew Crawford missed nearly two full games last week in Las Vegas while injured again. With or without Crawford, Jershon Cobb will need to play aggressively on both ends while point guard David Sobolewski and center Alex Olah need to play more consistently for Northwestern.

Last year's Wolfpack squad was a disappointment and seemingly a waste of talent. This year's squad hopes to be the opposite. T.J. Warren has been a man against boys early on while stud freshman Anthony Barber has been as good as advertised. Sophomore Tyler Lewis is a steady ballhandler as well.

North Carolina at Michigan State

Time: 9 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN

Will good or bad North Carolina show up Wednesday night? If Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo play to their potential, the Tar Heels can hang with the top-ranked Spartans. Without contributions from J.P. Tokoto or Nate Britt, however, the Spartans could run away with this one in blowout fashion.

Nov 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard JerShon Cobb (23) dribbles the ball past Missouri Tigers guard Jordan Clarkson (5) during the Las Vegas Invitational tournament at the Orleans Arena. Missouri won the game 78-67. Mandatory Cred
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Tom Izzo's Spartans have been nothing short of dominant and have been atop the national polls ever since their win over then top-ranked Kentucky at the Champions Classic. Keith Appling, the team's X-factor, has been rock-solid at point guard. Adreian Payne and Gary Harris are potential All-Americans.

Boston College at Purdue 

Time: 9 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2

No team has played in as many close games early in the season at BC, though three of its four losses have been by a combined nine points. Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson are combining for an average of 40.7 points per game while Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich can stretch the floor for the Eagles.

Purdue's leading scorers and assists men are the Johnson brothers—sophomore Ronnie and senior brother Terone. Freshman guard Bryson Scott has been the most pleasant surprise. A.J. Hammons is still scratching the surface of his potential while Jay Simpson provides a complementary piece in the middle.

Miami at Nebraska 

Time: 9:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPNU

The 5-3 Hurricanes lost nearly everyone from last year's ACC champion squad, most notably ACC Player of the Year Shane Larkin. Rion Brown, who lit up Illinois last March, went from sub to go-to-guy in a flash. DePaul transfer Donnavan Kirk is putting up the best numbers of his five-year career.

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 12: Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Tim Miles reacts during their game against the Western Illinois Leathernecks at Pinnacle Bank Arena on November 12, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The consensus pick to finish last in the B1G this season, Tim Miles' Cornhuskers have won five of their opening seven contests. Shavon Shields is building off a solid freshman campaign while transfers Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford have combined to average over 24 points per game. Tai Webster is an emerging star.


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