The annual ACC Big Ten Challenge kicks off Tuesday night, and the marquee matchup of No. 3 Duke vs. No. 2 Ohio State will decide who the real winner is of this prestigious event.
There's only one other great matchup of the ACC Big Ten Challenge this year, and that is No. 9 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 North Carolina on Wednesday night.
But what the people care most about is watching the winningest coach in college basketball take on one of if not the best team in the country.
These are the top two teams the ACC and Big Ten has to offer, which means whichever team walks away victorious can state that they they're a part of the better conference.
Even if Duke wins and the ACC loses, the Blue Devils know that.
Both Duke and Ohio State will be in the running for the national championship game, and Tuesday night's game could very well be a preview of it.
There is a lot of time left in the season for teams to grow, learn and progress, but it's early matchups like Duke vs. Ohio State that really showcase how good a team is.
I'm not saying the loser of this game is doomed or anything, as they'll take note of what they did wrong and work to fix things. The winner of this game, however, will have a great boost of confidence moving forward.
The Blue Devils have faced two ranked opponents this season, which happened to be their most recent games. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have only faced one ranked opponent so far this year.
Duke just won the Maui Invitational, so its swagger is already sky high. The Blue Devils can't get too cocky though because going up against Jared Sullinger and company is no easy task.
Austin Rivers, Duke's star studded point guard, told The News & Observer that, "I think if we could beat Ohio State, that would take our confidence to a whole different level. It would be huge."
That's not going to be easy, but given the fact that the Blue Devils have gained valuable experience in the past few weeks because of tough games, they have a strong chance of taking down the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has outscored its last two opponents by a score of 187-94, but battling Duke is a completely different task.
Both teams have the size and skill players to excel, which is what makes this such a great matchup. The winner will claim the rightful spot as the true champ of the ACC Big Ten Challenge, no matter how any other teams fare in the event.
Duke vs. Ohio State is the game people want to see, and since both teams are in the top five the rest of the challenge doesn't matter, as these two control all in their respective conferences.
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