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Tuesday Night Challenge Notes

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It wasn't a pretty picture Tuesday night: UNC and Wake Forest got embarrassed by Indiana and Nebraska, Minnesota had no real problem with Florida State, and the Pack likely said goodbye to the Top 20 for a while, possibly the Top 25, after losing to Michigan (to give them credit, they mounted a nice comeback).

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Only Virginia Tech and Maryland won for the ACC, if you want to count Maryland, and if you don't, we understand.

UNC mastered the Hoosier two-step, losing to Butler after being down 30, and then losing to IU and the (really) good Zeller by 24.

UNC was in the game early, but Indiana outscored them 32-8 in the first four minutes of the second half, and that's crushing.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star raved about the quality of play, comparing it to a vintage Bob Knight team (only we're guessing a lot faster).

On Monday on his radio show, Adam Gold said that State's problem is leadership, and he might be right. But our consistent concern about State has been foul troubles and depth, and we're starting to see just how much they're missing DeShawn Painter: Richard Howell was limited to just 19 minutes before fouling out; CJ Leslie did better but still finished with four, including a critical call when State had rallied to just five down with 42.5 left.

Lorenzo Brown finished with 10 assists.

It may be time to reconsider Virginia Tech. Yes, they're thin, yes, they're smallish, but they're also the only other ACC team besides Duke to be undefeated.

And while they haven't played anyone of note, Iowa included, neither have some other schools which have some losses.

We'll have a better idea after their game with Oklahoma State and manchild star Marcus Smart this Saturday, and after that they get West Virginny, that great school of the plains, at least if you go by (current) affiliation.

Okay, yes FSU starts slow. Fine. So do Tubby Smith teams, typically.

Yes, they're young. But they're also established now as a serious program worthy of respect. So why does it take them so long to get geared up? Remember the Princeton game last year? Was it a 10-point first half?

It wasn't that bad against Minnesota, but they went down 32-19 and lost by nine. No chance for any Michael Snaer heroics in that.

Finally, Wake Forest: you can start to get the sense now that things are not going to turn around for Jeff Bzdelik. Check out his post-game comments: "I've tried everything. I'm not going to make any excuses. Tuesday is their toughest day academically. It starts at sun-up. I was aware of that, and I was trying to give them rest. I tried a different approach today, just giving them some rest. I don't know.

"But that's no excuse. It's a ball game. National television in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, at home.''

Maybe it's just us, but if we remember correctly, this isn't the first time Bzdelik has denied responsibility for his team's poor play. But it's on him; he's the coach. He has some talent now. If they can't defend - Nebraska - Nebraska! - scored on 19 of their first 23 second-half possessions.

That's when half-time adjustments should have been in force.

You know, it'd be understandable if it were, say, Michigan or Ohio State, but it's Nebraska. You know, cornfed and football. Basketball has always struggled there.

Anyway, if things continue on like this, young team or no, pressure is going to mount on Wake AD Ron Wellman to make a change. He may stick with Bzdelik - he's sworn by him - but it may be at a cost.

*****

Oh yeah, almost forgot: in its first Big Ten game, Maryland won by 20 over a team that has never made the NCAA. Big whoop.