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ACC Roundup

It was the Big Ten's night, except for the Spartans.

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Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) looks to pass the ball against North Carolina Tar Heels forward Kennedy Meeks (3) during the 2nd half a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center.
Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) looks to pass the ball against North Carolina Tar Heels forward Kennedy Meeks (3) during the 2nd half a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

In the second half of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the conferences ended up even-steven: Ohio State took out Maryland, 76-60, Wisconsin pinned Virginia down and held the Cavs to a feckless 38 points, State knocked off Chris Collins' Northwestern team 69-48, BC fell to Purdue 88-67 and most surprisingly, at least to us, UNC kicked Michigan State's butt on the road, 79-65.

In non-Challenge play, Wake Forest moved to 7-2 with a 72-57 win over Tulane.

If anyone has a grip on UNC, please let us know, because we don't get it: how can you lose to Belmont at home, be upset by UAB and then beat Louisville and Michigan State?

Not surprisingly, UNC was weak from outside, shooting just 2-11 from three point range. Both were made by Marcus Paige, who took nine of the 11 (Nate Britt took the other two).

But check this out. For our money, Michigan State is the best rebounding team, year in and year out, in the country.

UNC hammered the Spartans on the boards, winning that battle 49-38.

Ten of those were pulled down by J.P. Tokoto, who also scored 12 points.

UNC also controlled Michigan State's guards, holding Gary Harris and Keith Appling to 5-15.

Even more impressively, UNC owned the game from wire to wire. Michigan State never led and was never in charge.

All in all, a superb performance by the Heels.

Can't say that for the Terrapins, as Ohio State beat them like a marching band drum.

The Buckeyes held Maryland to 39.1% from the floor and 11.1% from three point range. Maryland was outscored from three point range 24-6 and 18-8 from the line.

Jake Layman, who has been touted for stardom this year, was held to two points on 1-9 from the floor. Seven of those misses were on threes, incidentally.

Mark Turgeon, thoughtfully providing some bulletin board material (given the resounding defensive success vs. Michigan State, UNC might have already posted this) for the rest of the ACC said this about Aaron Craft: "[He] is at another level, we’ll never see that unless we play them again."

Turgeon was so disgusted that he started Varun Ram at point in the second half. Ram started his Maryland career as a walk-on.

The Terps are now 5-3.

Still, that performance was probably better than Virginia's: No one scored more than eight points and leader/tough guy Joe Harris was held to two. With just 38 points, UVa might as well have hired Tony Bennett's dad Dick, who enjoyed low-scoring games. Only he usually won them.

How bad was it? Wisconsin won shooting just 28.8% - Virginia managed just 23.4% and was just 1-11 from three point range.

It's hard to imagine a much less enjoyable game. The only player for either team to reach double figures? Badger Josh Gasser, with 11.

Worth mentioning: through nine games, freshman PG London Perrantes has just seven turnovers (he has 28 assists).

Sometimes guys can be around for awhile before really contributing. That's certainly the case with Jordan Vandenberg, who has really upped his game this year. He had 12 points and five blocks in State's win over Northwestern. T.J. Warren, who's been on a real tear lately, had 22 for the Pack on 8-15 shooting.

With the loss, Northwestern falls to 4-5, a big change from what Collins is used to at Duke. Northwestern though is the basketball equivalent of a teardown. It's not going to happen overnight.

Purdue and B.C. was essentially a mismatch.

Purdue shot 52.2% and held B.C. to 37.9%. Not much to say here. It was basically a good old fashioned whipping.

Same for Miami at Nebraska. The 'Canes managed just 13 points in the first half and didn't make it to 20 until 16:24 in the second half. Kind of sad really. Still, everyone understands that Jim Larranaga is an unusually gifted coach. He'll get them there, though perhaps not anytime soon.

So thanks to UNC's upset, it's a tie for the second straight year.

We're not sure where it goes from here. No one is going to want to play Maryland, and if that's a key, then who knows? The event could go away.

Perhaps it's time to consider the ACC-Big 12 Challenge...