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ACC Roundup - A Split In Day One Of The ACC-Big Ten Challenge

On to Day Two

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-North Carolina State vs Seton Hall
We like State a lot so we can say this with no malicious intent: it’s time to invest in an upgrade for the mascot.
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Opening night of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge went exactly opposite the way we expected (big surprise) as Nebraska took Clemson, barely, and Boston College beat Minnesota handily.

What the hell got into Nic Popovic?

He’s been a promising player who has never quite got there. Well he pretty well got there in the second half, shooting 9-9 and finishing with 18 points.

If you’d bet someone that Popovic would have outscored Ky Bowman, you could have done a lot of money, but no one other than his mother or girlfriend would have made that bet.

He was really good for BC.

Bowman finished just 3-13 for 12 points but he did grab 12 boards and that’s pretty good for anyone 6-1.

He also had one eye popping dunk that will have NBA scouts shaking their heads.

We thought, given BC’s weak bench support so far, that the starting Eagles would wear down and little Ricky, aka Richard Pitino, would do the family thing and run them into the ground.

At the end though, BC got some reasonable bench help and actually looked fresher and certainly better coached.

We were surprised at how athletic Nebraska is. We haven’t seen them but Nebraska is Midwestern for Tubby Smith: solid, but bland and boring.

Not this bunch.

Nebraska was highly athletic and very entertaining. Clemson played hard but had trouble defending the high-flying Huskers and came up just short.

If you look at the box score, it’s pretty clear how close it was: rebounding and turnovers were virtually identical. Shooting percentages were very close:

Nebraska shot. 47.3% overall, 31.8% from three and 81.8% from the line to 49.1% overall 33.3% from deep and 83.3% from the line for Clemson.

Not to rub it in, but when Zion Williamson was close to announcing it looked like he was going to pick Clemson and while we wanted him to choose Duke obviously, we thought it would have been cool for Clemson fans if he chose the Tigers.

It would have capitalized on last season in a big way and he’d have been huge for Clemson just as he has been for Duke.

In the back of his mind, you have to think that Brad Brownell was thinking if only...

Tough game for the Tigers but Clemson has a chance at putting together a six-game win streak before starting ACC play at Duke...where they will likely get the full Zion.

On Day II, Virginia Tech visits Penn State, Illinois travels to South Bend to take on the Irish, Michigan State goes to Louisville to smack the Cardinals around (we expect anyway), Pitt gets its biggest challenge of the season with a trip to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes in an unexpected battle of undefeated teams, NC State journeys to Madison to take on Ethan Happe and the Badgers, and the night wraps up with Indiana and Duke in Cameron.

We’ll stick with our original picks: Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Duke.

How great would it be if Pitt won a road game like that? After everything that’s happened there?

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