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ACC Roundup - Challenge All Even Again

But the ACC’s wins are, overall, more convincing

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Indiana v Duke
of the Indiana Hoosiers watches on against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 27, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After Day Two of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, we’re deadlocked at 4-4

For the ACC, Boston College, Duke, Louisville and Notre Dame have won.

For the Big Ten, it’s Nebraska, Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Other than Duke, the games have been highly competitive: Nebraska beat Clemson by two, Penn State took Virginia Tech by one, Iowa nipped Pitt by one, Louisville won by four in overtime over Michigan State, Notre Dame won by two over Illinois and Wisconsin took State by four.

Only BC, which beat Minnesota by 12, and Duke, which hammered Indiana by 21, won with any ease.

In fact, the margin of wins in the Big Ten victories total just eight. Duke skews the side of things so leave that out for the moment: the ACC wins without the Blue Devils total 18. Add Duke in and that goes up to 39.

The wins may be even but one side is considerably more dominant.

Remember Ryan McMahon? Dick Vitale raved about him as a high school senior, insisting that he was an unknown who could become great.

He may not be great, but for at least one night he was.

McMahon had 24 against Michigan State and led his team to the upset. He hit a pair of free throws late in overtime and Jordan Nwora hit another to put the game out of reach with mere seconds left.

After the game, Chris Mack sent a tweet out saying “wasn’t that fun” Well it probably was considering where Louisville has been.

This occurred to us while watching the Duke game: why are we more forgiving of Louisville’s disgraceful program than we are of UNC’s? And we realized why it’s so simple: Louisville cleaned house and UNC spent its time trying to frustrate the investigations and the NCAA.

Louisville at least has a chance to rehab its reputation. UNC just figuratively put its fingers in its ears.

We were immensely impressed with Pitt’s gutty effort against Iowa. Why not just call Jeff Capel Anne Sullivan? Because like Helen Keller’s teacher, the man looks like a miracle worker.

We really didn't think Pitt could win this game and that they took it down to the wire and lost by just one is sensational.

Pitt just isn’t confident enough or experienced enough to have closed the deal despite having two chances in the last 10.4 seconds.

Pitt held Iowa to 36.5% but inexperience raised its head in a different way: the Panthers sent Iowa to the line 28 times while getting just 13 free throws.

There are a lot of factors in any game, but that’s a big discrepancy and it surely didn’t help that star freshman Xavier Johnson fouled out. Kene Chukwuka had four too.

Big deal.

Last year, Pitt didn't win a game after December 22nd and finished 0-18 in ACC play. This game is bound to give them a lot of confidence.

We were hugely impressed with Kevin Keatts’ teams at UNC-W and a lot of what we admired has transferred to State.

We didn't think State had a serious shot against Wisconsin but the Pack led for much of the game and could have still won with :08 left. Wisconsin drew a charge and Brad Davison hit both free throws and that was that.

We really didn’t think State could go on the road against Wisconsin and do that. The future is bright in Raleigh. Word to the wise: barring scandal or moral turpitude, don’t let Keatts go.

We know Penn State is better than it used to be but Virginia Tech is good enough to win these sorts of games even without Chris Clarke.

The Hokies couldn’t control freshman Myreon Jones, who hit 13 in the second half and hit four three pointers.

It’s a disappointing loss. This is a team that should be able to handle a moderately tough opponent.

Notre Dame nearly blew it too but the Irish held on and won 76-74.

Juwan Durham had a big game as the UConn transfer came off the bench for John Mooney, who fouled out. Durham had 10 points and four boards in 17 minutes.

The Illini had a chance to win with a late three but it missed and the Irish walked away with a two-point win.

On Wednesday, the highlight games should be Virginia-Maryland and UNC-Michigan. UNC is capable of winning but Michigan’s combination of precision offense and passionate defense could prove decisive.

Syracuse @ Ohio State 7:15 ESPN2
Rutgers @ Miami 7:15 ESPNU
Virginia @ Maryland 7:30 ESPN
Purdue @ Florida State 9:15 ESPN2
Georgia Tech @ Northwestern 9:15 ESPNU
UNC & Michigan 9:30 ESPN
Tuesday's Results
  • Duke 90 Indiana 69
  • Louisville 82 Michigan State 78
  • Penn State 63 Virginia Tech 62
  • Iowa 69 Pitt 68
  • Wisconsin 79 NC State 75
  • Notre Dame 76 Illinois 74
  • Wake Forest 71 Western Carolina 64

ACC Standings

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