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ACC Roundup - The Challenge Begins

What will this year bring?

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Navy v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 09: Head coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers talks to his team during a time out in the first half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on November 9, 2021 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

With the ACC/Big Ten Challenge starting Monday, there was only one game on Sunday with Miami playing Alabama in the ESPN Events Invitational.

It went about as you would expect although Miami stayed close in the first half but in the second, Alabama outscored the ‘Canes 63-34. ‘Bama had 15-6 and 17-0 runs which sounds kind of like UNLV vs. Duke in 1990.

Miami got killed on the boards and was held to six assists. Alabama was clearly superior.

By the way, Rodney Miller is no longer starting as Miami is now going with a smaller lineup. Only Sam Waardenburg is over 6-7.

Two games to open the Challenge on Monday night as Iowa visits Virginia and Notre Dame treks over to Champaign to take on the Illini.

Illinois has struggled early largely because of injuries: point guard Trent Frazier, shooting guard Jacob Grandison and glue guy Andre Curbelo all missed Friday’s game against UT Rio Grande.

However, Kofi Cockburne is having a monster November, averaging 26.3 ppg and 10 boards. If the Irish can control Cockburne or at least compensate with some solid three point shooting, you have to think they have a chance.

Iowa is 6-0 which looks imposing but not when you look at who those teams are: Longwood, Kansas City, Alabama State, Western Michigan and Portland State. The only reasonable opponent is NCCU.

Virginia by contrast has played Houston, Georgia and Providence. And they seem to have resolved some of the defensive issues they were having earlier. We know they’ve had issues, especially on offense, but Iowa has been averaging 97.2 ppg. Virginia is going to slam the breaks on that and force Iowa to play a way they’ve probably never encountered before.

So it’s probably a mistake but we’ll go with the ACC teams Monday night because of injuries and, in Iowa’s case, weak scheduling and running into the Packline.

There is one other game as BC takes on South Florida. It’s in Conte and we hope BC fans feel like the team is moving in the right direction and come out to support them. Against Columbia, the Eagles drew about half of that.

Monday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge Action

  • Iowa @ Virginia || 7:00 || ESPN2
  • Notre Dame @ Illinois || 9:00 || ESPN2

Non-Challenge ACC Action

  • South Florida @ Boston College || 7:00 || ACCN