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ACC/Big Ten Challenge Roundup

As the ACC wins the final Challenge

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Indiana
Nov 30, 2022; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) blocks the shot of North Carolina Tar Heels guard D’Marco Dunn (11) in the second half at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. 
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After three straight losses, the ACC won the final year of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, 8-6. We can’t verify this right now, but a Twitter poster said that the ACC had a lifetime 152-127 record vs. the Big Ten in the Challenge.

Wednesday’s games were most interesting, not least of all because UNC, ranked #1 until the Portland Meltdown, lost its third straight, this time to Indiana at IU.

We favored Indiana because Armando Bacot had a foot issue that was revealed after the loss to Alabama on Sunday. He also had an apparent shoulder injury at Indiana, which surely didn't help.

That can’t explain the magnitude of the loss. The final score doesn’t begin to explain the dominance of Indiana’s defense. Good thing UNC got to the line (20-27) because the Hoosiers limited them to 20-59 (33.9%) and 5-18 on threes (27.8).

The starters shot 17-50. Bacot shot better than anyone else at 4-10 but that’s not saying much.

Indiana basically punked UNC on defense. A healthy Bacot would have made a major difference, but that doesn’t explain how Jalen Hood-Schifino and former Pitt guard Xavier Johnson dominated UNC’s outstanding backcourt of Caleb Love and RJ Davis. Leaky Black was completely shut out.

Bacot was obviously not himself but the difference here was hunger and desire. Indiana just wanted it more. Hubert Davis has tried to tell his team that this year is not last year and that was before the losing streak. Virginia Tech is next on the road and if UNC isn’t already out of the Top 25, that would be the final straw. It’s the most dramatic slide we can remember for a #1 team.

We figured that Michigan State was banged up with multiple players either injured or playing hurt, but did anyone think Notre Dame was going to romp?

Well, romp they did.

The Irish took the lead at 4-2 and never gave it up. Cormac Ryan hit 6-7 on threes and Notre Dame collectively hit 11-26 on threes (42.3%) and 27-54 overall (50%).

It was just a beatdown. Michigan State’s Tyson Walker had a tough night - a family member died and he was in tears during warm-ups. Can you imagine? Poor guy.

After the game, Spartans coach Tom Izzo said this: “We could use the excuse that we’re tired, but I really don’t think it’s got anything to do with not getting back (on defense). They smashed us in the mouth. They deserved what they got. They played harder than we did.”

Miami had a tight game with Rutgers in the first half and in the second, the Scarlet Knights built an 11-point lead before the Hurricanes came back, tying the game 56-56 with 6:22 left. Rutgers caught up and tied it again at 61 with 2:40 left.

And the rest was all Miami.

Norchad Omier hit a two and then Nijel Pack hit a three to put Miami up 66-61. Bentley Joseph hit a pair of free throws to make the final score 68-61.

Omier, just 6-7, has been racking up the double-doubles. He nearly got another here with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Miller also added 17; Isaiah Wong had 16. Pack finished with eight.

In some ways, the most interesting game of the night was a loss as Florida State really gave Purdue a game we honestly didn’t think they could. The Boilermakers won by 10, but the game was very close most of the way.

In fairness to Purdue, Matt Painter said “We didn’t talk about getting back from Oregon at 5 a.m. on Monday, we didn’t talk about arriving here at 2:30 a.m. because the plane got stuck in Des Moines. We didn’t talk about those things. They’re just excuses.”

That’s what you expect a coach to say of course, but that’s a lot to deal with. No excuses! Just sayin’.

Still, FSU has rolled over for teams like Stetson, Troy and Siena. Even a tired Purdue’s reserves have vastly more to offer than the teams the ‘Noles have lost to. So good on them for playing hard and nearly pulling off an amazing upset.

Like Duke, Florida State had no way to deal with 7-4 Zach Edey. FSU has a 7-4 guy too - Naheem McLeod - and he had two points, three rebounds and three fouls in 28 minutes.

Backup Cameron Corhen got 10 minutes, four fouls and one turnover.

And Edey?

He shot 11-14 for 25 points and grabbed eight boards in 33 minutes.

People will find better ways to defend Edey and the rest of the Boilermakers, or at least try some different things, but he is going to be a very tough guy to stop.

Boston College rounded off the evening with a drubbing by Nebraska. We thought they had a chance but the Huskers just crushed them.

Nebraska ripped off a huge 33-6 run and really, only a Rick Pitino team could recover from something like that.

They also nearly shut BC out for the last 2:25 of the first half and more than half of the second.

It was a tough night for the Eagles but what can you do? You’re building something, or at least trying to. Just keep building.

Finally, in an ACC alum note, we bring you an amazing bit of video.

Fans will remember that Jerry Stackhouse had a reputation in the NBA of being a guy that you never, ever wanted to fight. There’s a famous story about Stackhouse supposedly starting a mid-air fight with Christian Laettner (Laettner said he was smart enough not to fight at 30,000 feet up).

Stackhouse has been relatively quiet since taking over at Vanderbilt, where he has struggled. He’s had just one winning season and his overall record is 42-58. So far this year? 3-4.

Vandy was visiting VCU and when big man Liam Robbins got a T, Stackhouse lost it. He got teed up once himself, then twice, and by that time most of his staff was trying to restrain him. At the end, a police officer is escorting him off the court, and he is not taking his hands off of Stackhouse either. That’s going to be an interesting conversation he has with Vanderbilt AD Candice Storey Lee.

No games until Friday when conference play begins as Wake visits Clemson and Pitt ventures down to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack.