Quick Takes: Big Ten-ACC Challenge
It’s not surprising that the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) won its annual challenge against the Big Ten. Both leagues have top-end quality, but the ACC’s depth is superior. We knew – or at least anticipated – that before the season. And it really wasn’t a surprise that Indiana beat North Carolina in Bloomington. Not only are the Hoosiers talented, they are a tough group to take down in Assembly Hall. IU may not lose a game on its home floor. As for Duke and Michigan State, neither team is at full strength, and while the Spartans were a game bunch for 20 minutes, the Blue Devils are a tough out in Durham. Dittos for Louisville beating Purdue at the Yum! Center. The Cards rarely lose non-conference home games in November.
A few other Quick Takes from the ACC-Big Ten Challenge …
- Pittsburgh looked like a potential NCAA team while winning at Maryland. Both teams could still end up near the bubble. Thus far, the Terps have managed to escape with several close wins, but questions remain about how the pieces fit together around Melo Trimble.
- Michigan has looked really good at times – blowout wins over Marquette and SMU – and also a bit questionable. Cases-in-point: The Wolverines were toasted at South Carolina and then coughed up a double-digit lead at home to Virginia Tech on Wednesday. Those types of swings keep me undecided about where Big Blue will ultimately land on the Seed List.
- Credit Virginia Tech’s toughness for the road win in Ann Arbor, though. Preseason projections for the Hokies varied greatly. One thing’s for sure: quality road wins always help the resume-building department.
- Right now, NC State doesn’t look like a tournament team. That could change, obviously, when (or if) the team reaches full strength. The Wolfpack were outplayed in the second half by a desperate Illinois team that had lost three straight, including a game against Winthrop in Champaign.
- If a team can impress while losing, then credit goes to Ohio State. The Buckeyes played Virginia tough in Charlottesville, ultimately losing by two points. The arrow looks to be pointing up in Columbus.
A new Seed List update will be arriving soon – along with the first in-season bracket projection. After a light Thursday and Friday, there’s quite a college hoops-fest on Saturday. See the Schedule page for details.