Top Games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge
It’s only the first week of December but the College Basketball season has already seen a strong showing from a variety of teams across the sport. The 2019-2020 season looks to have plenty of parity across all the teams, and there doesn’t look to be a clearcut favorite. All could be in for a show as the ACC-Big Ten Challenge kicks off the week with some of the biggest match-ups of the season. Whether it is a top-five clash at KFC Yum! Center or a rematch of an elite 8 for the ages at the Breslin Center, Pickswise has you covered with the top games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
#4 Michigan Wolverines at #1 Louisville Cardinals (Tue. 12/3 7:30 pm ET ESPN)
In what is probably the biggest surprises of the 2019 ACC-Big Ten Challenge, is the fact that this is the top five match-up everyone was waiting for except it isn’t. The Wolverines were pretty much an afterthought with John Beilein leaving for the NBA, but new head man Juwan Howard has proved he belongs quickly. Michigan is coming off a huge tournament in which they beat North Carolina and Gonzaga who at the time were both unbeaten and ranked inside the top 10. Now the Wolverines visit the KFC Yum! Center hoping to possibly jump to number one next week with a win over Louisville. But hold on the Cardinals can’t be overlooked, as they are always tough to beat on their own court. Michigan has looked like the best, but can the talk survive a tough environment. This could be the best game of the Challenge.
#10 Duke Blue Devils at #11 Michigan State Spartans (Tue. 12/3 9:30 pm ET ESPN)
The Michigan State Spartans return home after a tough trip to Maui, where they ended up fifth-place in the tournament, after a loss to Virginia Tech in their opening game. They bounced back with wins over Georgia and UCLA, but now they get an angry and young Duke team rolling into the Breslin Center. The Spartans will have to lean on Cassius Winston along with the rest of the supporting cast if they want to beat Coach K for only the third time under Tom Izzo. On a night when Draymond Green’s number 23 goes to the rafters, the Spartans will be ready to compete in front of one of the best student sections in the country. This game doesn’t have the same hype as thought before the season, but it is still going to be one of the top games of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ #3 Maryland Terrapins ( Wed. 12/4 7:30 ET ESPN)
Notre Dame doesn’t seem to be near the level they were only a few seasons ago, but they aren’t a pushover at 6-1 so far this season. Maryland finds itself unbeaten and ranked third in the country heading into this week. This match-up seems to be a bit undervalued but any match-up involving a top-five team deserves to be talked about, and the Irish have been known to make games interesting when counted out. Can Matt Farrell lead the Irish to an upset, or will Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan Jr be too much to handle for the underdogs?
#5 Virginia Cavaliers @ Purdue Boilermakers (Wed. 12/4 7:15 ESPN2)
Like the Duke-MSU match-up, the Virginia Cavaliers have themselves a rematch from last seasons Elite Eight. This time it could be very different as the defending National Champions visit West Lafayette and Mackey Arena, where the Boilermakers have been near unstoppable in recent years. a win for Purdue could easily put them into the top 25, but the Cavaliers suffocating defense could be hard to breakthrough. All eyes should be on this match-up just as much as the other top games in this year’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
#6 Ohio State Buckeyes @ #7 North Carolina Tar Heels (Wed. 12/4 9:30 ESPN)
The Ohio State Buckeyes have looked like one of the best teams in the country and their sixth-place ranking is deserved as everyone on the team looks to have bought into what Chris Holtmann is selling. The Tar Heels are coming off a less than hoped performance in the Bahamas, as they couldn’t outlast a tough Michigan team, but rebounded with a solid win over Oregon in the third-place game. There will be plenty of young talent on the floor in Chapel Hill when the Buckeyes and Tar Heels square-off on Wednesday. If the Buckeyes can slow down Cole Anthony, then where does UNC turn?