College Basketball: ACC – Big Ten Challenge Winners and Losers

Welcome to the latest “winners and losers.” In this edition, we break down the winners and losers from the ACC-Big Ten challenge. It had a few marquee games, some other games (to put it mildly for teams such as Clemson and Northwestern), and a lot of storylines.


basketballDuke Blue Devils

Holy hell, this team is deadly on offense. If I told you Wisconsin would hang 70 on Duke while keeping the Blue Devils off the offensive glass, you would think Wisconsin would have won. Instead, Duke just lit up the nets from the field. Duke hit 65 percent from the floor and 7-12 from three. Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon were killers from long distance, along with the man mentioned in the next point below, while Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson rocked the paint. The Blue Devils have so many different pieces who can all score. This team is a joy to watch.

basketballTyus Jones

The Duke guard deserved his own point. He was simply electric against Wisconsin with 22 points on 7-11 field goals, 2-3 from three. He had 6 rebounds to go with 4 assists and only 1 turnover. Jones wasn’t the best defensively, but he did a hell of a lot to get Duke rolling on the other end.

basketballNotre Dame Fighting Irish

The Irish picked up a huge, huge home win over Michigan State, 79-78 in overtime. This game really showed off the all-around talents of Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant. He had 27 points on 9 of 17 shooting, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. His backcourt mate Demetrius Jackson threw in 22 himself. The Irish were able to turn the Spartans over 12 times while not turning the ball over themselves. This is a big sign that last season isn’t going to go the same way if everyone stays healthy.

basketballVirginia Cavaliers

The Cavs went to Maryland and came away with a comfortable 11-point victory. This game wasn’t the best officiated, just ask Maryland fans, but the Cavs strangled the life out of the Terps just the same. Virginia is amazingly efficient. The Cavs hit 53 percent of their shots from the field last night. Every mistake the opposition makes, UVA takes advantage of it. The Hoos are boa constrictors.

basketballIowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes picked up one of the more impressive wins of the challenge with a 60-55 victory at North Carolina. Iowa really worked the glass and got to the line, where the Hawkeyes scored 21 of their 60 points. The defense held UNC to 0.80 points per possession. That’s pretty good.

basketballMiami Hurricanes

If you love teams that shoot a ton of threes, Miami is the team for you. The Hurricanes put up 30 3-pointers to 28 2-pointers in their win over Illinois. Andre Burnett came off the bench and put up 10 threes in 24 minutes. That was on top of their regular three-happy lineup. Jim Larranaga only coaches fun teams. (Even last season’s hard-working group was fun. Now it has reinforcements.)

basketballPurdue Boilermakers

The Boilers picked up a good win against N.C. State to follow up their encouraging run in Maui. The Purdue front line of A.J. Hammons and Vince Edwards went for 31 of the team’s 66 points.

basketballIndiana Hoosiers

IU whipped Pittsburgh, 81-69, in a total team effort. The Panthers were forced into taking a lot of threes, which just isn’t their offense. Indiana was able to get any kind of look it wanted. IU responded to that by hitting 54 percent from the field. Pittsburgh doesn’t appear to be great shakes this season, but this was a fine win for Indiana.

basketballBranden Dawson

The Michigan State forward put up 16 points and 18 rebounds against Notre Dame. Nine of the rebounds were offensive. That’s one hell of an effort.

basketballAndre Hollins

The Minnesota guard lit up Wake Forest for 27 points on 8 of 14 shooting, 7 of 10 from three, and 7 rebounds. Hollins’ best two games this season have come against ACC teams.

basketballNebraska’s Backcourt

Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields lit up Florida State for 46 of Nebraska’s 70 points. Petteway had 25 (on 22 attempts) while Shields had 21 (on 13 attempts) to go along with 8 boards.

basketballWayne Blackshear

The much-maligned Louisville forward put up 22 points, 6 boards and 3 steals against Ohio State. He was a big, big reason Louisville held its large first-half lead.

basketballThe top of the ACC

Duke, Louisville, Virginia and Miami all won. Half of them did it at home, half on the road. The only ranked ACC team to lose was North Carolina. The conference took down all three head-to-head meetings of ranked teams.


basketballThe underbelly of the ACC

While the top dogs of the league seemed to all win, the middle of the pack was ripped apart by the Big Ten. Most of these teams are going to enjoy wild whirlwinds of seasons. Looking at you, Pitt, Syracuse, Florida State, Clemson and N.C. State.

basketballMichigan State Spartans

The young Spartans have made it through a rough non-conference schedule. The rest of the year (2014, that is, before Big Ten play begins) features assumed wins. I don’t know if this team can win a Big Ten title, though. Would you buy this team on the road? I’m not sure I do.

basketballNorth Carolina Tar Heels

This team is showing some huge flaws. As was the case against Butler, the Heels struggled to rebound against Iowa. The offense has looked out of sync when it can’t get easy buckets. There is no outside shooting on this team. Marcus Paige was 3-12 from three against Iowa. That means the rest of the team was 1-11. Justin Jackson and Nate Britt combined for 12 points on 5-17 shooting. Paige himself was 4-16 from the field. The Heels have some holes they need to fill or they will end up in the same amount of trouble faced last season.

basketball3-point shooting

Penn State and Virginia Tech combined to go 8-28 from deep.

Iowa and North Carolina were 7-43.

Georgia Tech and Northwestern were 6-32.

Watch out for the falling bricks from long distances!

basketballHalfcourt Execution

Louisville and Ohio State switched halves in which neither team could do anything in the realm of halfcourt offense. In Louisville’s favor, the Cards held OSU to 30.4-percent shooting from the field. OSU held itself to 15-25 at the foul line, which was the difference in the game. Neither team shot free throws well when they could get to the basket: Louisville was 16-28. There was some late-game shotmaking by Terry Rozier of Louisville and DeAngelo Russell of OSU that made things fun late. Both teams really struggled in the halfcourt. They are both good defensively. Louisville’s overall superior offense was the difference.

basketballSyracuse and Michigan’s late-game execution

Syracuse and Michigan produced a pretty well-played game until the last minute. Michigan missed a front end of a one and one, Syracuse then turned the ball over. Michigan missed another front end, after which Syracuse turned the ball over again.


There are way too many. Going back to Syracuse-Michigan, there were five team timeouts taken in the last 51 seconds. What is not included there: the TV timeout which occurred with 18 seconds left. Teams don’t need this many timeouts.

basketballCharge calls

We saw this multiple times in the Wisconsin-Duke game: guys would slide over or lean back to draw what were called offensive fouls. Neither was a charge. The rule needs to be altered in favor of the ball handler and not the defender. It’s one of the worst rules and ruins any type of drive in the lane. It’s very annoying.

basketballJustise Winslow – James Harden comparisons

Just because they are left-handed basketball players doesn’t mean they have the same game.


Photo by Andy Mannis / AP Photo via ESPN

About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.