ATB: ACC & Big 10 Deadlocked 3-3Posted by rtmsf on December 3rd, 2008
Story of the Night. Is this the year, after nine straight emasculations at the hands of the ACC, that the Big 10 finally breaks through and wins the ACC/Big 10 Challenge? Well, considering that going into the last day of the Challenge in 2007-08, the ACC led 5-1, the previous year 4-2, and in fact, the Big 10 has NEVER gone into the final day deadlocked, we consider this a moral victory. Maybe they don’t, but we do. Looking at tomorrow night, the ACC still has the upper hand (Wake is a mortal lock at home vs. Indiana, and Georgia Tech will be heavily favored at home vs. Penn St.), but if Michigan St. and Northwestern can protect their home court/field, (big ifs) then Michigan @ Maryland could be the tipping point game. Maryland will be favored, but Michigan has proven that it can play with anyone this year, and you never know which Terp team will show up. If only the Illini had held on at home tonight, Big 10 fans!!
This Is What Duke Does. Duke 76, Purdue 60. The most hyped game of tonight’s Challenge, if not the actual best game, reminded us all of what Duke consistently does every year in November and December – beat all comers. Those of us who were fooled by Duke’s completely shameful avoidance of true nonconference road contests forgot what Duke typically does when they play those ACC-mandated games away from home – win them. Duke looked focused and ready to play from the tip, while Purdue was clearly over-focused, to the point of blowing wide open layups and showing an inability to make simple defensive switches. The Purdue jitters excuse quickly morphed into one involving Duke’s superior defense, though, as Purdue stars Robbie Hummell and E’Twaun Moore were held to a pedestrian 25 pts (six below their average), but 20 of those points were in the last eleven minutes of regulation, when the game was largely out of reach. The Devils held the Boilers to 37% from the field and a mere 2-13 from three. Equally impressive, Duke dominated the boards 44-26, including eight extra possessions from offensive rebounds. Kyle Singler led the way for Duke with a double-double (20/12), but Jon Scheyer (20 pts) and Nolan Smith (12 pts) contributed with timely threes, as Duke improved to 10-0 in the Challenge. Purdue Fan = not happy.
Other ACC/Big 10 Challenge Games.
- Boston College 57, Iowa 55. These are the endings that murder you if you’re a gambler. After leading comfortably for most of the game, BC went on a scoring drought during the last five minutes to allow Iowa back into the game (a 10-1 run). Iowa’s Andrew Brommer then got fouled with 0.4 on the clock and proceeded to miss the front end of the 1-and-1. Tyrese Rice was in foul trouble and only logged 15 pts in 24 minutes of play.
- Clemson 76, Illinois 74. This is the one that we’re sure the Big 10 wishes it had back. Illinois blew an 8-pt halftime lead at home, finally allowing Clemson to take its first lead with just over five minutes remaining in the game. A full-court press put on by the Tigers rattled Illinois into 17 turnovers, many of which came during key runs in the second half. Clemson shot a blistering 58% for the game, no small task on the Illini’s home court, led by Demontez Stitt’s 18/6 assts.
- Minnesota 66, Virginia 56. TubbyBall held UVa to a mere 31% shooting, but there was no report on the relative somnambulence in the arena during this one. Seriously though, the Gophers held Virginia’s best player, Sylven Landesberg to 1-11 shooting and 10 pts – he came into the game averaging 21 ppg and shooting over 50% from the field. Minny will be tough to beat in the Barn this year.
- Ohio St. 73, Miami (FL) 68. Miami star guard Jack McClinton probably cost his team a victory tonight with his stupid retaliatory open-handed slap to the face of Anthony Crater as a result of what he thought was a foul in the first half (see below). The Hurricanes were already up 19-7 (12 of which were his pts) when McClinton pulled his maneuver, and they would go on to take a 15-pt lead, but OSU was able to pressure the Miami guards in the second half into the bulk of its 18 turnovers, and led by Jon Diebler’s six threes, win the game in the closing minutes.
Other Games of Absolutely Zero Interest to Anyone.
- Florida 73, Florida A&M 58. Nick Calathes with 16/5/7 in a game where FAMU actually outshot the Gators (44-43%).
- Stony Brook 60, NJIT 39. 39 pts is appropriate, as in… 39 in a row now.
- Notre Dame 102, South Dakota 76. ND hit 19 threes in this one (Kyle McAlarney continues to blow up, with seven more himself – Ryan Ayers had nine!).
- Villanova 69, Penn 47. Dante Cunningham dropped 20/11 on their undersized Big Five foe.
- Memphis 100, Marist 69. Tyreke Evans has his best game of the year with 24/6/4 assts.
- W. Kentucky 67, Georgia 63. Irony – losing to your old team while on the hot seat at your new job.
On Tap Wednesday (all times EST):
- Syracuse (-17.5) v. Cornell – 7pm
- Pittsburgh (-17.5) v. Duquesne – 7pm
- Tennessee v. UNC-Asheville (ESPN FC & 360) – 7pm
- Wake Forest (-23.5) v. Indiana (ESPN & 360) – 7:15pm
- Georgia Tech (-7.5) v. Penn St. (ESPN2 & 360) – 7:30pm
- Maryland (-6) v. Michigan (ESPNU) – 7:30pm
- Kansas (-17.5) v. New Mexico St. (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
- Xavier (-14) v. Auburn – 8pm
- West Virginia (-1) @ Ole Miss (ESPN FC & 360) – 9pm
- UNC (-9.5) @ Michigan St. (ESPN & 360) – 9:15pm
- Northwestern (-2) @ Florida St. (ESPN2 & 360) – 9:30pm
- California (-9.5) v. Depaul – 10:30pm