What’s Trending: Big Ten/ACC Challenge And More

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on December 9th, 2019

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Matthew Eisenberg (@matteise) is your weekly host.

The month of December tipped-off with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge leading the way. Each league picked up a victory on the opening night of the challenge, which set up a big second day of action. Indiana moved to 8-0 after beating Florida State, with Devonte Green posting a career-high 30 points. Archie Miller’s squad shot a sterling 60 percent on two-point attempts and 46.7 percent on three-point attempts, both season-high marks for Seminoles’ opponents.

In a rematch of an NCAA Tournament game from last season, Duke headed to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. While the Blue Devils were without Cassius Stanley, they ran into no problems with the Spartans. Vernon Carey and Tre Jones combined to score 46 points on 14-of-29 shooting.

Some of Michigan State’s struggles come from the inconsistent play of sophomore Aaron Henry. After averaging 13.3 PPG through his first five contests, Henry has scored just nine points over the last two. Against Duke, Henry was held to two points on two field-goal attempts in just 21 minutes of action.

Top-ranked Louisville hosted a Michigan team that was coming off of a dominant week in the Bahamas, and Chris Mack’s squad made a statement, never trailing as they held Michigan to just 43 points. Prior to that night, the Wolverines had scored at least 70 points in each of their previous seven games.


With both the ACC and Big Ten owning four wins heading into the final night of the challenge, there were a pair of marquee games on the schedule.

Ohio State made its way to the Smith Center to take on North Carolina. The Tar Heels jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, but things went downhill in a hurry after that. While Cole Anthony managed to contribute 15 points, he did so on 4-of-15 shooting (0-of-7 from inside the arc).


At Mackey Arena, Purdue hosted Virginia in a rematch of last season’s Elite Eight thriller. In this season’s match-up, it was Purdue sophomore Sasha Stefanovic who filled the shoes of Carsen Edwards. The wing scored a career-best 20 points on six three-pointers. The story of the game, though, came with Virginia’s offense. While the Cavaliers made 63 percent of their two-point attempts, Tony Bennett’s team went just 4-of-24 from beyond the arc. This is a squad that is among the 10 worst three-point shooting teams in the nation, a far cry from last year’s top-ten shooting team.

In the end, the Big Ten came out ahead of the ACC, 8-6. It was the Big Ten’s first outright win in the challenge since 2015.

In the Big East preseason poll, DePaul was picked to finish last. After starting the season 8-0, however, the Blue Demons found themselves down three points in the waning seconds against Texas Tech. A well-executed play led to this wide-open look for Jalen Coleman-Lands

DePaul would go on to outscore the Red Raiders 12-7 in overtime, moving its record to 9-0 for the first time since the 1986-87 season, a year in which it started 16-0.


Maryland became the second team in the country to reach a 10-0 record, but it did not come easily. Trailing by three, Anthony Cowan hit a deep three to tie things. With the game now tied, Cowan got his hands on the ball, forced a turnover, and ultimately was fouled, giving him the opportunity to win the game at the free throw line.

Cowan’s heroics gave the Terps a 1-0 start in Big Ten play. Earlier in the week, Cowan’s teammate Aaron Wiggins won the play of the night with this dunk off of the miss… a miss that was his own from the three-point line.


The year of the upset continued last week as Missouri fell at home to Charleston Southern — the same squad that had lost by 14 points to North Carolina A&T, 44 to Furman, 29 to Dayton, 48 to Michigan State and 35 to Southern Utah.

This week also included some news off the court. Days before a road test at Oklahoma State, Georgetown was dealt with the news of the departures of James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc. Akinjo was one of three Hoyas’ averaging 10+ points per game. While Akinjo is not linked to anything, LeBlanc and a few of his teammates were part of allegations of theft and harassment. While Patrick Ewing’s team would go on to get wins against Oklahoma State and SMU this week, this is news that will linger all season long.

Georgetown and Patrick Ewing were also in the news this week thanks to an idea from the likes of Penny Hardaway. Hardaway wants to begin an in-season tournament featuring former NBA stars turned collegiate head coaches at Madison Square Garden.

Matthew Eisenberg (140 Posts)

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