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ACC-Big Ten Challenge

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If you look at the most recent AP Men’s Basketball Top 25 poll you fill find that four of the top five teams in the nation reside in either the ACC or Big Ten Conference. Well this week, each of these two will be out for bragging rights as the top power conference in the nation when they square off in the 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

This event consists of 12 interconference matchups held on Tuesday, Nov.27 and Wednesday, Nov.28 with the conference with the most overall victories laying claim to the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup.

The following is a brief betting preview for each of the top games for each day as well as a listing for all the games in this year’s challenge. The ACC has won 10 of the previous 13 challenges but the Big Ten has won the past three years.

ACC-Big Ten Challenge Records (Straight up)
ACC Record Big 10 Record
Duke Blue Devils 11-2 Illinois Fighting Illini 6-7
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 10-2 Michigan State Spartans 6-6
Clemson Tigers 9-4 Northwestern Wildcats 6-7
Maryland Terrapins 9-4 Ohio State Buckeyes 6-5
North Carolina Tar Heels 7-6 Wisconsin Badgers 6-7
Virginia Cavaliers 7-5 Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-8
Florida State Seminoles 6-7 Penn State Nittany Lions 5-6
Boston College Eagles 5-1 Purdue Boilermakers 5-6
NC State Wolfpack 5-7 Indiana Hoosiers 4-7
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 4-8 Michigan Wolverines 4-7
Virginia Tech Hokies 2-5 Iowa Hawkeyes 2-9
Miami Hurricanes 1-4 Nebraska Cornhuskers 0-1

Tuesday, Nov. 27

No. 18 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)

NC State suffered its first loss of the season in a 76-56 romp at the hands of No. 15 Oklahoma State in the finals of Puerto Rico Tipoff as a 10-point favorite on Nov. 18 after reeling off three-straight victories both straight-up and against the spread. Add in a tight 82-80 win over UNC-Ashville this past Friday in a game that had no posted line and it is plain to see that the Wolfpack need a big win to regain quite of bit of their lost luster after starting the season ranked No. 6.

Michigan has climbed the ranks a bit after opening the year at No. 5 with a perfect 5-0 SU start that includes victories over Pittsburgh and Kansas State. It knocked off the Panthers last Wednesday 67-62 as a three-point favorite and won the NIT Season Tip-Off with a convincing 71-57 win over the Wildcats as 5 ½ -point favorites on Friday night behind Tim Hardaway Jr.’s game-high 23 points. The Wolverines are 3-0 ATS in their first three games with a posted line. The total went ‘over’ in two of those three contests with the team averaging 81.2 points a game.

No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers (ESPN, 9:30 p.m. ET)

North Carolina took a tumble in the polls after getting tripped-up by Butler 82-71 as a nine-point favorite in last week’s Maui Invitational. They Tar Heels responded by crushing Chaminade 112-70 in a consolation game as 21 ½-point favorites. The total went ‘over’ in both of those games. Overall, they are now 5-1 SU and 4-1 ATS. North Carolina is ranked 10th in the country in scoring with an average of 85.3 points a game. James Michael McAdoo continues to put-up big numbers all around with a team-high 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.

Indiana started the season ranked first in the nation and Bovada’s second-favorite at 13/2 (Bet $100 to win $650) to win this season’s national title. The Hoosiers have lived-up to these lofty expectations so far with a perfect 6-0 start SU and a profitable 5-1 ATS. The total has gone ‘over’ in three of the four games with a posted total line. Indiana is the fourth-best scoring team in the nation with 88.7 points a game. It is shooting a rock-solid 52.5 percent from the field and pulling-down an average of 41.2 rebounds a game. The key players behind these numbers include Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. Zeller leads the team in scoring with 15.2 points and he is second in rebounds with 7.7 a game. Watford is second in scoring with 13.2 points and first in rebounds with 8.0 a game.

The other ACC-Big Ten Challenge games on Tuesday’s slate start with No. 21 Minnesota vs. Florida State and Iowa vs. Virginia Tech at 7:15 p.m. (ET). The remaining two games pit Maryland vs. Northwestern and Nebraska vs. Wake Forest in a pair of 9:15 tip offs.

Wednesday, Nov.28

No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (ESPN, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Ohio State has reeled off four-straight double-digit victories in its first four games, but has yet to really play anyone after its season opener against Marquette was postponed. It covered the spread in its last two games with the total going ‘over’ in both, but could only post an 11-point victory over Rhode Island on Nov. 17 as a 22-point favorite. The Buckeyes have done a good job shooting the ball so far with 79.8 points a game while hitting 52.1 percent from the field, but they have struggled a bit under the boards against the weaker competition with just 35 rebounds a game. The player to watch in this matchup Deshaun Thomas. He leads the team in scoring with 24 points a game and in rebounds with 7.3 a game.

The Duke Blue Devils come into this season’s Challenge as the pride of the ACC. They have already beaten a then-No.3 Kentucky 75-68 as 4 ½-point favorites and then-No. 2 Louisville 76-71 as one-point underdogs this past weekend in the Bahamas. Throw in a routine 67-58 victory over VCU as 6 ½-point favorites and the Blue Devils are off to a very impressive 6-0 SU start while going 4-2 ATS. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of the last five games. Much of the team’s early success can be attributed to balanced offensive attack. Duke has five players scoring in double-figures led by Mason Plumlee’s 19.7 points a game. The team is averaging 78.2 points a game and shooting a respectable 47.4 percent from the floor. The only area of concern has been under the boards with an average of just 33 rebounds a game.

The remainder of Wednesday’s Challenge starts with a 7 p.m. tip-off between Virginia vs. Wisconsin followed by Purdue vs. Clemson at 7:15 p.m. No.13 Michigan State squares off against Miami (FL) at 7:30 and Georgia Tech takes on No.22 Illinois at 9 p.m. The final conference clash of the night pits Boston College against Penn State in a 9:15 p.m. start.

Williams: Hot & Not Report
Schwab: Saturday's Late Tip Sheet
Kentucky blows out South Carolina, 89-62
Northern Iowa holds off Wichita State
Providence wins, but Georgetown covers
West Virginia routs TCU, 73-42
Texas lurking near top of Big 12
Auburn's Kareem Canty leaves team
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