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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Brick In The Wall

My dream will have to wait another year. Not only did the ACC display its superiority again, but Duke emerged unscathed. The Big Ten improved overall to five wins this year, but eight of the 12 ACC teams still have a .500 or better record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Now, sure most of the games were close and there were positive moments. Unfortunately, the marquee teams from the ACC lambasted the "best" teams from the Big Ten. Purdue laid an absolute egg. That performance will have people drooling over Duke for weeks, fair or not. Kyle Singler is very good though and he shut down Robbie Hummel.

Top-ranked North Carolina sealed the deal by running away from Michigan State. Will a home team win at Ford Field at all this year?! The game was entertaining at the start, however, the Spartans simply do not stack up inside -- especially without Goran Suton. I am still waiting to be impressed by Raymar Morgan with my own two eyes.

Other thoughts, with the help of the Big Ten blogosphere:
Minnesota looked very aggressive Tuesday and could definitely be a player in the Big Ten. The Gophers have been trained to hound the perimeter and try to swat every shot attempt. This enabled them to control the tempo. Two players stood out. Damian Johnson is long and athletic. Freshman Colton Iverson is not a looker but looks real good in the post. Iverson is a player I imagine most Badger fans can respect. If you were looking for the next big man in the conference to worry about, see this kid in two years. Minnesota should be scary at that point with Royce White and Rodney Williams also on the roster.

Obviously, Ohio State benefited from the ejection of Jack McClinton and thus, turned the tables on Miami in the second half. McClinton made his first four 3-pointers before he got the boot with about 10 minutes left int he first half. Ho hum, another road win, one of six in the challenge.

After seeing the pathetic finishes by Illinois and Iowa, all you could do was vomit. For the Illini to not get a shot off is unforgivable and the Hawkeye freshman missing (badly) on the front end of a bonus situation is pure heartbreak. If either of those finishes flipped, the Big Ten would have a big smile on its face right now. Penn State added another very weak finish on Wednesday but still managed to escape Atlanta with a nice win over Georgia Tech. The Nittany Lions made some minor mistakes in press break mode, like passing up an easy basket that would have put them up six points, and looked terrible form the charity stripe. Part of the problem was failing to get the ball to their best free throw shooters each time.

The fans back in State College probably chewed their nails off, but they have a reason to be optimistic about their backcourt. I really like is PSU's sophomore point guard Talor Battle, who teams with senior Stanley Pringle to form a quick, offensive-minded pair. Former Badger recruiting target Iman Shumpert posted a nice line as well.

In other Wednesday action, Indiana lost big to Wake Forest as expected, and Michigan proved me wrong by getting shell shocked to the tune of 46 points in the second half. Luckily, Northwestern picked up the slack with a convincing romp over Florida State. Could that be a spark towards something more for the Wildcats?

That put me at a paltry 5-5 on my predictions. There's always next year ... for me and for the Big Ten.

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