Tonight is the first of two nights where all 12 Big Ten members will battled to keep the commissioner's cup, which has resided in Big Ten land for four straight years. This is the 15th Acc/Big Ten Challenge and our beloved conference is 3-10-1 all time, but retained the cup with a 6-6 tie last season clinched when Illinois beat Georgia Tech in Champaign and Purdue upset Clemson on the road. Some other fun facts about the challenge:
- Purdue is 6-6 all-time in the Challenge, but has won four in a row over Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. Each time the Purdue game was pivotal in the Big ten's overall victory. The biggest came in 2010, when Purdue won in overtime at Virginia Tech to clinch the Cup.
- Purdue's only other victories in the Challenge came in 2003 over Clemson at home and in 2006 over Virginia at home.
- Purdue did not play in 2001 or 2002 when the ACC had just nine teams.
- The Big Ten has never won or retained the Cup without a Purdue win.
- Purdue and Illinois have each won four straight in the challenge, the longest active streak.
- Iowa has the worst Big Ten record at 2-10, while Illinois has the most wins at 7-7.
- No Big Ten team has a winning record in the challenge. Illinois is 7-7, while Purdue and Ohio State are 6-6.
- Pitt, Syracuse, and Notre Dame are participating this year for the first time as first year ACC members. Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest are not participating after finishing in the bottom three of the ACC last year.
- North Carolina State, Florida State, and Georgia Tech have lost five games in a row.
- Iowa has lost seven games in a row.
- Duke has the best overall record in the Challenge at 12-2
Here is the schedule for tonight, and feel free to talk about the games here like a usual Open Thread:
|Tue, Dec 3||7:15 p.m.||No. 20 Indiana at No. 9 Syracuse||ESPN|
|Illinois at Georgia Tech||ESPN2|
|7:30 p.m.||Penn State at Pitt||ESPNU|
|9:15 p.m.||No. 10 Michigan at No. 6 Duke||ESPN|
|Notre Dame at No. 25 Iowa||ESPN2|
|9:30 p.m.||Florida State at Minnesota||ESPNU|
Here are my quick takes:
Indiana at Syracuse - If it is Tom Crean against a zone I am taking the zone every day. Indiana had a better team in last year's NCAA Tournament and got schooled by Syracuse. Tonight is the second lesson by the Orange unless the team that struggled with St. Francis (NY) shows up.
Illinois at Georgia Tech - The Illini have been shaky a bit, but still pulled out wins in games at home that could have been disasters against Valpo and IPFW. Georgia Tech has already lost to St. John's, Dayton, and Mississippi. I think this gives the Illini a much needed confidence boost to make an NCAA run.
Penn State at Pittsburgh - Are we really sure Pitt is good at basketball? I mean really? I like the experienced backcourt the Nittany Lions have in Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill and think they the could definitely pull the upset here.
Michigan at Duke - I don't think either team expected to have two losses at this point, but at least Duke's were to top 5 teams. Michigan lost to UNC Charlotte and Iowa State. I think they're missing Trey Burke more than they think.Give the Dookies the edge.
Notre Dame at Iowa - Iowa, it is your time to get off the losing streak. The Hawkeyes were blasted for playing an incredibly weak non-conference schedule last year and they need a solid win here. I think they get it. The Irish already lost at home to Indiana State.
Florida State at Minnesota - I thought Minnesota was going to be among the Big Ten's worst teams but they at least played Syracuse well out in Maui. Florida State's last three games were decided by five total points, including a loss to Michigan. Sorry Goldy, I pick FSU.
Picks in confidence (strong to weak): Syracuse, Illinois, Duke, Florida State, Iowa, Penn State