The B1G/ACC Challenge is finally upon us. With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers along with the ACC expanding in recent years with Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, and Louisville, the Challenge has expanded to a three day format to
maximize TV exposure accomodate the number of games. Tonight we get the first two games with Rutgers at Clemson and Nebraska at Florida State. Details are as follows:
Rutgers at Clemson (-9.5) || 7:00pm EST || ESPNU/WatchESPN
Rutgers travels to South Carolina to take on the 4-2 Clemson Tigers who have lost to Winthrop and Gardner-Webb while really only winning convincingly over Florida A&M while winning the remaining three games by a combined 7 points. They might be the definition of the Northwestern of the ACC, but a bit less clutch at the end so far. Even though Rutgers has struggled this year, losing to St. Peters and Virginia, this is a very winnable game. If they can come back and play like they did against Vanderbilt last week, they have a solid chance at not only covering, but winning too.
Nebraska at Florida State (+2) || 7:00pm EST || ESPN2/WatchESPN
The story of the Nebraska Basketball team this season is basically this:
1) Start really slow and get your shooting percentage as low as possible.
2) Allow wide open corner threes because of poor rotation and effort.
3) Remember that you aren't that bad at basketball.
With the exception of not pulling off the win on the road against Rhode island, this is pretty consistent, and for the most part, it works when you're playing teams that are inferior to you in talent and resources. And so, Nebraska travels to Florida State to figure out just how far they've come in a few weeks. Will the cold shooting Huskers show up, or will the team that has flashes of greatness show up? That's the question.
Lucky for Nebraska, it doesn't seem like Florida State is exactly the cream of the crop this year. With losses against Northeastern, Providence, and UMass, it seems like the Seminoles haven't quite gotten their game in gear either. Nebraska will put a lot of pressure on the Florida State defense, and there should be open shots. Shavon Shields has proven to be the spark this year, and while Terran Pettaway will continue to get press, it is Shields who might be the overall best player on this team. The key for the Huskers will be playing good team defense, letting shots come to them, and then really finding a third scorer. Pitchford seemed to break out of his slump against Tennessee Martin, so look for him to keep that up.
My prediction? Nebraska wins and gets a point for the good guys in the B1G-ACC challenge.
Previews for each day of games will be up the morning of. A preview of the rest of the week will go up Thursday along with some immediate reaction of the results of the B1G/ACC Challenge. I caveat that with if Rutgers posts another sub 40 point performance I may go on a rant solely about how they might not be D1 calibur with their recent performances.