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Barely, but...a win? Men’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge Recap

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Breaking down the Big Ten’s 8-6 win over the ACC and the overtime shenanigans that made it happen.

Smoking Musket

Another week of basketball in the books, and try as it did, the Big Ten managed to not blow a 6-2 advantage, coming out with an 8-6 win over the ACC.

Oh, and there were 7 combined overtimes across these 14 games.

And Nebraska played four of them.

Here’s how they did it.

Recaps

Iowa Hawkeyes 75, Virginia Cavaliers 74

Stew: This was a game of 2 halves. In the first half, Iowa forced it’s will, dictating the style, pushing the ball, getting in transition, and just frustrating the UVA packline defense, overall. Scoring 44 points in a half is the most given up at UVA under Bennett.

Then the second half happened. UVA got incredibly hot (7/9 from 3 for the half) and consequently were able to get back and set their defense. This led to a lot tougher looks for Iowa and shots stopped falling. UVA clawed their way back in ultimately taking a lead with under 30 seconds to play. But Joe Toussaint was able to hit a jumper off the glass to take the lead back and Pat McCaffery blocked a buzzer beater from UVA.

It was a really nice win for this transitional team. First true road game in who knows how long, at the toughest opponent of the young season.

Illinois Fighting Illini 82, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 72

Thumpasaurus: Lou Henson Night is avenged. Kofi Cockburn remains pretty unstoppable, and on a night without Andre Curbelo it was nice to see the super-seniors Frazier and Williams combine for 11 assists. Kofi even had a career high in assists! With…Two!

Alfonso Plummer had been a revelation and might just be a crucial component in trying to build a coherent offense in the post-Ayo era, but I can’t wait until this team is fully healthy.

It was also super awesome of Brad Underwood to tell Mike Brey about Brian Kelly leaving for LSU in the tunnel on the way to the game. He had no idea.

#2 Purdue Boilermakers 93, Florida State Seminoles 65

BoilerUp89: FSU’s defense did give Purdue some trouble in short stretches of the game and Purdue wasn’t able to run their usual motion sets as FSU fronted everything and denied the easy passes the Boilers typically use to get things moving. It didn’t matter, though, as Purdue found the lob opportunities and the skip passes that can punish this aggressive defensive style.

FSU’s points off turnovers kept them in the game early (it was 16-0 at one point), but Purdue controlled the boards and continued to shoot at an extremely high clip. Lot of comparisons and superlatives are being thrown out there about this team, but it’s early in the season and a lot can change. Scoring 93 against a defensive style they’ve struggled a lot with in past years is encouraging.

Syracuse Orange 112, Indiana Hoosiers 110 (2OT)

Buffkomodo: I actually didn’t get to watch much more than the last minute of OT number 2. So sorry for a lack of in depth analysis. Disappointing, but not surprising give 20+ turnovers. Good thing Indiana starts B1G play with Nebrasketball.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 54, Pittsburgh Panthers 53

WSR: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Minnesota overcame John Hughley and the refs to pull off a road win against a strongly meh Pitt team. But we won and that’s all that matters. 6-0! Woooooooo!

Also we’re going to lose by 50 to Purdue.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons 77, Northwestern Wildcats 73 (OT)

MNW: Well, the more things change.

After weathering an early hot-shooting start from Wake, the ‘Cats fought their way back into the game, getting some solid play from sophomore G Ty Berry (3/5 from deep), timely hustle from veteran G Ryan Greer and transfer F Elyjah Williams off the bench, and a bounce-back game from Robbie Beran.

Unfortunately, Northwestern tends to rest games on the shoulders of its Big Three—Pete Nance, Boo Buie, and Chase Audige—and in the absence of Audige, the ‘Cats are...in trouble. Nance and Buie combined to shoot 10/30 for 27 points, and while Nance went 15-7-5 and Buie dished out 5 assists, there’s just too much pressing going on. Ryan Young wasn’t as efficient as he usually is, Julian Roper II is a hustling player who is learning off the bench, and frosh G Casey Simmons struggled.

And...I mean, that’s about it. This is an NIT team at best, which is fine, but it’s only an NIT team if Chase Audige makes his way back in a damn hurry. Losses to Wake and Providence and a neutral-court win over Georgia...lot of pressure on this early Big Ten game at Maryland and a home date for the Mayor’s Key.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights 74, Clemson Tigers 64

RU in VA: That’s more like it. Unfortunately this team rests on the shoulders on unreliable veterans (looking at you, Harper and Mcconnell). No one hit double double territory and Ron Harper had 23 points. It absolutely sucks that Rutgers has to have a half decent 3 point percentage to win (37% tonight). Because they can’t shoot. At all.

I will consider this an outlier until I’m proven wrong.

Ohio State Buckeyes 71, #1 Duke Blue Devils 66

MaximumSam: All hail Zed Key. Still down three wing players, I thought the Buckeyes would have no chance guarding Wendell Moore. He had a very solid game, but no one else for Duke did. Paolo Banchero was ineffective, and E.J. Liddell easily won that matchup of big time forwards. The Buckeyes constantly fed Zed Key in the post, who used his plus sized butt to bully Duke centers around. They also got some very timely shooting from Cedric Russell, who will undoubtedly get some more run going forward. Duke fans were left complaining about the officials while OSU fans decided we are a basketball school.

Michigan State Spartans 73, Louisville Cardinals 64

Green Akers: So on the one hand, Michigan State’s holiday baking continues unabated, as they churned out another 19 turnovers of truly impressive variety. And yet, they still picked up a probable Q1 win in handy fashion, and were a late-game hot shooting streak from Louisville away from a blowout.

Max Christie really impressed me; despite hitting a skid on the offensive end, his defense has been objectively fantastic and more so for a freshman, as he put the clamps on Louisville’s leading scorer Noah Locke and forced them to get contributions elsewhere.

#23 wisconsin badgers 70, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 66

Beez: Wisconsin pulled off a road win against what seems like a decent Georgia Tech team, including 33 points from Gt’s potential POY candidate, for all of everyone’s favorite Wisconsin basketball reasons: suffocating defense, grinding out clock, and Brad Davison.

GT locked down Wisconsin’s emerging star threat, Johnny Davis, for almost the entire second half, save a few timely shots and a great block at the rim, but GT couldn’t stop Davison, who scored something like 10 straight in the second half and ended up with 25 or 27 or something for the game.

Plus Seth Davis said anyone who still talks about “hating” Davison is a douche and needs to go away.

MNW: Well if Seth Davis says it—

beez: I only wish Doug Gottleib had said it instead.

Why aren’t we calling him Dad Bravison? He’s been at Wisconsin 17 years and is old now. Plus spoonerisms.

North Carolina Tar Heels 72, #24 Michigan Wolverines 51

MaximumSam: This was a butt whomping. Hunter Dickinson was in foul trouble all night, and without him, Michigan really doesn’t have much. Dickinson, Eli Brooks, and Moussa Diabate can play. The problem is the rest of their guys really haven’t shown much this year. Freshman Caleb Houstan has been a poor defender and hasn’t provided much offense. Transfer point guard DeVante’ Jones has been ineffective. The bench options have been mostly useless. This team is definitely a work in progress compared to what we thought in the preseason.

Virginia Tech Hokies 62, Maryland Terrapins 58

Miami Hurricanes 63, Penn State Nittany Lions 58

misdreavus79: Penn State had control of the game, scoring almost at will in several stretches in both halves. But, a combination of turnovers (14 to Miami’s eight) and hot three-point shooting by Miami derailed any chances at maintaining any semblance of a lead.

In fact, the best way to visualize this is two sequences in the second half: Penn State opened on a 15-2 run, committing one turnover along the way, to go up five. They then proceeded to have three consecutive turnovers, which led to Miami’s own run to evaporate Penn State’s lead and go up for good.

I’m starting to sound like broken record, but if Penn State doesn’t clean up the turnovers, they’re going to be in a lot of pain moving forward.

Game of the Year

NC State Wolfpack 104, Nebraska Cornhuskers 100 (4OT)

Jesse Collins: Look, Nebraska isn’t good, and while you don’t want to pin ANY loss on a bad call - especially because there were other opportunities to not lose this game - the blatant foul and annoying ESPN “you know, just gotta let the kids play and I’m happy they’re doing that” commentary after regulation was just too much for me to handle.

THAT SAID, Keisei Tominaga continues to be the happiest player on earth, and will henceforth be known as Swaggy K. He is the best and no 4OT loss—accented by former Nebrasketballer Teddy Allen scoring the go-ahead buckets for NC State—will harsh my Keisei vibe. He is the best and I love him more than I have loved any basketball player before. I truly think he is my favorite player, moving ahead of both Cookie Belcher and Eric Piatkowski.

Oh, and yeah, Nebraska officially has shitty ways to gut-punch your fanbase on lock, so that’s super fun.

MaximumSam: This game had everything you could possibly want in a basketball game, outside of good basketball.

Reactions

The Big Ten won, 8-6. Tell us what this says, if anything, about the strength of the conference from top to bottom.

Green Akers: Between this and the Gavitt Games outcomes, it feels fair to say the conference has receded a bit relative to the rest of the country, at least compared to last year.

That said, relative to each other, it could easily be another year of blood and spiders in the Big Ten (remember, the Big Ten basketball zodiac only has three years on it: the Year Of Blood, the Year Of Spiders, and the Year Of Both).

Stew: I think it says that the conference is pretty good, but far from great. Which is more of a confirmation than a realization. The Gavitt Games and the rest of the non-con have shown that some of the upper tier teams just aren’t ready for prime time, right now.

That’s gonna affect the whole conference come selection time. But so it goes.

MNW: It has told me that outside what appears to be the Purdue death star, we’re going to see a number of upsets in conference play. Illinois’s absences, Michigan’s not having gelled yet, etc., along with the relative competence of Minnesota and Iowa, portends a weird mix of 8-12 teams that will be rather unpleasant when Northwestern’s 6-14 and playing in the 12-13 game at the Big Ten Tournament.

Give us one team who, as we approach the start of conference play, you have been pleasantly surprised by.

Green Akers: I’m not going to fall into the Minnesota trap, because that’s still a Stay-Puft schedule and any team that can rebound (meaning conservatively 12 conference opponents) is still going to bash the Gophs.

I’ll be the one to say it: I thought the most likely outcome for Wisconsin this year was a hideous crash and burn, but so far they’ve avoided that. Holding on for that Maui Invitational win over Houston got my attention, and Johnny Davis doesn’t even seem completely deplorable as a player. What gives?

Stew: Go full homer? Hell yeah. I was definitely the most bullish on Iowa prior to the season, but even then, they’ve exceeded what I thought they were able to do. The pieces seem to fit, Keegan Murray is a gotdamn star, and the offense is flying.

Will this hold up all season? Probably not, but I think being over .500 in conference is doable.

MNW: Iowa’s beaten the worst Virginia team in a couple decades, so I’m not exactly quaking in my boots over getting to sleepwalk through the season and get up for one non-conference game. That Portland State win was impressive though, guys.

It does, unfortunately, have to be wisconsin. Here’s hoping Marquette can fix that problem for us in a couple days.

Poll

Most impressive start to the year?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Iowa
    (54 votes)
  • 7%
    Minnesota
    (24 votes)
  • 4%
    Michigan State
    (14 votes)
  • 19%
    wisconsin
    (61 votes)
  • 45%
    Purdue
    (143 votes)
  • 6%
    Someone else?
    (20 votes)
316 votes total Vote Now

More excitingly, tell us the team you're laughing at.

Green Akers: I have to hedge a bit here by noting that I evidently have higher expectations for them than many of their own fans, but fears that Michigan would become an annual reloading conference power now feel a bit overblown. Howard might have been advised to add one more wing transfer, because they look to be at least one body short on the perimeter, and North Carolina showed last night that if Hunter Dickinson has to sit for any period of time, this team is lost in the woods on offense.

Stew: So Illinois, Michigan, or rutger? I think Illinois and Michigan can still pull it together, as Illinois has just not had everyone play together, yet, and Michigan is super young. So I guess get your licks in, now.

However, rutger just looks bad, and they haven’t really had anyone hurt or missing, and all their bets players are veterans. So, uh, they probably just are bad.

RU in VA: I guess Ron Harper does want to play this year. I think some recession is great. The B1G is like Tesla stock—wildly overvalued without a ton of actual data to prove that overvalue is real.

Real interesting to see all the backing-down Michigan takes right now... HEDGE YOUR BETS, HEDGE YOUR BETS.

Poll

And more importantly, who are you laughing at?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Michigan
    (157 votes)
  • 12%
    Rutgers
    (31 votes)
  • 11%
    Illinois
    (27 votes)
  • 10%
    Someone else
    (26 votes)
241 votes total Vote Now