ACC/Big Ten Challenge: Good News or ACC or Bad News For Big Ten

The ACC/Big Ten “Challenge” has been around for 10 years now. A non-conference event that matches up a Big Ten team against an ACC team so see which conference can take home the bragging rights. It’s a bit of a mismatch, as the ACC is typically the deepest conference in college basketball year in and year out. This year however was different. The ACC blew the doors off the Big Ten. This makes us wonder, is the ACC really that good? Or is the Big Ten worse than expected?

The ACC won the challenge 11-3, with the only wins coming from Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan State. Otherwise, it was not close. There were moral victories, sure. Indiana went toe-to-toe with Duke for 35 minutes. It showed us a much different team than the one that gone manhandled by Indiana State at the beginning of the year. However, there were not many other positives to take away from this challenge for the Big Ten.

Minnesota, a favorite in the conference, lost at home, albeit to a good Miami team. Michigan got pounded by a Tar Heel team that was embarrassed by Michigan State a few days prior. Shows the gap between those two rival schools. NCAA Tournament hopeful Northwestern lost to Georgia Tech at the buzzer. Wisconsin managed just 37 points against Virginia’s defense. And the list goes on.

Is the ACC Good? Is the Big Ten Bad?

Such a lopsided result poses the question: Is the ACC that good, or is the Big Ten that bad? We knew the Big Ten was top heavy. Michigan State is a title contender, and Purdue and Minnesota are expected tournament teams. Outside that though, there are major question marks that were not answered. Michigan did not look capable of competing with top teams, Northwestern suffered its third non-conference loss, and Illinois lost to a struggling Wake Forest team. There’s not much to take away.

Don’t get me wrong, the ACC is tough. Duke, UNC, Notre Dame, Miami are VERY good. They will all sit around the top 15 much of the year, as will Lousiville. We learned Syracuse is more real than we thought, thanks to the emergence of Frank Howard. Virginia is Virginia, and their defense will have them dancing again. But outside them, who else is legit? Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech are not locks by any means. Wake Forest has had major struggles and Georgia Tech is still a question mark with their suspensions.

It’s not expected for the Big Ten to win this challenge. I’m not sure any conference can beat the ACC in this challenge. But the Big Ten’s inability to keep it close at all, shows there are major weaknesses in the conference. It’s possible we only see three, maybe four teams make the big dance come Selection Sunday. 

Social Media’s March Madness Winner

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As famous as Selection Sunday has become in America, the day that follows is almost just as popular. Coined by some as “Bracket Monday,” the day following Selection Sunday is filled with over-analyzing college basketball seasons and thousands brackets filled out across the country. In what is looked upon as one of the most open pools in recent years, it appears as if anyone can put together a six game winning streak and make a run to the championship.

On Monday, we took to social media to see who our followers thought would be crowned champions in early April. Here’s what we found:

Teams Receiving One Vote:

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XavierMusketeers Texas_Longhorns_Logo Miami_Hurricanes_logo.svg 2000px-Michigan_Wolverines_Logo.svg Virginia_Cavaliers_sabre.svg

 

 

 

Teams Receiving Two Votes:

Indiana_University_(Athletics)_logoOklahoma_Sooners_logoSeton_Hall_Pirates_Logo.svg

 

 

Teams Receiving Three Votes: 

Villanova_Wildcats_Logo.svg Kentucky_Wildcats_2005_logo

 

 

Runner Ups (9 votes each):

University_of_Kansas_Jayhawk_logo.svg UNC-TARHEELS-LOGO-psd12408

 

 

NCAA Champions, according to Social Media (10 votes):

 

Michigan_State_Spartans

It’s hard to hard to bet against a Tom Izzo coached Michigan State team in March, and it appears our followers are smart enough to know so. Izzo has led the Spartans to seven Final Four appearances in 19 NCAA bids, including one last season in Indianapolis. Will the Spartans win the extra two games it could not last year? Or will one of these other teams knock them off in the process. Only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, it should be another exciting three weeks! Let the madness begin…