Thursday, December 3, 2009

Big 10/ACC Challenge Recap Part I

Penn State 69, Virginia 66
Neither of these teams are likely to compete for an at-large bid, but I guess you can't count out Penn State while Talor Battle's still on the team.  The Nittany Lions likely picked up a top 100 road win, which never hurts, but they probably need to win the rest of their non-conference games to be on the at-large radar when Big 10 play starts.

Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58
Another solid win for Purdue.  Right now they look like the team to beat in the Big 10 and a legitimate contender for the Final Four.  Wake Forest has the pieces to be an NCAA team, but that loss to William & Mary could come back to bite them if they do happen to end up on the bubble in March.

Northwestern 65, NC State 53
This is Northwestern's third straight road/neutral win against a power conference opponent.  With Stanford being the lone non-cupcake left on their non-conference schedule, the Wildcats could easily be 10-1 entering Big 10 play.  NC State, meanwhile, blew a great chance at a quality non-conference win.  Upcoming road games against Marquette and Arizona later this month will tell whether or not NC State can compete for an at-large bid this year.

Maryland 80, Indiana 68
This game was back-and-forth until Maryland pulled away in the final minutes and avoided a damaging loss.  The Terps have been underwhelming so far this year, but will likely still make the NCAA tournament.  Indiana, on the other hand, is still a year or two away from seriously competing for a bid. 

North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82
A very nice win for the Tar Heels, who still have all the pieces in place for another deep run in March.  The Spartans are yet again off to a disappointing start after having a Top 10 preseason ranking.  Given the way the game played out and the fact that it was played in Chapel Hill, Michigan State is probably the better team and would win most of the time if the game was on a neutral court.  Whether or not that's still the case at the end of the year is anyone's guess.

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