We interrupt Penn State week so we can bring you an interview we conducted with Every Month Should Be March (EMSBM), a great college basketball blog, about the upcoming release of the 2011 Big Ten-ACC Challenge schedule. The schedule should be released this week. They give us their ACC point of view on the best individual match-ups, dream match-ups as well as their predictions of what the schedule will look like and which conference will come out on top. Click HERE to visit their site and see our point of view.
BTP: After the ACC won 10 straight challenges, the Big Ten has won the last two. Why do you think the Big Ten has won the past two years and how long do you think it will be until the ACC regains its reign?
EMSBM: The ACC's been top heavy these past few years and the Big Ten's superior depth has allowed them to take the crown. Why has the Big Ten had better teams from top-to bottom? Better coaching. Tom Izzo, Matt Painter, Bo Ryan, John Beilein, Tubby Smith, Bruce Weber, Thad Matta are all damn good coaches. Meanwhile, the ACC has had some pretty poor coaches these past few years (see Sidney Lowe, Paul Hewitt, Dino Gaudio, etc.). There has been a lot of turnover in the coaching ranks over the past 2-3 offseasons which I think will benefit the conference overall. Clemson's Brad Brownell and BC's Steve Donahue have already impressed and former George Mason coach Jim Larranaga is taking over Miami, so the future is bright. But the B1G will have the edge for the foreseeable future as these coaches all try and rebuild their respective programs.
(Click below to see more questions, including the predictions!)
BTP: What are your two dream match-ups for next year? No rules, no rotating home schedule...
EMSBM: North Carolina at Ohio State and Duke at Michigan. I want to see the Tobacco Road boys tested early.
UNC is the likely preseason favorite and the Buckeyes won’t be far behind likely being in the top 5. The game would feature the top two candidates for the preseason Player of the Year (Sullinger, Barnes). It’s a dream matchup for ESPN.
Duke going up against Michigan in a rematch of last year’s Round of 32 would also be intriguing. The tourney game was awesome where Beilein matched wits against Coach K. The Wolverines have a solid team coming back and would challenge the Blue Devils who are losing seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.
BTP: What are your best potential individual match-ups for this year’s challenge?
EMSBM: The best matchup would be Jared Sullinger going up against the loaded Tar Heel front court: Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and incoming freshmen James McAdoo (remember that name). But it would also feature a great matchup of two of the best floor generals in the country with Ohio St.’s Aaron Craft matching up against UNC’s Kendall Marshall. Miami’s massive center Reggie Johnson going up against Indiana’s freshmen white knight Cody Zeller would also be fun to watch.
BTP: If you had to replace the Big Ten as the ACC counterpart for the next 10 years, which conference would you choose and why?
EMSBM: Most would think the Big East, but I want nothing to do with that megaconference. 17 teams? And they just get to send their top 12 teams and not their cellar dwellers? It’s not fair and Big East fans are annoying enough already. Give me the SEC. They dominate the ACC in football. I’d like to see how it’d go on the hardwood. Plenty of good rivalries already, let’s add some more.
BTP: What are your predictions of what the 2011 match-ups? What is your ridiculously early prediction of each match-up?
B1G Home Games:
North Carolina Tar Heels at Ohio St. Buckeyes - ACC Win
Duke Blue Devils at Michigan St. Spartans - ACC Win
Virginia Tech Hokies at Michigan Wolverines - B1G Win
Florida St. Seminoles at Purdue Boilermakers - B1G Win
Boston College Eagles at Iowa Hawkeyes - B1G Win
Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Indiana Hoosiers - B1G Win
ACC Home Games
Wisconsin Badgers at Miami Hurricanes - B1G Win
Illinois Fighting Illini at Maryland Terrapins - ACC win
Penn St. Nittany Lions at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - B1G win
Northwestern Wildcats at N.C. State Wolfpack - B1G win
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Virginia Cavaliers - B1G win
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Clemson Tigers - ACC win
B1G wins their 3rd straight challenge by a score of 8-4. We’ll find out this week the real matchups. Hopefully we get another exciting event that goes down to the last game.