The Big Ten/ACC challenge is currently tied at 4-4 a piece. The Big Ten has had its way with the ACC in this challenge for most of the last 10 years. Will the Big Ten's streak continue with bragging rights against the "vaunted" ACC? Or will the winning streak end tonight?
Let's take a look at all the action.
Game of the Night: Louisville Cardinals at Michigan State Spartans (7:15pm EST | ESPN)
The 7-0 Spartans, if they can hold off the 5-0 Cardinals this week, will move ahead of their conference rival Maryland Terrapins most likely in the AP and Coaches poll next week as the number two ranked team in the nation.
Maybe this is the year the Spartans put it all together for a full season. If they can, they are probably the favorites to win the Big Ten regular season title.
The Spartans should be ready to go at home against the
Cardinals. The Cardinals on Wednesday night will be facing not only their first power five conference opponent all year, but a ranked opponent as well. Will the Cardinals be ready, or will they be exposed playing a bit of a soft schedule early on? The Spartans should win this one.
The 5-0 Cardinals on the other side are led by newly acquired senior guard Damien Lee who averages 17.4 points a game. Lee's presence has allowed the Cardinals play a high scoring game as they average over 84 points a game. On the defensive side of the ball, they also lead the country in fewest points allowed averaging 51.2 points a game.
As mentioned, the Cardinals haven't played against tough competition so we will get to see if those numbers hold any value against the third ranked team in the country.
This is the battle of the fighters. Illinois just came off of a tough contested loss against the fourth ranked Iowa State Cyclones 84-73 on a neutral court last week. Still, despite their 3-4 record, it wouldn't be shocking to seem them pull off a win against Notre Dame at home if they have the same intensity or more like they did against the fourth ranked team in the country.
On the other side, Notre Dame entered last week as the 17th ranked team in the country in the AP Poll which was their highest ranking this season. They fell out of the top 25 due to their 74-73 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide which was a complete upset. Notre Dame is going to have to avoid another upset against Illinois and they don't want to fall to 4-3 to start the season especially when none of those losses would occur against ranked opponents.
The Hoosiers have the opportunity to make a statement on the road against Duke. The Hoosiers dropped two games last week against unranked opponents after they began the week ranked 13th in the AP Poll. Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean is on the hot seat and in order to cool that hot seat, he needs his team to find a way to win in a hostile environment. Even though the Hoosiers are 5-2, this has the makings of a defining moment in their season. We will get to see what the Hoosiers are all about.
The defending national champions Blue Devils have been battle tested early on this season with a loss to the number one ranked Kentucky Wildcats, a late finish against the Georgetown Hoyas, and even a bit of a scare in the first half against the Yale Bulldogs. Duke has a chance to put Indiana out of business early on which could send the Hoosiers in a downward spiral.
Duke's defense could use some work as they allow over 70 points a game and the Hoosiers love to take three point jumpers. If Indiana is able to get going on the perimeter, it could be trouble for Duke.
The battle between the Hawkeyes and the Seminoles has the makings of being a bubble game in terms of NCAA tournament selections in March. The Hawkeyes made the most out of last week as they had a close loss against a Notre Dame team that was ranked 17th in the country and the Hawkeyes blew out a Wichita State Shockers team that was ranked 20th in the country. The Hawkeyes are still a bit of an underrated team and can certainly be a dark house as Big Ten regular season games are approaching.
Florida State is not going to be an easy out for any of their opponents this season especially not if their freshmen guards in Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley continue to average over 20 points a game respectively.
The Seminoles are a good field goal shooting team as they have a field goal percentage of 53 percent but they are below average at the free throw line shooting 69 percent. Florida state shot 68 percent from the free throw line in their only loss of the season against the Hofstra Pride.
The Lions and the Eagles is a battle we saw on the football field on Thanksgiving with both teams having their postseason hopes just about gone. The Lions won that game in a blowout. Should we expect the college basketball Lions to take care of the Eagles in the same fashion? No it should be a close contested game, but a game where both teams are trying to get their programs on the right track with the chance of postseason play being slim to none.
The Badgers look nothing like what they resembled a year ago as they are in the middle of what could be Badgers head coach Boy Ryan's final season. Ryan would obviously like to go out on a high note but with a 4-3 record this early in the season that might be wishful thinking. However, the Badgers have an opportunity to turn their season around a bit against a 14th ranked Syracuse team and a win on the road against a quality opponent could be just what the Badgers needed to turn their season around.