Following Tuesday night’s games, the Big Ten and ACC are currently tied 4-4 in the 2019 edition of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. That leaves Wednesday to decide which conference will come out on top this year. And with six games on the slate, it’s easy to get excited.
So, let’s take a look at what’s on the slate tonight.
Game of the Day:
-No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels
- Time/TV: 9:30PM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: North Carolina (-1)
Last night had two marquee matchups between the Big Ten and ACC putting Duke on the road to face Michigan State and Michigan on the road to face Louisville. Both were matchups between top 11 teams in the AP Poll. And fans will get to enjoy one more such matchup in this year’s Challenge as Ohio State goes on the road to face North Carolina.
Ohio State has been utterly dominant this year, jumping out to a 7-0 record and a top five rankings on KenPom. The most impressive win was certainly the team’s blowout win against Villanova a few weeks ago at home. The Buckeyes have won six of the team’s seven games by double-digits and the “close” game came against a solid Cincinnati team.
However, Ohio State has yet to play on the road this season and will now face the challenge of heading to Chapel Hill to face a really talented North Carolina team. While the Tar Heels dropped a game to Michigan last week, the team is still 6-1 with three top 80 victories already this season. Freshman guard Cole Anthony is the key player to watch for North Carolina and one of the most impressive players in the country.
Expect a tough fought game with plenty of defense on both sides. The key for Ohio State will be slowing down Anthony. Can DJ Carton and CJ Walker do it? We’ll see.
- Pick Against the Spread: Ohio State
-Nebraska Cornhuskers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- Time/TV: 7:15PM ET (ESPNU)
- KenPom Spread: Georgia Tech (-10)
Things haven’t started too well for the Huskers so far this season. Nebraska heads into this game sitting at 4-3 overall with no wins against top 100 opponents. The Huskers have struggled for consistency all year and enter this game as solid underdogs. It’s going to take quite an effort for Nebraska to come out of this one with a win.
If Nebraska is going to pull this off, it’s going to need a really solid defensive performance upfront to slow down players like James Banks and Moses Wright.
- Pick Against the Spread: Georgia Tech
-No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers at Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 7:15PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue (-2)
You know you have a good night of basketball on the slate when a rematch of last year’s Elite Eight is the undercard for the evening. If it were just about any other night, this would be the matchup drawing national attention. It features a top five Virginia team on the road to face Purdue in one of the nation’s toughest places to play.
The Boilermakers have started slow this season, but still project to be a solid team and this is a chance to score a massive resume win at home. The key will be slowing down Mamadi Diakite and finding ways to score against a tough Virginia defense. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Nojel Eastern to play well.
- Pick Against the Spread: Virginia
-Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 3 Maryland Terrapins
- Time/TV: 7:30PM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: Maryland (-10)
Maryland is off to a fast start this season and fans are hoping the Terps can keep things rolling on Wednesday night at home against a pretty beatable Notre Dame team. The Irish are led by John Mooney and are still a quality unit, just not as good as some of the program’s better teams of recent years.
If Maryland can get quality production from Anthony Cowan and use the team’s length against a much less talented Notre Dame team, this should be a comfortable win.
- Pick Against the Spread: Maryland
-Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Time/TV: 9:15PM ET (ESPNU)
- KenPom Spread: Penn State (-10)
After beating Syracuse last Friday night, Penn State fans are riding pretty high. And for good reason, too. The Nittany Lions are sitting in the top 25 on KenPom and 6-1 overall on the season. Penn State will now hope to keep that going on Wednesday night at home against a fairly beatable Wake Forest team, at least on paper.
Wake Forest sits at 87th on KenPom and is 5-3 on the year, currently coming off a loss against Arizona on Sunday. The team is led by guard Brandon Childress and big man Olivier Sarr. If the Nittany Lions’ defense can hold, this should be another win for Penn State.
- Pick Against the Spread: Wake Forest
-Wisconsin Badgers at North Carolina State Wolfpack
- Time/TV: 9:15PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: North Carolina State (-5)
It’s only November, but man does it feel like it’s getting late early on this Wisconsin team. You can’t write off anybody this early, but the Badgers have really underwhelmed to date, sitting at 4-3 overall and coming off two straight losses to teams outside the top 70 on KenPom on neutral courts. These aren’t things you usually hear about NCAA squads.
And that’s what makes Wednesday’s game against NC State so important. Wisconsin can certainly get rolling in Big Ten play as well, but unless you think the Badgers are going to go on the road and beat Tennessee in a few weeks, this seems like the team’s best chance to grab another quality non-con win. Can Wisconsin get it done? We’ll have to see, but it’s going to come down to how the Badgers perform against a struggling NC State defense.
- Pick Against the Spread: Wisconsin
Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 13-12-2