It’s been a mixed effort for the Big Ten so far in the 2022 ACC-Big Ten Challenge. However, fans will hope to change that on Wednesday with an absolutely loaded slate of games. Things are highlighted by challenging matchups for Indiana and Ohio State.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels at No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 9:15PM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: Indiana by 6
It’s not often you see a blueblood showdown of this level on campus, but that’s exactly what fans will get on Tuesday night as North Carolina goes on the road to face an undefeated Hoosier squad. Indiana enters the game at 6-0 after beating a handful of lesser opponents and Xavier on the road while North Carolina is reeling after two losses last weekend.
The game itself will likely come down to Indiana’s defense against North Carolina’s offense. Can the Hoosiers slow down a really long and diverse group of scorers? Trayce Jackson-Davis will have his hands full with Armando Bacot and Indiana will have to find some answers for Caleb Love in the backcourt as well. The two are dynamic scorers. Add in former Northwestern star Pete Nance and there’s a lot to like for North Carolina.
All told, this feels like a game North Carolina isn’t built to win yet. Assembly Hall is going to be off the rails on Wednesday night and Indiana should be able to feast off of it. As long as the Hoosiers can hold up defensively, the win is there.
- Pick: Indiana
-No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers at Florida State Seminoles
- Time/TV: 7:15PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 14
Normally, this would project as a pretty intriguing matchup. Putting a top five and undefeated on the road to face Florida State, a program with plenty of respect and recent success, looks like a potential upset opportunity. However, that assumes Florida State is a good team, which it is absolutely not this year. The Seminoles are absolutely terrible and will likely get run off the floor by the Boilers in this one.
- Pick: Purdue
-No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 17 Duke Blue Devils
- Time/TV: 7:15PM ET (ESPN)
- KenPom Spread: Duke by 3
For the second season in a row, Ohio State and Duke will matchup in non-conference play as the Blue Devils try to avenge last year’s loss against the Buckeyes. However, this year’s game looks more challenging for Ohio State as Chris Holtmann and his crew head south for a game in Cameron Indoor. The Blue Devils accordingly enter as mild favorites.
Both Duke and Ohio State have had similar seasons to date. They’ve played pretty well, have a few solid wins, but have fallen short against their toughest opponents. Duke lost to Kansas and Purdue while Ohio State fell to San Diego State. As such, it’s easy to see why the advanced numbers think the game is so even.
The biggest question will be how Ohio State’s underwhelming defense holds up against Kyle Filipowski and a pretty dynamic Duke offense. While Purdue held up on Sunday, do the Buckeyes have the bodies to keep up in the paint? It’s hard to say yes, though Zed Key has shown some things so far this season. That’s the spot to watch. All told, this feels like a game where Duke and Cameron will be enough for the Blue Devils to escape with a win.
- Pick: Duke
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Miami Hurricanes
- Time/TV: 7:15PM ET (ESPNU)
- KenPom Spread: Miami by 3
With tough losses for Miami and Rutgers already this season, this matchup has lost a bit the sizzle it projected to have before the season. However, don’t be confused, as both of these teams still have more than enough to do damage in March. Rutgers still has its loaded defense and Miami has a really experienced lineup, ranking 28th nationally in KenPom’s experience metric. Expect a gutsy performance on both sides on Tuesday.
The game itself will likely come down to Rutgers’ backcourt and whether the Scarlet Knights can get enough offensively. Cam Spencer had 18 points in his last outing and Derek Simpson finished with 14 himself, but can they maintain that on the road against a capable Miami squad? We’ll have to wait and see. This seems to be a game where Rutgers can ugly it up and steal a nice road win.
- Pick: Rutgers
-No. 20 Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Time/TV: 9:15PM ET (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Michigan State by 2
These two schools are rivals on the football field and it’ll now carry over to the hardwood as Michigan State faces off against Notre Dame for the second time in three seasons. The last game took place in East Lansing as the Spartans grabbed an 80-70 win in the abbreviated COVID-19 season. Expect a better atmosphere this time around.
For the Spartans, this is a great opportunity to grab a road win. Notre Dame enters the game at 5-1 overall and is coming off a rough loss to St. Bonaventure on Friday. Michigan State is absolutely a better team than the Irish this year. As long as the Spartans play their game and avoid big mistakes, this should be a win. Keep an eye on the frontcourt battle between Mady Sissoko and Nate Laszewski.
- Pick: Michigan State
-Boston College Eagles at Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Time/TV: 9:15PM ET (ESPNU)
- KenPom Spread: Nebraska by 3
After the last few seasons, this feels odd to say, but Nebraska enters Wednesday’s tip against a Power Five team as a favorite. And even though it’s a narrow margin, this is a game where the Huskers have a serious chance of winning.
The key matchup here is going to be defending Makai Ashton-Langford, who carries most of Boston College’s offensive production. The Huskers are also going to need a big game from CJ Wilcher. Boston College’s defense is relatively solid, so Wilcher will need to take advantage of his looks.
- Pick: Nebraska
Picks Record: 47-10-0