The 2022 ACC-Big Ten Challenge wrapped up on Wednesday night with a variety of marquee matchups, including North Carolina traveling to face Indiana and Duke hosting Ohio State. The Spartans also faced off against the Irish. The ACC used the night to clinch a win over the Big Ten in the Challenge’s last edition.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers 77, No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels 65
This was billed as the Challenge’s best matchup and it largely lived up to the hype. Indiana used an absolutely raucous atmosphere to score a 12-point win over the Tar Heels. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen Hood-Schifino also showed out as well, scoring 10 points himself.
Indiana improved to 7-0 with the win and made a major statement regarding its hopes for March and beyond. The Hoosiers are a legit threat to win the Big Ten and earn an elite seed in March. The team is deep, talented, and still improving and the victory over North Carolina shows the potential of this group. The freshmen have likewise been really encouraging.
Over the weekend, Indiana will hope to keep this momentum going with a game against Rutgers on the road on Saturday. It projects as a challenging game. If the Hoosiers can take care of business there, fans are really going to be feeling great about the team’s hopes.
-Notre Dame Fighting Irish 70, No. 20 Michigan State Spartans 52
On paper, this projected as a winnable road game for Michigan State. While Notre Dame had some talent, the Irish had struggled significantly and were coming off a rough loss to St. Bonaventure over the weekend. Unfortunately for Spartan fans, those projections wouldn’t hold up, as Michigan State lost by 18 on Wednesday night. The game was never really competitive as Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Michigan State dropped to 5-3 with the loss and will now try and regroup at home against Northwestern on Sunday. The loss follows a recent backslide for the Spartans, who dropped from 19th to 34th on KenPom over the last two weeks. Fans will hope that trend reverses over the coming weeks.
The Huskers cruised in this one, scoring a 21-point win over Boston College on Wednesday. The game was relatively competitive in the first half, but got out of hand early in the second half. Keisei Tominaga led the way with 23 points and two assists. Nebraska improved to 5-3 overall with the win and will now prepare for Creighton on the road on Sunday. Fans will hope the Huskers can pull off a monster upset in the matchup.
-No. 17 Duke Blue Devils 81, No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes 72
This was the other big matchup of the night and it ended up being a really competitive game. Ohio State led early, Duke rebounded, and the teams exchanged blows for much of the second half. Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, Duke pulled away as we approached the closing minutes and grabbed an 81-72 win. Zed Key played particularly well, finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.
Ohio State fell to 5-2 overall with the loss. Still, despite the loss, the Buckeyes remain in solid position and will get a shot at an easy win on Saturday at home against St. Francis.
-No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers 79, Florida State Seminoles 69
While this game wasn’t as lopsided as some (including myself) expected, it was still a comfortable win for the Boilers. Zach Edey dominated with 25 points and eight rebounds and Fletcher Loyer had a nice showing with 11 points as well. The only concerning part of the performance was giving up 0.96 points per possession to a dreadful offensive team.
Purdue improved to 7-0 with the win and will now prepare for the opening of conference play on Sunday at home against Minnesota. It’s hard to see the Boilers losing that one.
-Miami Hurricanes 68, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 61
This is gonna be a tough one for Scarlet Knight fans to stomach. Despite starting off well and leading into halftime, Rutgers fell apart late and couldn’t score enough to beat a decent Miami team on the road. The team’s defense also underwhelmed, allowing Miami to score 1.06 points per possession and letting three Hurricane starters score 16 or more.
The loss dropped Rutgers to 5-2 overall and to 0-2 in the team’s games against top 100 opponents so far this season. There’s obviously still time to turn that around, but that’s not exactly a stat you love to see. Rutgers will hope to score an upset win on Saturday at home against Indiana.