Tuesday, December 2

Same Old Same for VT, Somehing New for Duke in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Last night, the tenth annual ACC/Big Ten challenge got underway, with an all too familiar sight for Virginia Tech fans. The Hokies once again fell victim to a buzzer beating shot. Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes leaner from the free throw line joined Xavier's Dante Jackson in snatching victory away from Virginia Tech. This is not a new phenomenon for Virginia Tech, as last they saw Tyler Hansbrough end their hopes for an NCAA tournament berth by sinking a baseline jumper in the ACC tournament. Earlier in the year, Ish Smith and Wake Forest nipped the Hokies at the buzzer. In 2005, they lost two games to buzzer beaters, Sean Dockery's half court heave propelled Duke to victory in Cameron and it was a freshman A.D. Vassallo who accidentally tipped in a shot into his own basket at the buzzer that gave Bowling Green a win. Now a senior, A.D. Vassallo played his tail off against Wisconsin, shooting 12 for 17 and 6 for 9 from three point range, but still the team fell short. More about the upcoming matchups after the break...

Tonight five more games will be played. Duke will head to Purdue in a rare true non-conference road game for the Blue Devils. It will be the first time Duke will play on a ranked opponent's campus, since 2005 when they faced #17 Indiana in Bloomington.It's their first time facing a top 10 team on the opponent's home court since 2003, when they fell in Lansing to #5 Michigan State. The last time Duke faced a ranked opponent not in the ACC/Big 10 challenge was in 2000, when they faced #17 Temple in the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Clemson and Illinois meet for the first time in challenge history. Ohio State and Miami will face off in a rematch of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. The Hurricanes will be well-served to interfere with new freshman phenom BJ Mullens if they hope to win. Virginia heads up north to Minnesota, and Cavalier husbands would be wise to keep an eye on their spouses heading to the bathroom. The Iowa Hawkeyes face off with The Tyrese Rice five at Boston College.

Tomorrow, North Carolina and Michigan State meet in Detroit's Ford Field. It will be the first time a North Carolina school has been to Ford Field since Davidson and Stephen Curry's historic run last March. It also represents the one chance for a Michigan-based team of any sort to get a win in Ford Field this year. The probation-riddled Hoosiers of Indiana will limp into Winston-Salem to face Ish Smith and the Demon Deacons. Michigan and Maryland will battle for relevance in College Park, while Florida State will be at Northwestern in the battle of Rhode Scholar schools. Georgia Tech faces a familiar challenge foe in Penn State. The last two challenge home games for the Jackets have been against the Nittany Lions.

The ACC has won all nine previous ACC/Big Ten challenge Commissioner's Cups and 56 of the previous 86 contests. One of the primary advantages enjoyed by the ACC has been homecourt advantage, going 33-4, compared to 23-17 for the Big Ten.


1 comment:

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