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ACC/Big 10 Challenge Day 1 Picks and Previews

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Hello best friends,

It’s time for the annual Big 10/ACC Challenge, which technically kicked off last night but no one really gave a shit about Rutgers/Wake Forest and Clemson/Minnesota despite they turned out to be good games. Wake Forest was able to secure a 1-point win on the road while Minnesota came back from double digits to win at home.

As always with this event there are intriguing matchups with a headliner each day, tonight’s being North Carolina/Maryland and tomorrow’s being Indiana/Duke (allegedly). As always I’ll do my best to give out winners, shout out to those who tailed for Battle 4 Atlantis last week as they were perfect. Feel free to take me out to Sizzler at your earliest convenience.

Follow me for all your college hoops talk this year @barstoolreags

Michigan (-1) at NC State – Tuesday, 7pm

This is a classic game of both teams really need this win. Michigan is starting to get healthy, but still have a long way to go with guys coming back from offseason surgery. The offense found a groove the last two games in the Bahamas scoring 102 against Charlotte and 78 against Texas. I continue to be bullish on the Wolverines because John Beilein is the best X’s and O’s coach in America, especially with guards. The depth here will be a huge advantage for Michigan and I expect Caris LeVert to have a big game. Also, Derrick Walton and the handful of backups will be able to slow Cat Barber down, which is the key when playing the Wolfpack.

Pick: Michigan wins by 3 and covers

Northwestern (PK) at Virginia Tech – Tuesday, 7pm

The biggest difference in this game will be the fact Northwestern has Bryant McIntosh at point guard who has plenty of experience playing on the road. Let’s face it, Virginia Tech isn’t exactly the toughest place to play either no matter what that lunatic Buzz Williams is wearing on the sideline. Keep an eye on McIntosh/Demps as both are averaging over 16 points per game to lead Northwestern here.

Pick: Northwestern wins by 9 and covers

Virginia (-8) at Ohio State – Tuesday, 7:30 pm

This one shouldn’t be close on paper. Ohio State has been the epitome of dog shit losing at home to UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. Thad Matta often looks like he’s trying to figure out the correct Tweet to send to a girl he wants to sleep with while walking the sideline and simply this team sucks. HOWEVAH, I’m not sold on Virginia. Malcolm Brodgon is the only player worth a damn on that team and this game is at Ohio State. London Perrantes hasn’t improved since he was a freshman, which isn’t saying much. Please don’t tell me about his assist to turnover ratio if you don’t understand Bennett’s offensive system. Everyone will be on Virginia because they beat up some nobodies after losing at George Washington.

Pick: Ohio State covers, Virginia by 6

Miami (-6) at Nebraska – Tuesday, 9pm

This is a juicy 90’s football matchup but unfortunately this is being played on the hardwood which means there will be about 100 people in attendance in Lincoln. Miami is coming off arguably the worst loss of the year in college hoops when it lost at home to Northeastern. That’s a game a good team simply doesn’t lose, especially with a week off. I don’t care who you are. Nebraska has been playing better as of late beating Tennessee and playing Cincinnati to four points. Shavon Shields is going to be a problem for Miami despite the fact he can’t shoot worth a damn from outside. The 6’7” forward is second on the team in scoring, first in rebounds and first in assists. The flip side though is Nebraska doesn’t have the depth like Miami has. Miami has four guys averaging double-digits with Tonye Jekiri at 9.8 per game. The Hurricanes will try to get the ball up and down, while expect Nebraska try to ugly this game up and keep it low scoring. Ultimately, the depth will wear Nebraska at and Jerkiri’s size will be too much.

Pick: Miami wins and covers by 2.

Purdue (PK) at Pittsburgh – Tuesday, 9pm

This might be the least interesting game in college basketball because there’s not one team I hate to watch more than Pittsburgh. In fact Purdue is probably second on that list. Both of these teams are incredibly boring and the fact people still want to call Jamie Dixon a great coach infuriates me. This game is only a pick em because it’s at Pittsburgh and the Panthers can somewhat score. However, with the shortened shot clock, expect Purdue’s defense to pay off here, especially against this type of team. Purdue has a ton of depth in the frontcourt, led by a guy who is currently in the top-10 in KenPom’s Player of the Year standings in Isaac Haas. The return of AJ Hammons is enough to give Purdue the edge as people who watch this game will want to drink a lot of bourbon to counteract for the atrociousness.

Pick: Purdue by 11, basketball is set back 4 years

Maryland (+6) at North Carolina – Tuesday, 9:30 pm

Here’s the game everyone is waiting for. The game that was supposed to be No. 1 vs No. 2 except North Carolina lost to Northern Iowa and Maryland hasn’t looked like a top-5 team this year yet. The big news is the return of Marcus Paige from a fractured finger on his non-shooting hand which will delight roy Williams, who can now run his favorite play. What is that play? It’s simply let Paige dribble around for 20 seconds then shoot. I’m interested to see what defensive matchups Turgeon uses in this game. If I’m him, I expect to see a lot of Sulaimon on Paige with Melo Trimble playing off the ball (simply because he’s not a good defender). Let him guard Nate Britt or Joel Berry instead. Layman should take Justin Jackson, in what will be the biggest matchup in my eyes. Jackson should absolutely dominate this type of game with his versatility and talent as he’s the most talented player on the Tar Heels roster. On the flip side this is the game you see Robert Carter Jr., excel in. He’ll have a mismatch, especially if Maryland ever goes small and Kennedy Meeks tries to guard him. Ultimately the return of Paige isn’t enough and Maryland wins.

Pick: Maryland wins by 1, covers easily

ICYMI: I sat down with Banks from DMV, who is a Maryland season ticket holder to talk about the Terps so far this season.