It only seems fitting that when the two best conferences in the country were matched up that it would end in a tie. The 14th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge ended 6-6 as the Big Ten went 4-and-2 on Tuesday night and the ACC matched that on Wednesday.
The prime-time games of the challenge: Indiana/North Carolina, Michigan/North Carolina State and Ohio State/Duke went 2-1 in the Big Ten’s favor. Indiana dominated North Carolina while Michigan almost gave the game against NC State away at the end. Although Duke trailed OSU at halftime, the Dukies went on to win 73-68.
Mason Plumlee was the difference for Duke, recording 21 points and a career high 17 rebounds. Plumlee has established himself as an NBA lottery pick in 2013 and the nations best center outside of Cody Zeller. With three seniors in the starting lineup, a sophomore, and freshmen sensation Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke has a veteran team and one of the easiest remaining schedules. It wouldn’t surprise me if we’re talking about an undefeated Duke team when March rolls around.
Meanwhile, Ohio State showed Wednesday that it can play with anybody in the country. Although he struggled from the field, DeShaun Thompson can light up the scoreboard. The slick shooting, lefty, finished with 16 points. Thompson and Aaron Craft give OSU two outstanding players. The question with the Buckeyes is whether Amir Johnson and Evan Ravenel can come close to matching Jared Sullinger’s production. If Johnson develops into the player he was hyped out to be out of Detroit Country Day, this team should have no problem returning to the Final Four.
Michigan State should have no problem bouncing back from the surprise loss to Miami. Tom Izzo said of Appling’s performance against Miami that it was his worst game of the season. Michigan State needs Keith Appling to be a play-maker, the tone setter for the offense, and be able to match the production of these other great Big Ten point guards ( Trey Burke, Aaron Craft, Yogi Ferrell).
Joeseph Bertrand had this sick and-1 against Georgia Tech during Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
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