Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday's Pregame Beat: ACC/Big Ten Challenge predictions!!!

ACC/Big Ten Challenge: Seeing as we've already done a preview for the event, I'm not going rewrite everything that I wrote in this space. That'd just be wasting your time. But since I'm a space cadet and didn't remember to make my picks, I'll do that right here, right now, for you.

Tuesday, Nov. 29th:

Miami (FL) @ Purdue: Purdue. I just think the Boilermakers are going to be too tough in Mackey Arena,
Northwestern @ Georgia Tech: Northwestern. I don't think the Yellow Jackets have the defensive discipline to slow down Drew Crawford, John Shurna and company.
Illinois @ Maryland: Illinois. If Maryland had Pe'Shon Howard and Alex Len, I'd say they had a puncher's chance at home.
Michigan @ Virginia: Virginia. The key to beating Michigan is figuring out their offensive sets. I think Tony Bennett will be able to.
Clemson @ Iowa: Clemson. The Tigers haven't been playing well this year, but the Hawkeyes just aren't that good.
Duke @ Ohio State: Ohio State. In a close one. The Buckeyes are giving 7.5, however. Take the points.

Wednesday, Nov. 30th:

Indiana @ NC State: Indiana. I've been impressed with how the Hoosiers have played early in the season. No one on the Wolfpack is strong enough to take advantage of Cody Zeller inside.
Penn State @ Boston College: No one. I think Penn State will outscore Boston College, but no one is a winner in this game.
Florida State @ Michigan State: Florida State. The Spartans should be able to matchup inside, but the Seminoles are the toughest defensive team in the country and Michigan State can't score.
Virginia Tech @ Minnesota: Virginia Tech. The Hokies are underrated and the Gophers are without Trevor Mbakwe.
Wake Forest @ Nebraska: Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are tough defensively and Bo Spencer has the ability to go off for 20+.
Wisconsin @ North Carolina: North Carolina. The Badgers matchup so well -- talented point guard, control tempo -- with UNC, but I think that the Heels will come out pissed after losing to UNLV.

Scoreboard: Big Ten 7, ACC 5.

Game of the night: 9:00 pm: Arizona @ New Mexico State

The Wildcats have been one of the early season's most enigmatic teams. Well, maybe enigmatic isn't the right word. Overrated is probably better. Arizona is loaded with talent and potential. The problem is that all of their star power is in the form of underclassmen, specifically freshman guard Josiah Turner. As Sean Miller waits for his club to learn and develop and become the team that lives up to rankings of their recruiting classes, Arizona is susceptible. Ask Mississippi State, who picked off the Wildcats at Madison Square Garden 10 days ago. Or ask San Diego State, who went into the McKale Center and dropped Arizona over the holiday weekend.

And New Mexico State isn't a bad team. They are 5-1 on the season, which includes a win over New Mexico in The Pit, and they finally have Wendell McKines healthy and playing the all-league caliber player that he is. This will be a good test for Arizona. Can they beat a quality team on the road in a hostile environment?

Who's getting upset?: Texas

The Longhorns take on a young -- but talented -- North Texas team at 8:00 pm tonight in Austin, and UT better come ready to play. The Mean Green have a roster loaded with talented freshmen and high-major transfers. The problem? UNT has yet to figure out how to play together, and is still not at full strength. Roger Franklin, a transfer from Oklahoma State, and Alonzo Edwards, a transfer from Nebraska, are still trying to earn minutes while Tony Mitchell and Justin Patton are not yet eligible (it looks like Patton won't get eligible this year after all). The 1-3 start is not indicative of how good this team can be.

Mid-major matchup of the night: 10:00 pm: No. 25 St. Louis @ Loyola Marymount

St. Louis is an interesting team to watch. They are tough defensively, they control the pace of the game (keeping is slow) and they fire up a lot of threes without turning the ball over. Wisconsin-lite. Or diet Wisconsin. Either way, you get my point -- this is a team that thrives on the offensive and defensive execution of Rick Majerus' game-plan. LMU, on the other hand, is a team that is more free-flowing. They rely more on the natural talent of guys like Anthony Ireland and Ashley Hamilton. It should be fun.

The rest of the top 25:

7:00 pm: Eastern Michigan @ No. 3 Syracuse: As if there wasn't enough drama surrounding Jim Boeheim and Bernie Fine, this is the first time that Rob Murphy will be coming back to Upstate New York. The longtime Cuse assistant is now the head coach of EMU.

8:00 pm: Prairie View A&M @ No. 8 Baylor: Perry Jones. Welcome back.

Other notable games:

- 7:00 pm: Miami OH @ Cincinnati
- 7:00 pm: Holy Cross @ Providence
- 8:00 pm: LSU @ Houston
- 10:00 pm: UTEP @ Oregon

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