Wednesday’s Viewer’s Guide: Big Ten-ACC Challenge wraps up

The Big Ten-ACC Challenge finishes up on Wednesday, and a few other good matchups take place. Check it out below.

Best game — No. 24 Louisville at No. 3 Michigan State (-5.5) — 7:15 ET, ESPN

The Spartans have the best resume in college hoops right now. The Cardinals have the worst resume of any ranked, unbeaten team. However, both have been strong in the earlygoing. Michigan State has gotten terrific contributions from Denzel Valentine, its current player of the year favorite. Can Louisville and its young team spring the upset? It seems unlikely, but it’s worth mentioning this will be the Spartans seventh game in 15 days while travelling all over the country.

Second-best game — Indiana at No. 7 Duke (-9) — 9:15 ET, ESPN

Can Indiana recover from its early season woes? Time will tell, but the keys here will be twofold. Are the Hoosiers going to be able to defend enough to get the upset? This has been a dreadful unit on that side of the ball thus far. Then secondly, can the Indiana backcourt take advantage of a largely inexperienced group? If the Hoosiers are to win, that’s likely how we’ll see it happen. But going to Cameron Indoor and winning seems like an awfully tall task given what we’ve seen from this defense so far.

Another to watch — Butler at Cincinnati (-5.5) — CBS Sports Network

Expect some well-coached basketball here, but it’ll be interesting to see how this one gets played. Cincinnati has been playing at a higher pace this season than even the shot clock change can account for, but also hasn’t played a ton of tough contests. In their first one of the season against George Washington, the Bearcats did revert a bit more to the typical smash and grab style of play that has been normal for it over the past few years. However, Butler has the horses to play uptempo if the Bearcats want to. It’ll be interesting to see how this one goes.

Matchup to watch — Troy Williams vs. Brandon Ingram

Ingram has shown flashes this season, but hasn’t quite gotten everything figured out yet. Still, the athleticism and fluidity is there at 6-9 with a 7-3 wingspan. On the other side, Williams has rounded out his game, and really become a legitimate NBA prospect due to his ability to shoot it a bit more as well as handle. It’s one heck of an athletic matchup, and whoever gets the upper hand here will give their team a great chance to win.

Pick of the night — SMU -3.5 over TCU

I know these road games can tend to be traps. But SMU is simply a much better team than TCU. The Mustangs are the No. 22 team right now due to their inside out game that features Nic Moore, the returning AAC player of the year. Let’s go ahead and assume the Horned Frogs don’t have anyone to stop the engine that makes Larry Brown’s group tick.

Other games

  • Wisconsin will try to get on the right track against Battle 4 Atlantis champion Syracuse. The jury is probably still slightly out on the Orange, but it might be too tall a task for the Badgers.
  • Florida State has the two leading scoring freshmen in the coutnry in Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon. The Seminoles take on Iowa, and will look to pick up a win over a team who struggled a bit at the Advocare Invitational.
  • Seton Hall and George Washington each have one loss, and will look to beat each other to pick up a quality win for their NCAA hopes.
  • Tulsa takes on Oklahoma State in what has quickly turned into a pretty important in-state game for resume building purposes.
  • LSU has to try to stop the bleeding against a North Florida team that is really, really well coached by Matthew Driscoll.
  • Later on, BYU takes on Utah in a matchup of the two biggest programs in the state. It’s a pretty great rivalry game that should be fun and somewhat even this year.
  • No. 13 Gonzaga travels to Pullman to take on Washington State. Josh Hawkinson at least has the bulk to bang with Gonzaga’s bigs.
  • No. 23 Providence, No. 16 Vanderbilt, and No. 25 Baylor are also all in action.

The Spartans could get off to an 8-0 start on Wednesday. (USATSI)
The Spartans could get off to an 8-0 start on Wednesday. (USATSI)

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