College Basketball: History favors ACC against Big Ten

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 1, 2008

By Ken Tysiac
Raleigh News & Observer
There are a lot of sure things in Atlantic Coast Conference basketball these days.
You can count on opposing fans arguing that North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough initiated contact almost every time he goes to the foul line.
It’s all but guaranteed that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is going to spend much of the season searching in vain for a low-post scoring threat.
And you know that at least once a season Gary Williams is going to find a way to win against a team Maryland has no business defeating.
Add a winning ACC performance in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge to the list of things you can take to the bank these days. This is the 10th year of ESPN’s made-for-TV event, and the ACC has won every year.
The won-loss total stands at 56-30 in favor of the ACC, including 8-3 last year.
Here are some things to watch during this week’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which starts Monday night when Wisconsin visits Virginia Tech:
FINAL FOUR SNEAK PEEK? That’s what North Carolina vs. Michigan State at Detroit’s Ford Field was supposed to be. Then the Spartans lost 80-62 to Maryland last week. But this still is a great opportunity for the Tar Heels to get accustomed to the Final Four site ahead of their pre-ordained trip there.

ROE’S WOES: North Carolina’s coaching staff was bitterly disappointed when talented freshman forward Delvon Roe chose Michigan State over the Tar Heels and probably won’t get Roe’s best shot Wednesday night. His minutes have been limited because he is returning from a knee injury.

NO DOUBTING DUKE: The ACC-Big Ten Challenge wouldn’t be complete without Duke walloping a strong opponent in one of the high-profile games. The Blue Devils are 9-0 in the Challenge, with four wins by 15 points or more. Tuesday’s visit to Purdue should be one of the more difficult games Duke has faced in this event. Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore won’t be easily defended by Duke’s suspect front line.

AIR TO THE THRONE? Clemson gets its first look at Jeffrey Jordan, a freshman reserve guard for Illinois, on Tuesday. Not sure how the Tigers will fare against the Big Ten, but they already own the Atlantic 10, with wins over Temple and Charlotte.

MISMATCH ALL THE WAY: With Jeff Teague, James Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest has some of the best young talent in the nation. Indiana has a roster decimated by defections in the wake of NCAA probation. This could get ugly, and it serves the Hoosiers right for hiring serial phone cheat Kelvin Sampson, who has since been replaced by Tom Crean.

BUCKEYES’ BIG DEAL: Miami will have to deal with 7-foot B.J. Mullens, who may follow one-and-done predecessors Greg Oden and Kosta Koufos as the next excellent freshman center for Ohio State. In case you’re wondering, Oden didn’t play in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge because of an injury in a Buckeyes loss at North Carolina two years ago. Last year Koufos played and lost to the Tar Heels.