The Big Ten-ACC Challenge finished in a dead heat after the second night of games last night. This is the second straight year that the challenge has ended in a tie. Overall the ACC dominates the series at 10-3-2 but the B1G has won or shared the title the last 5 years. This year, I would have expected another win for the Big Ten. They were favored in 7 of the 12 games going into Tuesday, but some slip ups by some favorites allowed the ACC to pull off the tie. According to Ken Pomeroy there was a 25.8% chance of that happening. Whereas the likelihood of the ACC winning the competition was 30.4% and the B1G at 43.8%. Looking a little deeper into the games we'll see where the Big Ten dropped the ball.
Ohio State vs. Maryland
A home game for the Buckeyes who are playing like a top 3 team in the nation right now, meant our future compatriots in the Big Ten didn't stand much of a chance. Maryland rolled into Columbus and walked away never having stood a chance. The minimum win probability for Ohio State was 87.2% when they were still tied at zero 15 seconds into the game.
Wisconsin @ Virginia
This one was probably the most impressive of the Big Ten's wins over the last two days. The Badgers went into Charlottesville and handed the Wisconsin of the East their second home loss of the season. The game, as expected had a mind numbingly slow pace of 57 possessions. In that time, both teams were incredibly inefficient scoring .84 and .67 points per possession. I said the win was impressive, but I refuse to say that is was fun to watch.
Michigan State vs. North Carolina
The most disappointing loss came last night in Sparty's loss to North Carolina. A lot of Indiana fans and Tom Crean are concerned about the lack of fight IU showed on the road against Syracuse, but Michigan State outdid them on their home court. MSU went down 12 points in the first half, came back to tie it at 38-38 and it all went downhill from there. Adding injury to insult, Keith Appling appeared to have hurt himself, Payne was cramping and Gary Harris didn't look like the Gary Harris we know. Michigan State was lucky to get away with only a 14 point home loss.
Iowa @ Notre Dame
In a battle of no defenses, Iowa and Notre Dame went toe to toe on the offensive ends. Notre Dame scored 1.29 points per possession while shooting 51% from the floor. However it wasn't enough for the Irish. Iowa bettered them with 1.36 points per possession and shot nearly 57% from the floor. Aaron White was his usual bad ass self pouring in 20 points on 7-9 shooting with 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Michigan @ Duke
Michigan struggled mightily to find their roles in this one just like they have all year. The loss of Trey Burke has not been kind to the Wolverines. After scoring only 6 points in the first 10 minutes the Wolverines were able to push it to a manageable 22-32 deficit at half time. However, they weren't able to manage a comeback. The teams played even the rest of the way for a Duke victory. Mitch McGary looked good for Michigan but that was about it. Glenn Robinson is going through the same phase that Jeremy Hollowell is at this point.
Minnesota vs. Florida State
This was a game that Minnesota was favored in by the numbers, but I didn't actually believe it with the eye test of seeing both teams. For that I need to apologize to the Gophers. Minnesota showed some good defense against a very long and physical opponent while finding some composure of their own on offense. The Hollinses paced Minnesota with 37 of their 71 points in the 10 point victory.
Indiana @ Syracuse
We all know what happened in this one. The Hoosiers had two poor ten minute stretches to start each half where they scored seven points in each quarter. The other 20 minutes weren't that bad. In the end, IU put up .9 points per possession, .24 points off their season average and gave up 1.19 points per possession. Yogi Ferrell was actually the best player on the court for IU by advanced metrics, but he still only came in 3rd to anyone who had a significant number of possessions. Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell and Troy Williams all fell in the very bad category.
Illinois @ Georgia Tech
This one should probably fall in with Michigan State as the two games needing public shaming of our conference brethren. Georgia Tech has not been very good this year to date, but they were able to come back from down 60-48 with 7 minutes to play and a win probability of 2.8% to fight off the Illini. The Yellow Jackets closed on a 19-4 run to walk away with the 3 point win. Feel shame Illinois, feel shame.
Penn St. @ Pitt
This one goes in the admirable try column for the Big Ten. Pitt is a very good team and Penn State is proving they're better than people have been giving them credit for. They pushed the Panthers the entire game including leading at half before they just ran out of gas to a much deeper team. Still, Tim Frazier was awesome and the Nittany Lions put the rest of the conference on notice not to sleep on them when conference play rolls around.
Purdue vs. Boston College
This is more of the Purdue team I think many of us were expecting this year. They've been playing some real head scratchers all year, but finally came out and made a statement. The Boilers trailed 20-18 in the first half before Terone Johnson put the team on his back and carried them to victory. Basil Smotherman, Jay Simpson, AJ Hammons and Kendall Stephens played the part of timely role players perfectly. The only concern for Purdue coming out of this 20 point victory is that Ronnie Johnson still used a ton of possessions (35%) and wasn't very good compared to the rest of his teammates. Still, if that's Purdue's biggest problems they may have found their way past the early season slump.
Nebraska vs. Miami (FL)
Many of you may be surprised to hear this, but Nebraska was actually the favorites to win this game. Miami has been bad since the loss of a good chunk of their team last season. Nebraska kept the pressure high all night and held Miami to 13 points at half and only 22 points through 30 minutes. Then the game got sloppy and erratic as both teams scored a ton of points (in context) in the scrum that was the last 10 minutes. Still, a very good win for a Nebraska team that could use the confidence. Tim Miles has to be happy with his squad's 6-2 record.
Northwestern @ NC State
Gosh dang it Northwestern. I really really want you to have nice things. I understand that Chris Collins has a project on his hands and is going to need some time, but NC State is not that good. Surely you could have at least put up some sort of fight. Instead the game went south quickly after you led the game 6-2 at the 17 minute mark. NC State had a 31-20 lead at half time and ballooned to 29-50. The only player to be considered efficient while getting significant playing time was 6th man Tre Demps. Everyone else was OK to bad.
In the end, because tie goes to the previous winner, the Big Ten remains holders of whatever mythical trophy this made for TV event gets. Some teams leave the competition feeling a lot better about themselves, but everyone has shown that they still have at least some players with questions still to answer.