The Big Ten-ACC Challenge is an annual showcase of two of the most dominant basketball conferences in the nation. The games give fans a chance to see past the early season hype and what teams are really made of, against quality conference opponents. It also is a way to see which conference is better. The 2012 Big Ten-ACC Challenge is November 27 and 28. Here are the three most intriguing games in my opinion.
North Carolina – Indiana
Assembly Hall in Bloomington will be absolutely rocking November 27 when the potential #1 team in the country, Indiana, takes on a North Carolina team that lost last year’s core in the 2012 NBA Draft. Indiana returns all five starters, including Naismith candidate Cody Zeller. Zeller is absolutely dominant and this will be a big stage for him to show the nation that he and the Hoosiers are a team to be reckoned with. While North Carolina’s 2011-12 roster was gutted by the NBA Draft, they still have some elite talent. James McAdoo chose to return to Chapel Hill instead of being a likely high first-round pick last spring. The sophomore will see a large increase in minutes and will have a chance to shine this year on the level of Zeller. Indiana wants the throne of the top team in America, but if a lot goes right for the tar Heels they could cook up an upset at Indiana. This is potentially the biggest non-conference game of the season, and hopefully will be a fun watch.
N.C. State – Michigan
This will be a game starring hotshot freshmen. On the Michigan side, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary stand out as potential difference makers in their first year on campus. Also, sharpshooter Nik Stauskas will be called on to pick up some of the outside shooting load left by Zack Novak and Stu Douglass. NC State has an equally exciting recruiting class led by standout guard Rodney Purvis. Combined, the two teams have six freshmen in the top 71 of Rivals 150. It will be intriguing to see if the freshmen or the upperclassmen (Trey Burke, Jordan Morgan, and Tim Hardaway, Jr.) lead this Michigan team, and this game will be a good example of what is to come for the Wolverines in 2012-13.
Ohio State – Duke
The Buckeyes and Blue Devils both lost arguably their best player in the draft, yet still return with top-shelf talent. The Buckeyes lost Jared Sullinger, who could take over games with his low post dominance. Meanwhile, Duke’s big loss was Austin Rivers, a scoring guard who hit big shots for them in big moments last year. However, both these teams have the talent to fill the void left after the draft, as is common with powerhouse programs like these two. Ohio State has Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, who give the Buckeyes a scoring/assisting duo that can more than hold its own. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a dominant big man in Miles Plumlee, along with the scoring and play-making of Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins. Neither team is looked at as an elite team right now, but maybe an impressive win in this game can change that.