Big Ten-ACC Challenge Predictions
Well, today I’d love to be giving you a recap of the UWM-Tennesee Tech game, since I feel like I haven’t been giving UWM any love lately, and there wasn’t a ton going on in the basketball world last night. Unfortunately, the game was only on the radio last night, and I had other plans. So no game recap, though I see that UWM lost a tight one. Fret not, though, Panther fans, since early season perceptions of our Wisconsin based teams are still skewed a bit, and the Panthers aren’t as far off from being Wisconsin’s best team as you’d think. The results will come in time.
Of course, since I have nothing to say about UWM, I have to go the uncreative route and make my Big Ten-ACC challenge predictions. As usual, I’d like to do it with a twist, and rather than make in depth predictions (which would be impossible given that both leagues have had so much player turnover during the offseason and I honestly don’t know much about most of the teams), I’m going rapid fire. So here’s each of the 11 games and my predictions, with one legitimate reason for each prediction, and one completely irrelevant reason:
Ohio State over Virginia Tech
Legit Reason: Thad Matta’s got the Buckeyes headed in the right direction, even if he doesn’t have his stud recruits on campus yet.
Irrelevant Reason: Ohio State won already. (For the record, I would have picked OSU anyway, even though I loved Virginia Tech the one time I visited the campus.)
Wisconsin over Wake Forest
Legit Reason: I’m picking most legit teams to beat Wisconsin at this point in the season, but Wake’s thin at guard, the place where most legit teams would beat Wisconsin. If it comes down to the frontcourt, I’m giving this one to the Badgers.
Irrelevant Reason: I’m a tremendous homer.
Clemson over Penn State
Legit Reason: Penn State’s roster is totally devoid of talent, and while I haven’t been that up to date on Clemson since I had Clemson back-up center Woni Mohammad as a player on my ACC fantasy team when I was a freshman in college, they’ve got to have more going for them than Penn State.
Irrelevant Reason: My cousin went to Clemson, and though she was rooting for Penn State when they played my alma mater in football a few weeks back, I still like her, and want this win for her school.
Illinois over North Carolina
Legit Reason: Despite both of these teams losing tons of talent, neither is going to be in as much trouble as people expect this year. Of course, that doesn’t erase the fact that Illinois simply lost less talent than UNC, so they’ve got the edge right away.
Irrelevant Reason: Come on, you’ve seen Bruce Weber in the orange blazer. How can you deny that?
Miami over Michigan
Legit Reason: If you’re asking me to choose between Miami coach Frank Haith and Michigan coach Tommy Amacker, I’m thinking about it for roughly 3 seconds and then taking Haith. He had a hell of a year last season.
Irrelevant Reason: Back in my teen years I always got a chuckle out of watching Miami center Constantine Popa. Definitely a more humorous history than the Fab Five.
Michigan State over Georgia Tech
Legit Reason: Michigan State and Duke are both far and away the best teams in this conference showdown. Georgia Tech’s got five new starters. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
Irrelevant Reason: I’ve met a handful of very cool Michigan State alums over the years, and I’d like it if they had the joy of winning this game.
Minnesota over Maryland
Legit Reason: I don’t know if I really have one, but every event like this needs an upset, and this looks like it could be it to me. Maryland’s probably the better team, though.
Irrelevant Reason: Remember my inverse Dan Monson theory–he only does well when he doesn’t have enough talent. Given that the Gophers are clearly overmatched on paper by the Terps, based on the theory, Minnesota should win.
Northwestern over Virginia
Legit Reason: In a game with two lesser teams, I’ve got to take the one with the best player, and that’s Vedran Vukusic. I know I said I wouldn't get suckered by the talents of Vukusic and coach Carmody again, but I feel I have to just for this one game.
Irrelevant Reason: Due to my irrational dislike of Northwestern teams that has developed over the years, I was probably unfairly harsh in my critique of the Wildcats after my recent trip to Evanston for a game. I need to pick them for the sake of karma.
Duke over Indiana
Legit Reason: Have you seen Duke? Have you seen Indiana’s lineup? Are you aware of who’s coaching these teams? I don’t think I need to explain this one.
Irrelevant Reason: Since this one’s so overwhelmingly in Duke’s favor, I’m not even giving an irrelevant reason. I’ll simply pose the following question: Wouldn’t it be funnier to see Duke and Indiana have their football teams meet?
Iowa over N.C. State
Legit Reason: Iowa has perhaps the strongest lineup that they’ve had during my time on earth, and while I have more respect for N.C. State than a lot of people, Iowa’s at least a month away from the point each year where their talent becomes irrelevant and they start inexplicably losing games.
Irrelevant Reason: The game’s being played at Carver Hawkeye Arena, an arena that I shouldn’t love, but do anyway.
Florida State over Purdue
Legit Reason: Florida State, if I recall correctly (and I may not), still has lots of young athletes. Purdue has a new coach, a star player coming back from and ACL injury and no supporting cast. I’ll take the Seminoles in that scenario.
Irrelevant Reason: FSU alums Sam Cassell and Bob Sura are some of the goofiest looking players I’ve ever seen. Purdue can’t match that kind of goofy factor, even with Brian Cardinal.
So there you have it–the Big Ten wins in an overwhelming 7-4 manner, taking home their first ever Big Ten-ACC Challenge title. And even though I’m probably wrong about how things will go down (my Wisconsin vs. Wake Forest and Minnesota vs. Maryland predictions scare me the most), at least we’ve finally got a year where the Big Ten has a fighting chance. And for a soulless, made for TV event, this is always a pretty good series. The boys and I will certainly be enjoying it while drinking cheap beer at a downtown tavern this evening...