Get Gamm - Basketball Style...
It is almost that time of year again. As you recall, we usually start picking by analyzing the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and then cover all 88 Big Ten basketball games. Same goes for this year and since the Challenge is next week, it is time to pick away...
Monday 11/27 - Michigan at NC State
Tuesday 11/28 - Maryland at Illinois
Tuesday 11/28 - Florida State at Wisconsin
Tuesday 11/28 - Indiana at Duke
Tuesday 11/28 - Penn State at Georgia Tech
Tuesday 11/28 - Miami-FLA at Northwestern
Wednesday 11/29 - Michigan State at Boston College
Wednesday 11/29 - Virginia at Purdue
Wednesday 11/29 - Iowa at Virginia Tech
Wednesday 11/29 - Ohio State at North Carolina (TIEBREAKER)
Wednesday 11/29 - Clemson at Minnesota
Football report cards are coming soon. And more on the MSU coaching search, including a must read. Everyone have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.
Michigan at NC State
Michigan has yet to placonsequence consequense but NC State is a little rough around the edges. In the first decent test of the season, Michigan gets the Big Ten started off on the right foot (for a change)... Michigan over NC State
Maryland at Illinois
Maryland is a team that by season's end will be in the race for the Final Four. The Terps have a nice mix of veterans and youngsters and their pressure defense is tough as nails. Illinois has a definite home court edge with the Orange Krush, but the Illini are a little too dinged up to get this one. Maryland over Illinois.
Florida State at Wisconsin
The Badgers are firing on all cylinders already and while Florida State rises up often in these early battles, they usually do so in Tallahassee. As evidenced by my picks for the Big Ten this year, I really like this Badger team. Wisconsin over Florida State - BIG.
Indiana at Duke
This will be one of the best match-ups of the Challenge. Duke is good, and as usual, highly ranked but with as young as the Blue Devils are, a little overrated at this point. A loss to a good Marquette team proves that Duke is ripe for the picking now. Indiana is still adjusting to Kelvin Sampson's style and is a bit of a mystery. It wouldn't shock me to see the Hoosiers win at Duke, but I don't expect it. Duke over Indiana.
Penn State at Georgia Tech
GA Tech might still be on Maui time when this game tips off and while Penn State is improving and not as bad as in the past, the Nits did manage to lose a game already to Stony Brook and also Shippensburg in an exhibition game. Meanwhile the Yellow Jackets have played tough teams like Purdue and Memphis and tonight, UCLA. Georgia Tech over Penn State - BIG.
Miami-FLA at Northwestern
Might be the biggest yawner on the slate. Northwestern is a little better right now than I expected, but is still just 2-2 with a loss to Cornell. Miami is one of those middle of the pack ACC teams that rises up every now and then. Unless they take the night off, the 'canes should have little problem with the pesky Wildcats. Miami over Northwestern.
Michigan State at Boston College
Another of the more intriguing match-ups in this year's Challenge. The Spartans beat Boston College on a neutral floor last year and dominated an early common opponent this season (Vermont) that whipped the Eagles on their home floor. B.C. has more veterans and in these early big games, that often wins out. On a neutral court, I like the Spartans with their defense and rebounding. But on the road, B.C. wins a tight one. Boston College over Michigan State.
Virginia at Purdue
Both squads are a work in progress, but the Cavaliers already own a nice early season upset (Arizona). The Boilermakers are in the same boat as Georgia Tech - coming in after a trip to Maui. But the experience gained there will be huge. UVA will likely be favored in this one, but I like Painter's crew to get a nice win for the Big Ten. Purdue nips Virginia.
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Iowa will be a bit up and down this year. There is some talent and the Hawkeyes have already been tested but they have me a little uneasy. Virginiaperennial no perenial power but the Hokies are slowly progressing on the court. Gonna have to toss a coin on this one. Iowa over Virginia Tech.
Ohio State at North Carolina
The battle we all want to see. It's just too bad that Oden won't be matching up with Hansbrough in this one. Both teams are quite young but yet have a nice mix of veterans that are difference makers. Purely because the Buckeyes are without Oden, the Tar Heels win an overtime thriller. North Carolina over Ohio State - 82 to 80.
Clemson at Minnesota
An anti-climactic showdown to close out what looks to be another ACC win in the Challenge. I honestly haven't seen either team play, and though Minnesota is always scrappy and always uses the venerable Barn to its advantage, I am not sure if the Gophers can take down the Tigers. Another coin toss. Clemson over Minnesota.