Predicting the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge begins Tuesday night on the ESPN family of networks, offering up 12 games pitting conference against conference. For a breakdown of each of those games, click here (Day 1) and here (Day 2).

As for predictions, well, let's give it a shot …


Don't be surprised if …

… the Buckeyes win big. I was extremely impressed with Duke last week, but this game could get away from the Blue Devils if Jared Sullinger goes off and William Buford gets free. This game comes at a tough time for Duke, fresh off such an emotional week in Maui. (Katz)

… the Big Ten sweeps the entire slate of games. The Big Ten has home-court advantage in the marquee game and Illinois and Northwestern should be favored on the road. It is a tough task, but if Michigan shoots it well at UVa, the Big Ten could take them all. (Bilas)

… Illinois looks impressive at Maryland. Life is tough on the road, but the Terps are battling injuries and the Illini are a little more talented than most people think. (Brennan)

… Mason Plumlee outplays Jared Sullinger on his home turf. (Medcalf)

… Buckeyes sophomore guard Aaron Craft steals (har!) some of the spotlight from teammate Jared Sullinger and Duke's Austin Rivers. So far on the young season, Craft has recorded seven steals for every 100 defensive possessions he plays. (Gasaway)

… Michigan at Virginia is one of the most entertaining 55-possession games of the season. It's a matchup of the mad scientist of offense, John Beilein, and the guru of the Packline Defense, Tony Bennett. (Fraschilla)

… Robbie Hummel goes for big numbers against Miami. He's shooting a high percentage from the field and from 3, and Miami has no one that can match up with him. (Simon)

… Ohio State exploits a mismatch between William Buford and Andre Dawkins at the wing. Dawkins struggled in the past on defense, and there really isn't a better option to guard the talented Buford. (Gottlieb)


Don't be surprised if …

… the most competitive game of the week is in Raleigh. Indiana is playing well but so too are the Wolfpack. This could be a late-possession game between two improving teams. (Katz)

… Florida State suffers its third loss in a row. The Seminoles may be the third-best team in the ACC, but trying to get out of a slide in the Breslin Center is no easy task. Florida State is bigger and better defensively, but it needs to play its best game to win at MSU. (Bilas)

… Cody Zeller scores 20-plus for IU and his brother, Tyler, fails to crack double-digits for UNC. (Medcalf)

… UNC point guard Kendall Marshall's assists outnumber his points. The sophomore takes just 9 percent of the Heels' shots during his minutes but generates assists with machine-like regularity. (Gasaway)

… Jordan Taylor struggles against the quickness of UNC's backcourt. (Bardo)

… Michigan State rolls FSU. While the Seminoles and their smothering defense are no pushovers, Tom Izzo's team will find this one a tad easier than Duke and Carolina. (Fraschilla)

… you see North Carolina playing at a whole new level defensively after giving up 90 points to UNLV on Saturday. (Simon)

… Wisconsin pulls off the upset in Chapel Hill. The Badgers' defensive strategy is to force you to make shots over the top of them and limit your transition baskets, which is the exact style that can beat a talented UNC team. (Gottlieb)