Six games into the 2011-2012 ACC/Big 10 Challenge, the ACC has gotten off to a very poor start. In fact, only two of the six games were won by ACC teams.
The most important game of the night was between #2 Ohio State and #3 Duke. Ohio State jumped out to a 9-0 lead, and widened the score to 47-28 at the half. The final result was a romp over the visiting Blue Devils, 85-63. Four Ohio State players combined for 76 of those points, led by Jared Sullinger’s 21 points. For Duke, this loss takes away the momentum from the great run in Maui. In its first true road game of the year, Duke was utterly outplayed.
Virginia did salvage some respect for the ACC by defeating #14 Michigan at home, 70-58. This legitimizes Virginia’s 6-1 start by adding that first quality win to the resume. Things are looking up in Charlottesville.
Miami hoped to add a similar notch in its belt by traveling to Purdue. However, the Boilermakers were just too much for the Hurricanes, winning 76-65. Miami fell to 4-2 on the season.
But not all home teams fared well. Northwestern improved to 6-0 by defeating host Georgia Tech. In fact, Northwestern dominated to the tune of a 76-60 score. This may be the year for Northwestern to finally make it to the Big Dance. For Georgia Tech, they drop to 4-3.
Illinois also notched a win over Maryland in College Park. The Illini improved to 7-0 in the 71-62 victory. Maryland is now a disappointing 3-3 as the post-Gary Williams era is off to a slow start.
Thankfully, Clemson was able to topple Iowa in the ACC’s sole road victory. In fact, Clemson jumped to a 34-20 halftime lead and then coasted to a 71-55 record. With the win, Clemson is now 4-2. This was a much-needed win to help offset the two disappointing losses to College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina.
The day belonged to the Big 10 though. Tomorrow’s big matchup, of course, is #9 Wisconsin at #5 North Carolina. The Tar Heels look to rebound from their upset loss to UNLV. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is one of five Big 10 teams that is still unbeaten. Florida State and Michigan State is another matchup to keep an eye on, even though both teams have started a bit slow due to tough schedules.