Now in it's 17th year, the Big Ten/ACC Challenge is still the premier inter-conference event of college basketball's non-conference season. The Big Ten retained the championship belt last season with an 8-6 victory in its first year showcasing the league's expanded roster.
This year's event goes up against Monday Night Football, so we only have two middling matchups to get things rolling (oddly enough, Indiana hosts Alcorn State outside of the Challenge two days before going to Duke...oof). The good guys have the luxury of hosting both. Who ya got?
6 pm CT
Wake Forest (4-2) @ Rutgers (3-3)
Line: RUTG +6
It's year two of the Danny Manning regime. That has translated into some excitement on the recruiting trail, but can the Demon Deacons improve on the court? Prized freshman Doral Moore is playing sparingly, but fellow frosh standout Bryant Crawford is back at point guard for this game. Big senior Devin Thomas is holds down the fort inside, helping Wake to wins over Indiana and UCLA already this season.
Rutgers already got blown out by Clemson on a neutral floor, so the Scarlet Knights are hoping to catch a break at home against their next ACC foe. Unfortunately Rutgers is dreadful offensively, as it lost both core scorers from last season.
Pick: Wake Forest
8 pm CT
Clemson (4-1) @ Minnesota (4-2)
Line: MINN -1.5
Junior forward Jaron Blossomgame is off to a great start this season leading the Clemson attack, but the Tigers are fairly balanced. With its size, Clemson may be able to give Minnesota fits trying to score, even on its home court. The Tigers would prefer to grind this one out at a snail's pace.
Minnesota's Joey King has raised his game as a senior, scoring 17.2 points per game, but the Golden Gophers are thin inside. Bakary Konate is inconsistent, forcing Richard Pitino to rely on undersized freshman Jordan Murphy off the bench at times.