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2015 Big Ten/ACC Challenge: Day 3 Open Thread

Are we headed for another tie in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge? Wisconsin and five other Big Ten squads will do their best to avoid that Wednesday night as the event concludes.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The pendulum has swung a bit in the build up to the final night of competition, as Wednesday evening's first tip pits two ranked teams in Louisville and white-hot Michigan State. Two of the top four winningest active coaches (Bo Ryan and Jim Boeheim) also square off in an early game.

However, the ACC is favored in four games tonight, so a tie in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge tally looks like the best case scenario for the Big Ten after the two conferences split the W's on Tuesday night. It could come down to the late games after all, with the Notre Dame-Illinois tilt up in the air and Iowa needing to hold serve.

Yesterday's picks5-1 straight up

This was avoidable. Even after writing how John Beilein was better than Mark Gottfried, I typed out N.C. State as my winner. Then I read up on how awesome Duncan Robinson is and still forgot to switch back to Michigan. Going full chalk would have been better.

6:15 pm CT

No. 24 Louisville (5-0) @ No. 3 Michigan State (7-0)

Line: MSU -5.5

Welcome to Transfer Central. Former Drexel guard Damion Lee and ex-Cleveland State Trey Lewis lead an explosive backcourt for Rick Pitino, who is looking for his first signature win of the season on Louisville's first road trip. The defensive numbers are strong as always, anchored by senior Mangok Mathiang and Chinanu Onuaku, but maybe that's because the Cardinals haven't played anyone yet.

Denzel Valentine has been the best player in the country through the first month, notching two triple-doubles already, which has the Spartans riding high. Tom Izzo has gotten a big lift from the return of swingman Javon Bess this season and the addition of classic Spartan dawg Deyonta Davis inside. Matt Costello has also played well to make up for the loss of Gavin Schilling. Izzo is 2-1 lifetime against Pitino, but this is their first regular season meeting.

Pick: Michigan State

Wisconsin (4-3) @ No. 14 Syracuse (6-0)

TV: espn2
Line: SYR -4.5

The line has nudged a little in UW's favor in the last day and I think everyone agrees that if the Badgers get hot form outside, they can shoot down Syracuse. But will they?

Q&A Preview with TNIAAM

Pick: Syracuse

Penn State (3-2) @ Boston College (3-3)

Line: BC -1

This is the third meeting between Penn State and Boston College in the Challenge and it's close to a perfect pairing. You probably ignored the PSU hype in the offseason, which proved wise when Geno Thorpe transferred and freshman Mike Watkins was not cleared to play. Despite a number of few veterans to build around, like Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner, the Nittany Lions are still offensively challenged on most occasions.

I ignored Big Ten/ACC Challenge history in the other previews, but somehow Boston College has only lost twice in this event -- a minor miracle. Jim Christian is in his second season in charge and is trying to recover from losing seven seniors (!) and early entry Olivier Hanlan off a 13-19 team. Addition by subtraction? Doubtful. Seven-footer Dennis Clifford leads BC in shooting percentage at a mere 47% clip and the Eagles have lost three straight to all levels of competition.

Pick: Penn State

8:15 pm CT

Indiana (5-2) @ No. 7 Duke (6-1)

Line: DUKE -10

The sky is falling in Bloomington after an uninspired 1-2 run in the Maui Classic last week. Once again, turnovers are a huge issue for Tom Crean's Hoosiers and the defense doesn't look that much better even with a dependable big man (Thomas Bryant) finally inserted. Senior point guard Yogi Ferrell seems to be doing all the right things; James Blackmon, Robert Johnson and Nick Zeisloft are raining threes. But it just isn't translating into great results.

Coach K has brought in another stellar freshman class, yet this team goes as sophomore Grayson Allen goes. Allen continues to develop into a devastating weapon, already posting games of 26, 28, 30 and 32 points. Senior Amile Jefferson is doing the little things for the Blue Devils while Duke figures out the point guard situation with early enrollee Derryck Thornton.

Pick: Duke

Notre Dame (4-2) @ Illinois (3-4)

TV: espn2
Line: ILL +2.5

Why is Notre Dame even in this thing? Instead, perennial loser Georgia Tech got the boot this year since the ACC has 15 teams. The Fighting Irish lost a couple key pieces from last spring's great tournament run, but still have a solid nucleus in tact with Zach Auguste, Demetrius Jackson, and VJ Beachem leading Mike Brey's offense.

Yet another season-ending injury -- this time to 6-11 transfer Mike Thorne -- has the Illini scrambling. At least Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black and now Kendrick Nunn have all recovered, so it could be worse. Illinois has just one scholarship senior playing and that player, Khalid Lewis, is a first-year transfer. This will not be a defensive battle, that much I know.

Pick: Notre Dame

Florida State (4-1) @ Iowa (4-2)

Line: IOWA -5

Another amazing Challenge streak: Florida State has lost SEVEN IN A ROW! And the Seminoles are back on the road, where FSU is 2-6 all-time in this event. Sophomore guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes can catch fire in a hurry, but hasn't shot well in the non-conference yet. Luckily the freshman wings have picked up the slack for him. You know head coach Leonard Hamilton always has some big guys in the middle. Giant Boris Bojanovsky (7-3) is no exception.

Iowa has played quite a bit slower the past two seasons than you'd expect, but they could potentially be baited into running with the faster Seminoles here. It would be a mistake in my opinion. It would lessen the odds of an Adam Woodbury eye poke after all. Jarrod Uthoff has turned into a versatile lead dog, but the Hawkeyes better hope their jumpers are falling because this team cannot get to the line.

Pick: Iowa