Penn State 69, Virginia 66
North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82
Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58
Northwestern 65, North Carolina State 53
Maryland 80, Indiana 68
Virginia Tech 70, Iowa 64
Wisconsin 73, Duke 69
Ohio State 77, Florida State 64
Illinois 76, Clemson 74
Boston College 62, Michigan 58
Miami (FL) 63, Minnesota 58
The Biggest Win
Wisconsin's win over Duke
Not only did this game give us the first quality court rush of the year, it was ginormous for the reputation of the Big Ten and (most importantly) huge for the Badgers' OOC resume. Wisconsin now has wins over two of the best teams in the ACC (Duke and Maryland) and one over a potential tournament team from the Pac-10 (Arizona) in the last two weeks. With apologies to Syracuse, that might be the best OOC resume in the country. Not bad for a team that most people (ourselves included) didn't have in their preseason brackets.
The Worst Loss
Clemson's loss to Illinois
The Tigers inexplicably blew a 23-point second-half lead at home to the Illini, whose furious comeback was the biggest in school history. The loss definitely takes a little luster off Clemson's big win over Butler last weekend, and makes Sunday's game against South Carolina that much bigger in terms of their OOC resume. On the other side, the win saved Illinois coach Bruce Weber from what would have been a pretty rough post-game news conference. The Illini couldn't afford a third straight defeat, after suffering two bad losses last week to Utah (a game they led by 16 at the half) and Bradley.
What We Learned About The ACC
1. North Carolina is good (and can play a little defense)
Big Ten fans would argue that the Tar Heels should have won at home against Michigan State, but anyone who watched the game had to walk away impressed with the young talent and overall depth that Roy Williams has assembled in Chapel Hill. Ed Davis and Larry Drew II each had career highs with 22 and 18 points, respectively, and the Tar Heels held Michigan State to 2-for-20 shooting from three. Both Drew and Marcus Ginyard were great with the ball, combining for 13 assists and answering the lingering "Do the Heels have any good point guards?" question with a convincing "yes."
2. Miami may actually be legit
Despite winning the Charleston Classic, Miami still hasn't been getting a lot of national love because their path to the title went through Tulane, UNC-Wilmington, and South Carolina. The 'Canes win over Minnesota Wednesday night, though, might go a long way in changing that perception. They are now the only unbeaten ACC team, and if they can win at BC on Sunday (conference play already?) there is a very, very good chance that they go 15-0 to start the season. Their NCAA tourney hopes will still depend on whether then can finish better than .500 in conference, but Miami fans couldn't have hoped for a better start.
3. The ACC is still a really good league
All the talk over the next couple of days will be about the "arrival" of the Big Ten, but the ACC is still a top-three league that is going to get a boatload of bids in March. There are 10 ACC teams that have legitimate NCAA tourney hopes at this point in the season (sorry Virginia and N.C. State) and a lot of the ACC teams on the bubble to start the year (BC, Miami, Florida State) have all picked up big OOC wins in the early-going. Give the Big Ten credit - they won their first Challenge - but don't cry for the ACC. They were just a Clemson collapse away from a 6-5 victory.
What We Learned About The Big Ten
1. Michigan and Minnesota are overrated
Both teams have now lost three in a row following Michigan's bad home loss to BC and Minnesota's loss at Miami. Minnesota's loss capped a day to forget for the Gophers - freshman Royce White pled guilty Wednesday afternoon to charges of disorderly conduct and shoplifting. Against the Hurricanes, Minnesota blew a five point lead at the half and committed three bad turnovers late in the game to help Miami pull away. Michigan, meanwhile, had an awful first half and made just 9 of 34 threes for the game in a four-point loss.
2. Northwestern is alive and well
Like many people, we left Northwestern for dead once leading scorer Kevin Coble was lost for the season, but they picked up a nice road win over N.C. State Wednesday night to add to their respectable OOC resume. The N.C. State win, coupled with a victory over Notre Dame, should go a long way in helping the Wildcats' NCAA chances come March.
3. The Big Ten may be deeper 1 through 5 than the ACC
Yes, it's just three days of games, but it's impossible to not be impressed with the Big Ten, and specifically with what the second-tier Big Ten teams were able to do in the Challenge. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio State all won their games, and Northwestern and Penn State picked up quality road wins as well. Michigan losing at home to BC hurt, but other than that, the Big Ten really had no bad losses in the Challenge.