Michigan State is the only Big Ten team in the history of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge to have a winning record—and two of those wins came against North Carolina. On the other hand, that Tar Heels have beaten State three times in the NCAA tournament during the last decade. The running theme of tonight's contest is that both teams hope to meet again on Ford Field at the Final Four in March, which is odd when you consider that the Spartans are ranked #12 in the nation and yet somehow are completely overmatched.
Good news! Tyler Hansbrough will play, despite a sore ankle, which when combined with the absence of Goran Suton and a less than healthy Delvon Roe, means that MSU is in trouble. So why watch this one at all? Well, it's a "where do we stand" test for State (who will get better as the season goes on) and we'll get a good look at the presumptive champs going to work against a semi-hostile crowd in primetime.
Plus, no matter what, it will be the most competitive game to take place in this arena this fall. See you at tip-off.
Post-Game Thoughts: Well ... this has been a disaster on every possible level. Even Northwestern has more to be proud of tonight than I do. You win, Sussman. Next time, I'll shut my mouth and know my role. See you in the morning.
11:23 — That's a wrap folks. UNC 98, MSU 63. No free tacos tonight.
11:21 — Can the scrubs get to a 40-point lead? I hear Carolina's third string won the D-II championship last year!
11:15 — What have we learned about North Carolina? They are good. Michigan State is far from a Top 10 team, but they're losing by 34. (And it could be worse.) They're balanced and quick and Hansbrough really is tough to stop. They're even better than I imagined.
Final TV Timeout Plaxico Burress Fun Fact: Possession of an unregistered firearm in New York City is a Class C felony. That makes Burress a Grade A Moron.
11:13 — What have we learned about Michigan State? Not much. They're too young and too sloppy and can't bang inside with anyone that has any size. Or they're missing their best forward and by early February they'll be running the Big Ten. It could go either way.
11:07 — Who is the Tim Tebow guy they're talking about? Dick really knows his sports!
11:03 — Cancer = bad. Got it.
11:00 — Twelve hours from Des Moines to see this game? Some people will do anything get out of Iowa.
TV Timeout Plaxico Burress Fun Fact: Burress scored the game winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII. Super Bowl XL was held at Ford Field.
10:52 — Tyler really is spastic, isn't he? He really does never stop moving—which is a talent in it's own weird way, I guess. And State falls for a high school in-bounds play. Awesome.
10:50 — Vitale goes out on a limb ... he likes Gonzaga.
10:46 — All right, I'll say it ... North Carolina could go undefeated. I know they have to play Duke twice, but man, they look good. They're deep, they play defense, and Hansbrough is legitimately crazy. It could happen.
10:40 — Ok, WTF? You jokers won't stop talking about Victoria's Secret, so I quickly flip over and all I see is ... USHER? I hate you all.
10:35 — Danny Green will own you. Even Dickie V. is bored. That was a pretty half-hearted "scintillating." But he did point out that if you can dominate the wings, the perimeter and the inside, you might win the game. Why didn't you try that, Spartans?!
10:29 — Hansbrough nearly has a double-double. The lead is 22. It's like a nightmare, isn't it? It just keeps getting worse and worse.
10:27 — BLUE COLLAR! JOE DUMARS! BARRY SANDERS! It's going to be a long second half.
10:26 — It's all about half time adjustments right? For example, I am now pounding my head against a wall, instead of the palm of my hand.
HALF TIME: UNC 53 MSU 39
Halftime Plaxico Burress Fun Fact: Burress was drafted eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2000 NFL Draft. The United States is the No. 3 exporter of steel in the world.
10:07 — State kind of let the last couple minutes get away from them there and they trail by 14 at the half. Carolina looks very sharp. They like run, but not wildly and love to swarm on D. THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY ARE!
10:06: Home of the pussy cats? Did Jay Leno just text that to you, Coach?
10:04 — Classic Tyler! Three shots and three rebounds on one possession. But he failed to get the three-point play that would have torn Dickie V's throat open.
10:02 — Sean almost raised an interesting point. How long will this season be for UNC fans? Sitting around for months, waiting for the ACC tourney, then the Big Dance, and just praying they don't slip up. I don't envy that. (Yes, I do.)
10:00 — Do you get the sense that Carolina is just toying with them? State has shown flashes of brilliance, but then Big Brother just adds five or six points to the lead. I'd hate to see them really try.
9:56 — Everyone knows that LeBron stole the powder thing from Jordan right? I'm mean throwing it up in the air doesn't change that.
9:54 — Look at that crowd! How stupid was it for State to give up a home game for this? They might as well be playing at SUNY Geneseo.
9:53 — Teams are trading jumpers now. And actually making them! My vote is for no defense.
9:49 — 31-25 UNC leads with 7:00 left in the 1st.
TV Timeout Plaxico Burress Fun Fact: Burress holds Michigan State's school records for both yards and completions in a single game. But not the same game... Spooky, right?
9:46 — Holy crap. Could Draymond Green's jersey be any tighter? Is his weight loss program shame-based?
9:43 — Spartans have been really sloppy, but only trail by five. The Heels defense seems everywhere, but they aren't shooting that well and P.T. has been quiet. Too quiet.
9:41 — Is the raised court really necessary? It's 2008 and we can't put a normal court in a giant football stadium?
9:39 — Are there really only two comments? Is everyone stuck in traffic?
9:35 — Ohhhhhh ... FACED! How does it feel Lawson? (What's that? Still losing? Ok, that's enough.)
9:34 — Maryland beats Michigan, but Penn State takes down Georgia Tech. 5-4 ACC. Now it's all up to ... Northwestern? Sigh.
9:32 — Over/Under on "bald guy" jokes from the announcing team: 217
9:30 — Another State turn over and they didn't get really back. Now they're pressing. There are Heels everywhere!
9:26 — 11-6 Heels lead. Time out. News flash: Basketball is hard to blog, because there's too much going on. Do you prefer blow-by-blow or just less frequent, but actually articulated updates?
9:26 — MSU's weakness revealed. They can't hold on to the ball, and every loose one turns into a fast break. They will be spent by halftime.
9:23 — Nice alley oop, jerk. Do you need some help getting the ball all the way in? (Tied at 4)
9:20 — P.T. (Psycho T) starts it off with a jumper. Raymar Morgan answers with a dunk. Intensity!
9:19 — Where are the people? There must be 30,000 empty seats. They know it's not a Lions game right?
9:18 — Over/Under on the number of times Dick Vitale mentions Coach K: 18
9:17 — Still waiting for the tip. Wake Forest adds another win in the ACC column, giving them a 4-3 lead at the moment.
Pre-game Plaxico Burress Fun Fact: Before enrolling at Michigan State, Burress spent a post-high school year at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia, where he scored 12 touchdowns on 33 receptions.