We are halfway through the 10th Big Ten-ACC Challenge—a made-for-TV showcase that the Big Ten has never won—and the northern aggressors have actually managed to win a few of the contests. It's a tie! Considering that the two previous years the Big Ten entered the final day needing a sweep just to salvage a moral victory, this is outstanding news. But can they really pull this thing off?
Uh ... no. To get this far, Wisconsin had to steal a victory from Virigina Tech, Ohio State had to get Miami's best player ejected, and Minnesota had to resurrect to ghost of Ralph Sampson to stop Virginia. Meanwhile, Iowa sent a 21% free-throw shooter to the line to try and tie Boston College with 0.4 left on the clock (you can imagine how that turned out) and the conference favorite got manhandled at home by Duke. And looking at tonight's slate ... ooh, boy. That does not look promising.
Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State? Those seem like convincing Ls, don't they?. I don't think Tom Crean has fixed everything at Indiana yet, so they probably aren't beating Wake Forest on the road. And Michigan State would have to be at full strength to even challenge North Carolina. (They aren't.) Perhaps Tyler Hansbrough will trip over his own determination and sit this one out too.
So will 10-for-10 finally make the powers that be pull the plug on this experiment? I hope not, because the Big Ten rules! They are so awesome ... except that one week in November when nothing seems to go right.
Big Ten/ACC Scoreboard [Yahoo]
Duke sends big-picture message with its Boiler beatdown [ESPN]
The Referees Just Cannot Help Themselves When Ohio State and Miami Get Together [Amphibious Sports Duo]
(1) North Carolina (7-0) at (13) Michigan State (4-1) Preview [AP/Yahoo]
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P.S. Now that I've completely sold you on this concept, won't you come back tonight for a MSU/UNC live blog? I distracted Sussman with a plate of Oreos and then hit him over the head with a pipe wrench in order to take his spot, because a game like this requires a steady, unbaised hand. Tip-off at 9:15 Eastern.