Last year the Big Ten won the Big Ten/ACC challenge in what was truly a surprise. It took Wisconsin beating Duke last year to seal the win for the Big Ten and it was a big deal. It was the first time they had ever won the challenge before and the ACC wasn’t so happy about it.
This years challenge got hardly any press or publicity at all. It was really sad. The ACC is down as a conference with a lot of average teams playing against Duke and it showed. The BIG TEN won the challenge again and got good wins from Ohio St, Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin with the only major team losses by Minnesota and Michigan St. How down is the ACC? Wisconsin won their game by 40 points and Wisconsin is a 4th-5th place team in the conference this year. The only game that turned out like it shouldn’t was Minnesota losing to Virginia. Other than that Ohio St went to Florida St and won. Purdue went to Virginia Tech and won. Illinois beat Carolina easily at home also. Why wasn’t it covered so much?
I have my theory on it and it revolves around one simple thing…the ACC isn’t that good. When you looked at the games last year it was ranked teams versus ranked teams but this year you only had Duke and Michigan St playing as ranked teams. Carolina isn’t ranked, Georgia Tech is horrible, Clemson is horrible, Boston College, Virginia…the list goes on and on with average at best teams. The games simply weren’t as good because the teams weren’t as good. It would have been better having a big East big ten challenge where each conference has a number of ranked teams playing each other.
Is the ACC down? Yes, very much so. It is like the Pac 10 was last year with teams that will beat each other and cause a lot of losses and probably hurt each other from getting in the tournament. Duke legitimately has a shot at going undefeated throughout the season but definitely in conference play because of how down the league is in general.
The BIG TEN is legit and played very well. If Purdue still had Robbie Hummel they would be ranked in the top 5 with Ohio State and Michigan St. That’s a tough conference to be in and you can expect that the big ten has a shot to get 7 teams in the tourney coming up. Michigan St, Ohio St, Purdue, Illinois, Wisky, Northwestern and Michigan all have legit chances. The problems happen when these guys pound on each other during the regular season are truly hurt each other’s chances. It isn’t an easy league and I wish they would’ve received more press this year for the depth and quality of the conference as compared to how bad the ACC really is.