The ACC-Big Ten Challenge is all knotted at 3 games a piece going into the final quartet of games. Here's a look back at the first 6 games of the Challenge.
Penn State 69, Virginia 66. (Big Ten leads 1-0)
The Cavaliers squandered a 6-point lead at half, falling to Penn State at John Paul Jones Arena in the opening game of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Penn State's Talol Battle scored 32 points in the 69-66 victory. Penn State became the first Big Ten team to win three consecutive ACC-Big Ten challenge games (isn't that sad?). The Nittany Lions defeated Virginia Tech in 2007 and Georgia Tech last season. UVA quickly falls to 4-3 on the year with losses to South Florida, Stanford and Penn State.
Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58. (Big Ten leads 2-0)
The Deacons took a 2-point lead into halftime and extended it to 6 points early in the second half before the Boilermakers went on a 12-0 run to put this game out of reach. For Wake Forest, Ishmael Smith and C.J. Harris each led the way with 14 points. A valiant effort by the Deacons against the 6th ranked team in the country, but this one could have gotten out of hand early as the Boilermakers went a paultry 1-for-15 from beyond the arc. Wake Forest (4-2) has now lost back-to-back games to William & Mary and Purdue and next travels to Washington to face a 5-1 Gonzaga team.
Northwestern 65, NC State 53. (Big Ten leads 3-0)
Northwestern shot a blistering 57.7 percent in the first half and led by 10 at half. The Wildcats were able to hold off a late second half rally by the Wolfpack and won 65-53. NU's Michael Thompson scored 22 points in the victory. The difference in this one was 3-point shooting. The 'Cats hit on 6-of-14 3-point attempts while NC State only managed to hit 2 of 18. With the win, Northwestern moves to 6-1 as they try to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. NC State falls to 5-1 and travels to Milwaukee this Saturday to take on a good Marquette team.
Maryland 80, Indiana 68 (Big Ten leads 3-1)
Greivis Vasquez scored 23 points to lead the Terps to a 80-68 road victory over Indiana. Maryland led by 2 points at half behind 5-of-8 shooting from 3 point range. Free-throw shooting was the difference in this game as the Terps outscored the Hoosiers 23-15 from the line. Maryland is 5-2 and next plays 4th ranked Villanova in DC on Sunday.
North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82 (Big Ten leads 3-2)
The Tar Heels took a 14 point lead into halftime and managed to hold off the Spartans with a 89-82 victory. The Spartans shot a poor 2-for-20 from 3. Ed Davis led the way for the Heels with 22 points. North Carolina finished the game shooting 57.9 percent from the field. The Heels are off to a 7-1 start with their lone loss coming to Syracuse in the 2K Sports Championship at MSG. UNC next travels to Rupp Arena Saturday to take on Kentucky.
Virginia Tech 70, Iowa 64 (Challenge tied 3-3)
Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney scored 18 points to help the Hokies defeat the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road, 70-64. The Hokies led by 6 at half and their defense did just enough in the second half to preserve the win. Iowa shot 12-for-27 from 3 point range. Virginia Tech managed to outrebound Iowa 34-27 and 12-6 on the offensive glass. Virginia Tech is 5-1 and off to its best start since the 2005-2006 season.
On tap tonight, the ACC looks to win its 11 straight ACC-Big Ten Challenge with five contests remaining. The ACC is favored in 3 of those 5 contests: Illinois at Clemson (-5), Minnesota at Miami (Fla.) (-2.5), and Duke (-4) at Wisconsin. The Eagles are 5 point road dogs and the Seminoles are 6.5 point dogs at Ohio State.