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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Projecting Tuesday’s six Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchups

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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The Big Ten will look for its third straight Challenge victory over the ACC when this year's two-day event begins Tuesday night. Here's a look at my predictions for Tuesday's games, highlighted by fourth-ranked Duke's visit to Columbus to face No. 2 Ohio State.

Michigan at Virginia (7 p.m. ET): Although Virginia's packed-in defense prevents transition opportunities or buckets in the paint, the Cavs are susceptible against a team that moves the ball well and sinks perimeter jumpers. That sounds a lot like John Beilein-coached Michigan, which has an array of shooters capable of knocking down threes if they aren't too fatigued from three games in three days in Maui last week. Virginia needs this win more because of its weak non-league schedule, but it's a very difficult matchup.  Predicted winner: Michigan

Northwestern (5-0) at Georgia Tech (4-2) (7:15 p.m. ET): In the 2010 Big Ten-ACC Challenge, Northestern clobbered Georgia Tech 91-71 by shooting 64.6 percent from the field and sinking 12 of 19 threes. The Wildcats looked impressive in winning three close games at the Charleston Classic last week, but the Yellowjackets may provide a stiffer test this season if only because their defense under new coach Brian Gregory is vastly improved. Predicted winner: Northwestern

Illinois (6-0) at Maryland (3-2) (7:30 p.m. ET): With Jordan Williams in the NBA, starting guard Pe'Shon Howard injured and freshman center Alex Len still ineligible, Maryland has not been competitive in losses to Alabama and Iona. A quality team should be able to defeat the short-handed Terrapins even on the road, but it's hard to gauge just how good Illinois is. The revamped Illini boast veteran guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson and vastly improved center Meyers Leonard, but they've yet to beat anyone of consequence. Predicted winner: Illinois

Miami (4-1) at Purdue (6-1), (9 p.m. ET): Because Miami lost center Reggie Johnson to a knee injury, the Hurricanes lack an interior complement to guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott. As a result, it's difficult to see them ending Purdue's 21-game home win streak, especially with Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith playing so well. Predicted winner: Purdue

Clemson (3-2) at Iowa (4-2) (9:15 p.m. ET): This difficult-to-watch matchup pits two teams in need of victories. Clemson has already dropped home games to College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina, while Iowa fell to Campbell and Creighton by double figures. The combination of Clemson's stingy defense and the trio of Andre Young, Milton Jennings, and Devin Booker might be too much for the rebuilding Hawkeyes. Predicted winner: Clemson

Duke (7-0) at Ohio State (6-0) (9:30 p.m. ET): The Blue Devils are off to a 7-0 start in large part because of their accuracy from three-point range and their ability to get to the free throw line consistently. Can they keep that up in a true road game against one of the nation's best perimeter defenses? That question will likely determine which of these top five teams leaves Columbus with its first loss. Predicted winner: Ohio State

Duke at Ohio State, 9:30 p.m. ET
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