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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Projecting Wednesday’s six Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchups

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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The Big Ten took a 4-2 lead on Tuesday night in its quest for a third straight Challenge victory over the ACC. Here's a look at my predictions for Wednesday night's games, highlighted by Wisconsin's visit to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina.

Indiana (6-0) at North Carolina State (5-1), 7:15 p.m. ET: If Indiana can win at NC State, it will go a long way toward validating the Hoosiers as an NCAA tournament team. The addition of freshman center Cody Zeller and the improvement of wings Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey has helped Indiana win its first six games, but this will be the Hoosiers' first true road test of the season. NC State hung with Vanderbilt until the final buzzer and upset Texas at the Legends Classic. Predicted winner: Indiana

Penn State (5-2) at Boston College (2-4), 7:15 p.m. ET: The most unappealing game of the challenge pits two rebuilding teams against one-another. Boston College, which starts three freshmen and a transfer, has lost by double figures to Holy Cross, New Mexico, UMass and Saint Louis. Penn State hasn't been too much better, but it at least boasts wins over South Florida and Long Island University and a legitimate go-to scorer in Tim Frazier. Predicted winner: Penn State

Florida State (5-2) at Michigan State (4-2), 7:30 p.m. ET: Despite the loss of ACC defensive player of the year Chris Singleton, Florida State remains an elite defensive team, ranking in the top 10 nationally in blocked shots, three-point defense and opposing field goal percentage. The question will be whether Michael Snaer, Bernard James and Deividas Dulkys can score efficiently enough against Michigan State to snap a two-game losing streak at the Breslin Center. The Spartans are formidable on defense and on the glass, but they're shooting 42.3 percent overall and 23.8 percent from three-point range. Predicted winner: Michigan State

Virginia Tech (5-1) at Minnesota (6-1), 9:15 p.m. ET: Two days after learning that it has lost leading scorer and rebounder Trevor Mbakwe to a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee, Minnesota has the misfortune of hosting Virginia Tech. To make up for the loss of Mbakwe, the Gophers will need more scoring from Ralph Sampson III, consistent rebounding from 6-foot-7 Rodney Williams and better guard play as a whole. Maybe it happens eventually, but that's a lot to ask this quickly. Predicted winner: Virginia Tech

Wake Forest (4-2) at Nebraska (4-1), 9:15 p.m. ET: Although the scoring of Travis McKie and C.J. Harris has helped the Demon Deacons improve after last year's 24-loss debacle, a road win at Nebraska may be too much to ask. The Huskers are off to a better-than-usual start thanks to solid defense, efficient three-point shooting and the scoring of guard Bo Spencer. Predicted winner: Nebraska

Wisconsin (6-0) at North Carolina (5-1), 9:30 p.m. ET: The point guard matchup will probably get most of the attention, but the reality is that it will probably be Dexter Strickland and not Kendall Marshall who guards Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor. What probably determines the outcome will be who controls the tempo, how well North Carolina keeps Wisconsin off the glass and whether Harrison Barnes' sprained ankle limits him at all. Predicted winner: North Carolina

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