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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Whose stock rose and fell on the first day of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Trey Burke (US Presswire)

Day 1 of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge included impressive wins by Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Maryland. For more on the Hoosiers' rout of North Carolina, click here. Below is a look at who else's stock went up or went down:

Stock up: NC State's resolve

Even though NC State lost 79-72 at Michigan on Tuesday night, Wolfpack fans should come away more encouraged than disappointed by this effort. Unlike the 76-56 loss to Oklahoma State when NC State folded as soon as its deficit reached double figures, the Wolfpack showed toughness and mettle against the Wolverines. They rallied to trim a 15-point deficit with less than six minutes to go to five behind increased defensive pressure and the scoring of C.J. Leslie and T.J. Warren. A questionable offensive foul on Leslie thwarted the comeback and helped Michigan survive, but NC State acquitted itself well.

Stock down: Florida State's defense

For the past few years, Florida State could survive on off shooting night because its defense was so stingy. So far this season, that hasn't been the case. The Seminoles were seventh in the ACC in field goal percentage defense and eighth in points per possession allowed entering Tuesday's 77-68 home loss to Minnesota, and those figures did not improve. The Gophers got open looks at the rim, on the perimeter and via the offensive glass, shooting 47.3 percent for the game. Why the slippage defensively? Two reasons. Florida State's young guards aren't quite as disciplined defensively as last year's group and the Seminoles lack a rim protector of Bernard James' caliber.

Stock up: Virginia Tech as an ACC sleeper

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech after Seth Greenberg was fired, promising sophomore-to-be Dorian Finney-Smith transferred and top recruit Montrezl Harrell sought his release. Instead the Hokies are quietly off to a 6-0 start after Tuesday's 95-79 rout of visiting Iowa. Granted Virginia Tech has only left home once and it hasn't defeated a single NCAA tournament team from last year, but there are signs the Hokies' quick start isn't a mirage. Erick Green has solidified himself as one of the nation's most underrated guards, and Robert Brown and Jarrell Eddie have the look of consistent complementary threats.

Stock down: Iowa as a Big Ten sleeper

Iowa won its first five games against suspect competition, but the Hawkeyes have been exposed in the past week. First Wichita State held Iowa to 26.1 percent shooting in a 75-63 Shockers win. Then Virginia Tech ran the Hawkeyes off the floor Tuesday night in a 95-79 rout, an alarming game for Iowa that suggested last year's defensive woes may still pop up against top competition. Neither of these two losses are disastrous for the Hawkeyes, but they aren't good omens either. Iowa needs to post a quality non-league win or two to take pressure off itself once conference play begins in what should be a loaded Big Ten.

Stock up: Trey Burke

In a matchup between two point guards with NBA aspirations Tuesday in Ann Arbor, there's no doubt who fared better. Michigan's Trey Burke outplayed NC State's Lorenzo Brown and everyone else on the floor, delivering 18 points, 11 assists and zero turnovers in the Wolverines' 79-72 win. In the first half, Burke was content to set up teammates Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas with open looks. In the second half, Burke hunted for his own shot, sinking a trio of 3-pointers and getting to the rim at will.

Stock down: Jeff Bzdelik

Whatever chance Jeff Bzdelik had of winning over disgruntled Wake Forest fans probably depended on the Demon Deacons making significant progress in the coach's third year in Winston Salem. As a result, it's probably not a good sign for Bzdelik that Wake Forest is 3-3 with blowout losses to Nebraska and Iona and narrow wins over Mercer and William & Mary. Tuesday's 79-63 loss to the Huskers was especially demoralizing since it came on the Demon Deacons' home floor against a team likely to finish in the bottom three in the Big Ten this season. Ray Gallegos scored 17 of his career-high 20 points after halftime to help Nebraska blow the game open.

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