The matchups for the ACC / B1G Challenge were announced yesterday. The matchup that we all care about pits a rebuilding Purdue team against a rebuilding Clemson team. Purdue, coming off a 22-13 (10-8 B1G) season in which they lost a very close game in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament, must replace its top 2 scorers in Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson. Purdue's 4th best scorer, sharpshooter Ryne Smith is also gone.
Purdue is will be undergoing the same type of turnover that our Tigers will be facing next year without Andre Young and Tanner Smith. Unfortunately for Clemson, Purdue is rebuilding from a better place, as they've been a consistent tournament team, while the Tigers are coming off a postseason-less season.
With the game at LittleJohn, the Tigers will have an opportunity to pick up a resume building out of conference victory. I'm not sure at this point who will be favored, but I'd think it'd be close to a pick 'em. As we've stated numerous times, the hopeful development of veterans Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, along with the continued progression of sophomores-to-be KJ McDaniels and Devin Coleman is the key to this team.
Booker and Jennings need to have their heads on straight on show up on a consistent basis night in and night out. This team doesn't have the depth to pick them up when they don't feel like putting in the effort.
McDaniels and Coleman have shown flashes of being big time talents, but their roles and playing time were limited. How will they respond when they are called on to be the go to guys?
Here's the rest of schedule followed by my quick thoughts.
Tue, Nov 27
North Carolina at Indiana
NC State at Michigan
Minnesota at Florida State
Maryland at Northwestern
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Nebraska at Wake Forest
Wed, Nov 28
Ohio State at Duke
Virginia at Wisconsin
Michigan State at Miami
Purdue at Clemson
Georgia Tech at Illinois
Boston College at Penn State
UNC @ IU - UNC is still one of the most talented teams in the country, but they aren't knocking of IU on the road
NC State @ Michigan - Two top 10 teams on the uptick. I'll stick with the home team here.
Minnesota @ FSU - NIT runner-up Minnesota basically returns their entire team. But I think this FSU team will surprise people next year.
Maryland @ Northwestern - Young team against a well-disciplined offense. I'll take Northwestern.
Iowa @ Virginia Tech - VT has been on a rollercoaster ride with coaching/player turnover. I'll still take them at home over Iowa though.
Nebraska @ Wake Forest - I have a home team theme going and I'm not breaking it here.
Ohio State @ Duke - Duke will have revenge on their minds after last years blowout loss to OSU. They should get it at home.
Virginia @ Wisconsin - Talk about watching paint dry. This should be a 46-40 type game, in favor of Wisconsin.
Michigan State @ Miami - I'll take the road team for the first time. Miami is better than most people think, but it's essentially a neutral court game, as Miami's (lack of) fan support provides no home court advantage.
PURDUE @ CLEMSON - Purdue is very well coached and should not be overlooked even with their losses. But the Littlejohn should be rocking and I think that'll be enough to get Clemson the victory.
Georgia Tech @ Illinois - Georgia Tech is bringing in better talent, but they still have a long ways to go. Illinois.
BC @ PSU - I expect this to be the 9:30 ESPNU game that nobody watches. PSU beat them last year in Boston and I think history will repeat itself.
By only taking one road team (Michigan State), the tally comes out to 7-5 in favor of the B1G. This result seems fair to me since the B1G is expected to be the best conference in the country next year and the ACC is still trying to pick itself up with all the coaching turnover over the past few seasons.
What do you all think? Are there any games that you think the ACC can steal in order to get back into the win column in the challenge next year?