Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ACC/Big 10 Challenge Running Bank Shots

By Jared Trexler

Tuesday's Schedule:

(23) Maryland at Illinois 7 p.m. (Phanatic prediction: Illinois 76, Maryland 66)

Florida State at (12) Wisconsion 7:30 p.m. (Phanatic prediction: Florida State 72, Wisconsin 67)

Penn State at (21) Georgia Tech 8:00 p.m. (Phanatic prediction: Georgia Tech 83, PSU 64)

Indiana at (11) Duke 9:00 p.m. (Phanatic prediction: Duke 76, Indiana 62)

Miami-FL at Northwestern 9:30 p.m. (Phanatic prediction: Miami-FL 62, Northwestern 60)

The wonders of the Direct TV war room. The Phanatic will keep you up-to-date on the ACC/Big 10 Challenge on Tuesday night with live blogs during finger exercising (aka channel surfing). The ACC won the first game of the series on Monday night, as North Carolina State went into Ann Arbor and downed Michigan, 74-67.

Check in throughout the night as we dissect impact players, rolling game management, score updates, and discuss Dukie V and the rest of the ESPN hoops coverage team.

7:15 p.m.: Illinois cold from the floor. Mike Jones can shoot (as I type that he just hits a three). Terps looking good early surrounded by a sea of orange. Big Brent is on the call for ESPN.

7:21 p.m.:Mike Jones can flat out shoot. He is draining mid-range jumpers, pull-ups off the break. Couple that with the athleticism of Jared Gist and D.J. Strawberry and you have a much better team then many prognosticators theorized before the season began. Terps have made 9-of-15 to start the game and lead 20-8.
7:26 p.m.: Game about to tip off in Madison on the Deuce. Illini 0-of-7 from beyond the arc and trail 24-10. Nits and Jackets tip in Atlanta at 8. And is it just me, but does Steve Lavin try too hard to be like Dick Vitale with all of his silly one liners.
7:51 p.m.: What is up with Brian Butch's haircut? Al Thornton and Alando Tucker are two of the best players in the country. For Thornton, tonight is a chance to shine. Terps and Illini at the half as the lead has been trimmed to 33-28. Full boat in the ESPN halftime studio. Lawyer Jay Bilas, Stacey Dales and Digger Phelps along with ultimate pro Rece Davis. The two games in progress feature two of the best student sections in the country. The Orange Crush and the Kohl Kids (my name for them) are what's right with college athletics.
8:10 p.m.: Stop the game! Nits lead Jackets 5-3. Wisconsin up 7 at Kohl as FSU is playing a lot of one-on-one. Illini and Terps about to start second half.
8:26 p.m.: Ed DeChellis trying to dictate tempo with a zone against the Jackets. The problem is that GT is not only athletic, but it can shoot. I think the Lions hang for a half before fading. Illini and Terps squared at 39-39 on ESPN original...tune in.
8:28 p.m.: Illini take lead. John McMullen, my fine Phanatic colleague, calls the Terps, "gutless." They do look a little disinterested for such an important game.
8:43 p.m.: Nittany Lions hanginig in with this zone. Under eight left in Champaign, and I get the feeling both of these teams will be better as the year goes on. Wisconsin cruising over an FSU squad full of athletes, not basketball players.
8:54 p.m.: Badgers likley going to roll. Bo Ryan's kids play great defense, while FSU just doesn't play team offense (no extra pass, everything is ISO, which is trouble when you play a great sagging, man-principled defense). PSU only down three at the break, but how bad is Milos Bogetic. He has cost the Nits at least seven points in the half. If GT doesn't start shooting better, PSU will hang around.
What a great game on ESPN the original. Maryland up one with under four to play. The Illini have won 51 straight non-conference home games. That streak is in serious trouble. (Terps just go up three off a great pass by Greivis Vasquez, the kid is a faster version of Steve Blake).
9:03 p.m.: Vasquez just pulled a Jason Williams (the anticpation steal and subsequent bucket..You remember Terps fans). His steal and layup gives the Terps a five-point edge with one minute to go.
9:08 p.m.: 51-game streak is over. 2-0 ACC. The most impressive part is the Terps did it without Ekene Ibekwe. Vasquez is going to be a player, Strawberry is solid off the wing and the tandem of Gist and Ibekwe will be solid. Nice win for Gary Williams' kids.
10:37 p.m.: Great game in Atlanta. Penn State has definitely improved. Last year, even though GT didn't have Thaddeus Young, it loses this game by at least 15 possibly 20 or 25. GT did what it needed to do down the stretch, especially Anthony Morrow's beat-the-shot-clock three with under a minute left.
Wisconsin impressed me tonight, but FSU was miserable on offense. No flow or continuity to any sets, everything was dribble between the legs and contested jumper. Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton needs to turn the athleticism into basketball IQ quickly, or it could be a long ACC season despite having the gifted Thornton.
John McMullen just called Duke, "a fraud." The halftime lead is gone in Cameron as the Blue Devils -- the highly overrated Blue Devils -- are tied with just an average Indiana team.
11:47 p.m.: Sloppy game in Cameron, which was to be expected with two young teams. Duke prevailed but the Blue Devils better iron out some things (like where is Greg Paulus and Josh McRoberts?) before Saturday's clash with Georgetown. Indiana is pretty thin on talent, but it played hard for Kelvin Sampson. The cupboard will not be bare for long as Sampson is putting together a great recruiting class.
Northwestern beats Miami-Fla. in a snoozer and Tuesday in the ACC/Big 10 challenge has come to an end. ACC won 3 of 5 Tuesday and lead 4-2 overall with Wednesday still to go.
I went 2-3 on the day, leaving very disappointed in FSU's effort and surprised by Penn State's play. The Maryland-Illinois game was basically a draw (but a nice win for the Terps) and I assumed the Duke-Indiana game would be relatively low scoring.
Great night of hoops. Johnny Mac didn't sound all that thrilled. Grunting, throwing his hands in the air and calling Duke a "fraud," time and time again. We now know why I'm the college hoops writer.

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