The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is an annual event of the ACC every year showing that they are in fact, much much better than the Big Ten. It has become quite the humorous event for the general public who gets to see the Big Ten severely beaten down, the December karma for Ohio State getting in the football National Championship game for beating Michigan and no one else. The event was created to showcase the top two basketball conferences, which is certainly not the case anymore for the Big Ten, who might not be in the top 5 conferences in the country.
Well someone, somewhere must have wanted to know what it feels like to be the Big Ten when they signed the Big XII up for the Pac-10/Big XII Hardwood Series. It was supposed to be the showcase event of the West, and two games in, it has the potential to get ugly. It could be done before the bulk of games on Sunday. Let’s take a look…
#17 Oregon 80, Kansas State 77 OT
- This was a game that the Big XII needed, with Kansas State playing at home. Unfortunately, Michael Beasley’s 24 points and 12 boards weren’t enough to get it done. They did a good job of erasing a 5 point deficit with 5 minutes left, but couldn’t get the win in regulation and a more mature team in Oregon, pulled away.
Pac-10 1, Big XII 0
#24 USC 66, Oklahoma 55
- This one wasn’t as close as the final score as USC almost lead wire to wire. The Sooners were held to 18 points in the first half, shot 35% from the field for the game, and were without a starter scoring in double figures. They also had no answer for the USC freshman tandem of Davon Jefferson (23 pts, 9 reb) and OJ Mayo (18 pts, 5 reb).
Pac-10 2, Big XII 0
#6 Washington State (6-0) at Baylor (5-0)
- Baylor continues to improve each season, led this year by their three guards Aaron Bruce (Sr, 10.6 ppg), Curtis Jerrells (Jr, 14.0 ppg), and LaceDarius Dunn (Fr, 12.4 ppg). They already boast an impressive road win over Notre Dame (68-64) but this will be their stiffest test of the season thus far. Washington State is ranked #6 in the country and boast one of the best backcourts in the country with senior guards Derrick Low (15.5 ppg) and Kyle Weaver (12.7 ppg). Baylor is improving, but they’re not that good.
Prediction: Pac-10 3, Big XII 0
Iowa State (2-3) at Oregon State (3-2)
- Iowa State comes in with three straight losses at the hands of Bradley, Minnesota, and Northern Iowa. While none of those teams are complete pushovers, none of the games were closer than a nine point margin. Even the return of sophomore guard Wesley Johnson and his 18 points didn’t help against Northern Iowa. However, in Oregon State, you have an opponent that might actually be worse than the Cyclones. Boasting a loss by two to Alaska Fairbanks, Oregon State should be the wiping boys of the conference. But when you pin two bad teams against each other, you go with the home court advantage.
Prediction: Pac-10 4, Big XII 0
Washington (4-2) at Oklahoma State (2-3)
- A nice win against LSU is about all the Cowboys have to show for this season. A loss to North Texas and being absolutely throttled by #13 Marquette and losing handily to Illinois are the more pressing issues for this team. A young team rebuilding, freshman James Anderson (19.2 ppg) is expected to carry the load. Washington’s only two losses have come at the hands of #15 Texas A&M and #21 Syracuse. Juniors Jon Brockman (18.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg) and Justin Dentmon (13.8 ppg) should give the Cowboys all they can handle.
Prediction: Pac-10 5, Big XII 0
Missouri (5-2) at California (4-0)
- Missouri’s fast paced, full court pressure has given everyone problems this season. Close losses to #11 Michigan State and Arkansas are the only blemishes on their schedule. Missouri uses a 9 man rotation and looks to pressure at every opportunity. California’s nucleus of four players which accounts for 81% of their scoring and 75% of their rebounding will be challenged to stay fresh and stay out of foul trouble.
Prediction: Pac-10 5, Big XII 1
#4 Kansas (6-0) at #24 USC (6-1)
- USC will get their second shot at a Big XII opponent, but this time against the class of the Big XII. Kansas is deep and talented, boasting five players scoring in double figures. Brandon Rush against OJ Mayo should be an exciting matchup, but Kansas will have too much firepower for the young USC squad.
Prediction: Pac-10 5, Big XII 2
Arizona State (4-1) at Nebraska (4-1)
- Senior center Aleks Maric (16.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg) is one of the best players in the Big XII, but is about all that Nebraska has in terms of firepower. He will cause problems all day for Arizona State, but will it be enough compared to the problems that Arizona State’s freshman backcourt of James Harden (17.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Ty Abbott (11.6 ppg) will cause for the Huskers.
Prediction: Pac-10 6, Big XII 2
Stanford (7-1) at Colorado (5-2)
- Led by seniors Richard Roby (14.6 ppg/5.6 rpg) and Marcus Hall (13.6 ppg) Colorado is trying to rebound from a disastrous 2006 campaign. They might be a little better than last year, but not by much. With no one over 6-6 logging over 11 minutes per game, Colorado is going to have serious problems with 7’0” Robin Lopez (12.4 ppg/ 6.6 rpg).
Prediction: Pac-10 7, Big XII 2
#9 Texas A&M (7-0) at Arizona (4-2)
- Texas A&M is a power team that can shoot from the outside. Senior forward Joseph Jones (11.3 ppg/ 4.7 rpg) and 7’0” freshman center DeAndre Jordan (9.1 ppg/ 7.1 rpg) open things up for the perimeter shooters. Arizona boasts two NBA talents in freshman Jarryd Bayless (18.8 ppg/ 4.7 apg) and sophomore Chase Buddinger (18.3 ppg/ 5.0 rpg), but they don’t have the size inside to deal with the A&M power game.
Prediction: Pac-10 7, Big XII 3
#8 Texas (6-0) at #1 UCLA (7-0)
- The match up between DJ Augustin and Darren Collison will be the one to watch, but Texas’ quickness shouldn’t overwhelm UCLA, and Texas will struggle with the inside skill players of UCLA. Oh, and they’ll have absolutely no answer for freshman sensation Kevin Love (18.1 ppg/10.6 rpg).
Prediction: Pac-10 8, Big XII 3