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Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Kicking off the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Dec 3, 2013, 2:42 PM EDT

stauskas AP

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 22 Michigan at No. 10 Duke, 9:15 p.m. ET

The highlight of tonight’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge slate was supposed to pit two top ten teams against each other. Instead, both the Blue Devils and the Wolverines head into Tuesday night’s matchup with a pair of losses. Duke has been beaten by Kansas and Arizona this season, which is hardly a cause for concern for this group. What is concerning, however, is Duke’s front court, which isn’t big enough to handle the likes of Mitch McGary.

It’s not all peaches and cream for Michigan, however, as their three best players — McGary, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III — have all been dealing with injuries this season. The story line that is going to be too overhyped here: McGary’s decision on where to go to school came down to Duke and Michigan.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: UC-Santa Barbara at No. 18 UCLA, 11:00 p.m. ET

UCLA has looked really good through the first month of the season, with their three wings — Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine — making up one of the nation’s most potent perimeter attacks. That said, UCSB is pretty good. They beat UNLV by 21 at UNLV and lost to Colorado and Utah State by single digits despite missing Alan Williams, who is currently averaging 29.0 points and 11.7 boards.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Belmont at Middle Tennessee State, 8:00 p.m. ET

Nothing but a pair of really strong mid-major programs in Tennessee. Both the Bruins and the Blue Raiders have put together strong starts to the season despite losing key pieces to graduation. Methinks Rick Byrd and Kermit Davis know what they’re doing.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) The Big Ten/ACC Challenge kicks off tonight. Our preview can be found here.

2) The best game of the night not including Duke or Michigan? Notre Dame’s visit to No. 23 Iowa.

3) But you’ll want to keep an eye on Pitt and Penn State as well. The Nittany Lions are a much-improved team, but I think Pitt can legitimately contend for the ACC title this season.

4) No. 21 UMass pays a visit to Eastern Michigan, a team that might be able to give them some trouble. EMU is coached by a Jim Boeheim disciple in Rob Muprhy. He plays zone and has some length and athleticism. Don’t be shocked to see UMass struggle against that kind of defense.

5) No. 2 Arizona takes the court again tonight as Texas Tech pays a visit to the McKale Center.

NOTABLES:

  • USC-Upstate at Cincinnati, 8:00 p.m.
  • Colorado at Colorado State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Creighton at Long Beach State, 10:00 p.m.
  • Utah at Boise State, 10:05 p.m.

  1. Anoesis - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    “WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: UC-Santa Barbara at No. 18 UCLA…”

    Nice try. UCLA gets its biggest test against Duke in New York. That won’t be an upset, either, as Duke is pretty good, but the Bruins are good enough to beat the teams they are supposed to. So far.

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