It is that time of year again! The 2022 ACC Big 10 Challenge has arrived. Last year, the Big 10 took the crown 8-6 in a “down” year for the ACC. In fact, the ACC was so bad last year that it only had two Final Four teams and three Elite 8 teams. HA.
The event was actually very competitive last year, with three overtime games and twelve games decided by 10 points or less. In the history of the ACC Big 10 Challenge, the ACC holds a 12-8-3 edge with 144 games won to the Big 10’s 121 games won. Overall, Duke leads the challenge with a record of 19-4. Let’s see who takes the crown in the 2022 ACC Big 10 Challenge.
Predicting the 2022 ACC Big 10 Challenge
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Virginia Tech Hokies
Minnesota sits at 4-2 with losses to UNLV and Depaul. They are in year two of the Ben Johnson era and off to a slow start. Dawson Garcia, a two-time transfer from Marquette and North Carolina, leads the charge. He is averaging 16 and 7 and can score at every level. The Gophers have a ton of size but just lack the talent right now.
Virginia Tech is 6-1 with a loss at Charleston. They have consistently been a tough out since Mike Young stepped on campus. This year, Justyn Mutts is back for more while they have turned the reigns over to Sean Pedulla to run the team. The Hokies are tough and it is not easy to go into Blacksburg and win
Prediction: Virginia Tech by 9
Pittsburgh Panthers vs Northwestern Wildcats
Pittsburgh is 4-3 with blowout losses to Michigan and West Virginia. In all honesty, Jeff Capel has worn out his welcome. His best players consistently leave and the numbers just are not there. Blake Hinson has been a nice addition from Ole Miss, but they just do not win. They won’t be easy to beat though. The Panthers are big and physical throughout this roster.
Northwestern is a surprise 5-1 so far this year. Their only loss is by one in a rock fight against Auburn. Chris Collins has his team playing well so far. Boo Buie and Chase Audige make a nice backcourt tandem and in college, the team with the best guards usually wins.
Prediction: Northwestern by 4
Maryland Terrapins vs Louisville Cardinals
Maryland is one of the bigger surprises thus far. After finally moving on from Mark Turgeon, Kevin Willard came in as a breath of fresh air. Maryland is rolling at 6-0 after hammering Miami. While the Terrapins don’t have too much star power, another year of Julian Reese and Donta Scott has the Terps in the top 25.
Louisville is down bad. Kenny Payne came in with high expectations and he currently sits at 0-6 with no end in sight. They have been blowout three games in a row after three straight one-point home losses to bad teams. Their guards are bad, the rotation is not solved yet, and they are not getting DJ Wagner. Rough start
Prediction: Maryland by 14
Penn State Nittany Lions vs Clemson Tigers
Penn State found a nice coach in Micah Shrewsberry. Sitting at 6-1, the Nittany Lions could easily be undefeated. Jalen Pickett is a fantastic guard who can get a bucket whenever you need one. This team is a tough out even without a deep roster.
Clemson is 5-2 with a couple of tough losses. PJ Hall is their superstar who is a legit All-ACC player. However, Hall suffered multiple injuries in the last few months and just has not gotten back to full speed. Until that happens, Clemson will not reach their full potential. This is probably the most 50/50 game in the Big 10 ACC Challenge.
Prediction: Penn State by 1
Syracuse Orange vs Illinois Fighting Illini
Syracuse is rebuilding. That sentence has been true for multiple years now. They are 3-3 and are searching for an identity. With no more Boeheims on the roster, the team has been turned over to star freshman Judah Mintz. He is averaging 18 per game right now, but it has not been enough. This is an Orange team that will really struggle to find buckets when they need them.
Illinois is 5-1 with a tough loss to Virginia but a great win over UCLA. The Illini look much different this year than the last few years but it is not for lack of talent. Terrance Shannon comes in from Texas Tech and has been incredible. Shannon is averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. He has been the standout, but this team is so deep. They are going to have some fun playing in this one.
Prediction: Illinois by 14
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Iowa Hawkeyes
Georgia Tech is 4-2 with a fairly easy schedule. The one thing going for them is depth. Josh Pastner is using six guys at more than 20 minutes per game and consistently giving minutes to eight players. There is no one that will jump off the page at you, but a handful of guys that can get hot at any given time. Their defense will be tested here after giving up 84 to Marquette
Iowa is 5-1 heading into this matchup after a loss to TCU. Those who watch the Hawkeyes may be having déjà vu as a K Murray is putting up points in bunches. This time, it isn’t Keegan, though. Kris Murray has been special, averaging 24 points and 8 rebounds per game. As with every Iowa team, they can flat-out shoot it and score the ball.
Prediction: Iowa by 15
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Wisconsin Badgers
Wake Forest comes in at 6-1 with a strange loss to Loyola Marymount. They lost a ton of production from last year but still are finding wins. Tyree Appleby transferred in from Florida and has scored at will so far. Also, keep an eye on Bobi Klintman. He is a 6’10 freshman from Sweden with a fun game, although he has started slow.
Wisconsin is 5-1 with a one-point loss to Kansas in the Bahamas as their only blemish. As with most Badger teams, you have no clue who is going to be the guy on any night. However, Tyler Wahl is definitely the most consistent performer and the one you must stop to win. Wisconsin has yet to shoot it well from three this year so that is something to watch here.
Prediction: Wisconsin by 5
Virginia Cavaliers vs Michigan Wolverines
Virginia is as good as anyone right now. The Cavs are 5-0 and handled Illinois and Baylor in convincing fashion. As usual, Tony Bennett brought nearly his entire team back and added a few very nice pieces. Armaan Franklin transferred in last year and struggled at times. That is not the case this year. Franklin is averaging 16 per game and is shooting 45% from three. His shooting is the key this year, just as it was last year.
Michigan is 5-1 with a really bad loss to Arizona State. This is probably the worst roster Juwan Howard has had since arriving in Ann Arbor. Hunter Dickinson is still dominant with 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. However, the lack of guards is really hurting the Wolverines. Virginia will double Dickinson on every post-touch, so the supporting cast will need to show up big time to win.
Prediction: Virginia by 7
Ohio State Buckeyes vs Duke Blue Devils
Ohio State is a tough team. They are 5-1 with a fine loss to San Diego State and a couple of good wins on the resume. Brice Sensabaugh has been impressive in his freshman season and Justice Sueing is coming off a 33-point performance against Texas Tech. The last time these teams faced off, Zed Key dominated as the Buckeyes had a huge second half to upset then top-ranked Duke.
Duke is in a transition period. Jon Scheyer is taking over in the hot seat and learning as he goes. The Blue Devils are 6-2 with a tough loss to Kansas and a drubbing from Purdue. They have yet to look good as their four freshmen are getting acclimated and the new transfers are finding their footing. Kyle Filipowski has been a bright spot averaging 16 and 11 per game. The talent is undeniable but the question is which Duke offense shows up. It has been like pulling teeth on that end at times to start the year. This one is going to be a good one.
Prediction: Duke by 2
Purdue Boilermakers vs Florida State Seminoles
Purdue is off to a nice start at 6-0. They hammered Gonzaga and Duke over a three-day span. Zach Edey has been dominant averaging over 20 and 13 per game. Beyond that, the Boilermakers are just full of guys that play ridiculously hard. They only shoot 32% from deep so if anything will stop Edey, it will be that. Florida State will send a lot of length at Edey and plenty of hands digging down.
Florida State has been horrendous thus far. They can’t shoot, they can’t pass, they don’t defend well, and they don’t play well together. Anything else? Leonard Hamilton has his work cut off for him. Caleb Mills may have to play superman if they want to do anything this year.
Prediction: Purdue by 13
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Miami Hurricanes
Rutgers is 5-1 with a lot of talent and production to replace. One of the familiar faces, Cliff Omoruyi, has been fantastic. He is living up to that freshman-year hype and is a huge reason why Rutgers is winning games. Additionally, Cam Spencer, a transfer from Loyola MD has surprised, scoring more than 17 per game. As with every Rutgers team, you’re going to remember you played them!
Miami has been slightly disappointing thus far. They are 6-1 but just have not played as well as you might expect. Isaiah Wong has been pretty good, but Nijel Pack has not lived up to expectations yet. Miami relies heavily on guards to takeover games so Pack must get going for another Elite 8 run.
Prediction: Miami by 5
North Carolina Tar Heels vs Indiana Hoosiers
North Carolina is 5-2 after losing to Iowa State and Alabama in back-to-back games. The Tar Heels have really struggled this season, narrowly beating some mediocre at best teams. Hubert Davis has frequently talked about the lack of energy from the reigning runner-ups. A team that returns four starters and one big-time transfer should not be struggling like this. Armando Bacot and Caleb Love have been good, but until the team plays with more urgency, they are going to look average.
Indiana is 6-0 but has yet to play a ranked opponent. Another team that returns most of their production, the Hoosiers are finally ready to make a March run. Trayce Jackson-Davis is the name to know here. The All-American is averaging 21 and 9 this year and is crazy talented. The battle in the post is must-see TV. The officials need to swallow their whistles, please.
Prediction: Indiana by 2
Michigan State Spartans vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Michigan State surprised many en route to a 5-2 record. They nearly beat Gonzaga and then smashed Kentucky. When it comes down to it, Tyson Walker gives them a chance to win every night. He is as electric as any guard in the nation when it comes to scoring.
Notre Dame is 5-1 after a terrible loss to St. Bonaventure. Their entire starting five averages double-figures, but beyond that, the roster is paper thin. JJ Starling could easily win ACC freshman of the year and will be a fun guy to watch in this game. This team just is not battle-tested yet so they are tough to pick.
Prediction: Michigan State by 6
Boston College Eagles vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
Saved the best for last. Not. Boston College is not very good but Makai Ashton-Langford is. Honestly, they are never as bad as statistics might indicate but you just never know what to expect. They are athletic and physical but cannot shoot a lick.
Nebraska somehow shoots even worse than Boston College. The Cornhuskers average 29% from three and are not very talented. Fred Hoiberg has not had any success in turning this basketball program around yet and there is no clear end in sight. You do not have to watch this part of the 2022 Big 10 ACC Challenge.
Prediction: Boston College I guess
2022 Big 10 ACC Challenge Prediction
That brings it to 9-5 Big 10 in the 2022 Big 10 ACC Challenge. If that comes true, it will be four straight series wins for the Big 10. However, most people would suggest the ACC has the three best title shots out of both leagues. Take that for what it is worth!