The match-ups of the Big 10 versus the ACC told us a lot about what to expect when the respective teams start their league play. Coming off the outcomes, here's what I think we can expect from the teams come January when league play starts in earnest.
Maryland vs. Northwestern - the 2nd half Maryland team is a top-10 team, the 1st half team was the Mr. Hyde in the traditional equation; look for teams to really sag in as the year progresses, daring the Terp players to shoot from outside; Alex Len is big-time, no more hesitation in his game; Wildcats looked like deers in the headlights; they are probably NIT bound again this year.
Duke vs. Ohio State - the Duke starting 8 in Cameron is pretty tough to beat (and I'm not referring to anyone that sits on their bench!); their guards are not as consistent as past years but pretty talented; Plumlee sadly is as good as advertised; Ohio State is talented but not deep and while they seemed calm on the road, their shot selection last night came right out of the Dominique Wilkins chapter on “How to make an easy shot more difficult?”
Indiana vs. North Carolina - Indiana at home is a beast, they are legitimate top-5 team though I don't know they will remain #1 for the rest of the year; Zeller is listed as 7-0, looks more like 6-9 to me on TV; It only took Dick Vitale a half to talk about Duke and Coach K, maybe a record for old Duke Vitale; I have said it before, Roy Williams is awesome recruiter, above-average coach; McAdoo had a rough game but having seen him early, he is pretty good as well; UNC needs to find a PG presence soon as they are no lock to finish in the top 3 of the ACC as predicted.
Miami vs. Michigan State - people forget that Miami was ranked in a lot of preseason polls; they are a balanced team with great inside-outside game, they look NCAA-bound, great signature win last night; teams without good lateral quickness will be exposed by the Cane's wingmen; Spartans are a solid team and should be ranked top 15; this was no upset despite State's ranking; Looks like a solid sweet-16 team for Izzo again.
Virginia vs. Wisconsin - this game was akin to watching grass grow; both teams will give their opponents fits with pace and defense; Virginia will miss Mike Scott and probably destined for the middle of the ACC unless they can find an inside presence; Terp fans had look to look quick to see former commit Justin Anderson's 9 minutes; Wisconsin will probably have another solid season, 20+ wins, NCAA berth; both coaches must be able to sell fans to Eskimos to get good players to buy into those systems.
Illinois vs. Georgia Tech - Illinois was lethal from 3-ptland, almost suicidal from the FT line; And people why coaches don't have hair; Illinois has a chance to be in the top 10 going into league play; Brandon Paul plays a lot like Chris Paul, maybe moving himself into the first round of the NBA draft; Tech was pretty solid until PG Udofia injured his leg (not sure if season-ending?); Tech was picked low and while that may be accurate, they are not a team you can just chalk it up against; Robert Carter will be All-ACC if he stays a couple years.
Purdue vs. Clemson - It's going to be a long year for Clemson; Their leading player was suspended for drug possession, Milton Jennings, and that is the 3rd time in his career for that; It might be an NIT year for Purdue as they are solid but rest of the Big-10 is better at the top; laments of a long gone Robbie Hummel.
Michigan vs. N.C. State - Let's see, Wolf Pack started the year with a nice number and their last 3 games have not supported that, 2 losses and a 2-pt squeaker against UNC-Ashville; the roster is talented enough but remains to be seen if the chemistry is right; C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell are a very imposing front line; Michigan is top-10 material, with shooters and slashers reminiscent of the Louisville teams of the 80's; I would make them the Big-10 favorite and potential #1 seed barring injury.
Virginia Tech vs. Iowa - Tech has really been hit by departures; The Hokies are the only other unbeaten team in the ACC besides Duke….Of course, their schedule is right up there with the YMCA Rec League; They should get a nice wake-up call this weekend against Oklahoma State; Despite the 6-0 start, the bloom should fall off the rose pretty fast; Iowa is a Big-10 punch board as well, don't have too many expectation there; Roy Marble on the Iowa roster should not be a double-take, his father was a Hawkeye many moons ago.
Minnesota vs. FSU - FSU is not helping their cause losing this game at home; FSU still has problems shooting the ball; Maybe they can get Mitchell Wiggins next year, that would make them top-10 from the get-go; Minnesota is what makes the Big-10 good this year, the 4th or even 5th place squad that can play with anyone on any floor in the country; Have to root for a coach named Tubby, right!
Nebraska vs. Wake Forest - Nebraska is Big-10, wow, I forgot; Wake Forest is doomed for a long year and this is just the lighting of the fuse; now that the Wolf Pack is recruiting like Duke and UNC, Wake must feel like the ultimate step-child along Tobacco Road; Nebraska should be an NIT team, just not good enough to compete night in and night out in the Big 10 just yet.
Boston College vs. Penn State - the ultimate cellar dweller game, these two teams are destined for the year from Hades; last night's game was not a question of who was going to win, it was a question of who was going to play the crappiest for the longest period of time; to that end, Penn State had a stretch of missing 12 straight shots and allowed the Eagles to get a lead that even they (though they desperately tried) could not squander; any potential NCAA team that loses to Penn State or BC should immediately be disallowed from the dance no matter what the rest of their resume looks like.