Mon Nov 29 04:02pm EST
Monday, Nov. 29th
• Virginia (3-3) at Minnesota (6-0): Although Minnesota may not having point guard Al Nolen (foot) or wing Rodney Williams (ankle), this still might be the biggest mismatch in the entire event. The surging Gophers have beaten the likes of North Carolina and West Virginia already, while the Cavaliers lost their only road game of the season by 20 at Stanford.
Projected winner: Minnesota
Tuesday, Nov. 30th
• Georgia Tech (4-2) at Northwestern (4-0): Since that disastrous loss to Kennesaw State, the guard-oriented Yellowjackets have actually acquitted themselves well, dropping only a close game to Syracuse this past weekend. Georgia Tech will be tested in this one by the backdoor cuts and patient offense of a disciplined Northwestern team that just beat Creighton by 13 points.
Projected winner: Georgia Tech
• Iowa (3-3) at Wake Forest (3-3): You're wasting two hours of your life if you watch this game. Rebuilding Wake Forest has already shown its very beatable at home in losses to Winthrop and Stetson, but who knows if Iowa's any better than either of those teams considering the Hawkeyes have lost to the likes of South Dakota State and Long Beach State.
• Ohio State (5-0) at Florida State (5-1): Ohio State dismantled Florida earlier this month behind a superb performance from Jared Sullinger and then Florida took down Florida State on Sunday night thanks to a strong defensive effort. Matchups and varying degrees of inspiration suggest that the transitive property often doesn't work in sports, but this may be a case where it does.
Projected winner: Ohio State
• Michigan (3-2) at Clemson (5-1): There aren't many games this year that clearly favor the ACC, but this is definitely one of them. Clemson has looked the part of an NCAA tournament contender so far, while Michigan's 3-0 start predictably came crashing down with losses to Georgia Tech and UTEP over the weekend.
Projected winner: Clemson
• North Carolina (4-2) at Illinois (6-1): It's still hard to trust the talented but schizophrenic Illini after they missed the NCAA tournament last season, but the Tar Heels have offered minimal evidence that they're ready to win a game like this right now. The point guard position remains a major concern, John Henson has been inconsistent and Harrison Barnes remains a work in progress.
Projected winner: Illinois
Wednesday, Dec. 1
• Indiana (6-0) at Boston College (4-2): Indiana's quick start is deceiving because the Hoosiers haven't played anyone remotely consequential. Let's see how high-scoring forward Christian Watford fares against a Boston College team that inexplicably lost to Yale at home earlier this month but rebounded to win two games at the Old Spice Classic against Texas A&M and California.
Projected winner: Boston College
• NC State (4-1) at Wisconsin (4-2): NC State's hopes of remaining competitive in this game may depend on the health of senior center Tracy Smith, who injured his knee during the Charleston Classic. The freshman-heavy Wolfpack were competitive with Georgetown for 25 minutes without Smith but fell apart late in the game.
Projected winner: Wisconsin
• Purdue (5-1) at Virginia Tech (4-2): A matchup that seemed like one of the highlights of the preseason when it first came out now appears considerably less intriguing as a result of Robbie Hummel's season-ending knee injury and Virginia Tech's early woes. Purdue looked stagnant and unimaginative in a loss to Richmond Saturday night, while Virginia Tech needs more firepower around Malcolm Delaney.
Projected winner: Purdue
• Maryland (5-2) at Penn State (5-1): Can Maryland's 0-2 trip to New York earlier this month be encouraging? Yes, considering the Terps pushed Pittsburgh and Illinois to the brink before falling short. Penn State will have the best guard on the floor in Talor Battle in this game, but Maryland's team is strong enough to win on the road.
Projected winner: Maryland
• Michigan State (5-1) at Duke (6-0): Early struggles have been the norm for Michigan State in recent years, so it was no surprise to see the Spartans fall to UConn in Maui and struggle with Chaminade and Washington. Still, that doesn't bode well at all for Michigan State entering a road game against the defending champs.
Projected winner: Duke
PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: Big Ten 6, ACC 5