Morrison, UConn help Maui live up to billing
Illinois at North Carolina, Tuesday (ESPN, 9 ET): This is a title game rematch in name only. Still, the Illini desperately could use a road win and the youthful Tar Heels could use a name win for their confidence.
Duke at Indiana, Wednesday (ESPN, 9 ET): It's really a shame D.J. White is out. If the Hoosiers were at full strength, this could have been a monster matchup in the post with White and Marco Killingsworth against Shelden Williams and Josh McRoberts. Killingsworth will have to handle it on his own. Still, this should be a dandy.
NC State at Iowa, Wednesday (ESPN2, 9:30 ET): This is turning out to be one of the best Big Ten-ACC Challenge games. The Wolfpack had a solid win over Notre Dame in Indianapolis on Saturday, and the Hawkeyes were a few possessions away from knocking off Texas and being undefeated.
Oklahoma at Villanova, Saturday (ESPN, 5 ET): Neither squad had a real struggle before this game. The Sooners will test their road weariness, while the Wildcats should have a barometer as to where they stand after this made-for-TV event.
Gonzaga at Washington, Sunday (10:30 ET): This is a perfect trap game for the Bulldogs. They're feeling good about themselves after a near-miss in the Maui title game. Washington has been beaten by Gonzaga year after year after year and gets the Bulldogs back in Seattle. This could prove to be as tough a game for Gonzaga as the Connecticut one was because of the nature of the rivalry and expected raucous crowd at UW.
There's one regard in which there's no comparison between the ACC and the Big Ten this season: Four ACC teams return a pair of players who each averaged at least 15 points per game last season. Though Iowa and Purdue come close, not one Big Ten team can match that.
A look at the dynamic duos at Duke, Boston College, Wake Forest and Miami shows there's more than one way to do it. The Blue Devils and Demon Deacons go little guy/big guy; the Eagles have two big forwards; and the Hurricanes possess two scoring guards.
|ACC 15/15 returnees|
|PLAYERS/SCHOOL||'04-'05 PPG||'05-'06 PPG||SKINNY|
|J.J. Redick/Shelden Williams (Duke)||37.3||41.2||Shooting a combined 53.5 percent from the field through five games.|
|Craig Smith/Jared Dudley (BC)||34.5||33.4||Combined for 40 or more points seven times last season, and BC went 6-1 in those contests.|
|Justin Gray/Eric Williams (Wake Forest)||32.1||32.5||Trent Strickland actually is Wake's leading scorer this season as Gray is adjusting to the PG role.|
|Guillermo Diaz/Robert Hite (Miami)||35.9||30.5||Accounted for more than half of team's scoring in 2004-05, but Anthony King has taken off some of the scoring pressure this season.|
Rocking The Rim
It's not surprising that Wisconsin is 4-0, considering whom the Badgers have played this season. The shocker is that the Badgers are both scoring and allowing points at an unusually high rate -- and given that previous years' starts have held pretty constant, the trend might carry on all season.
The Badgers, who averaged 67.4 points last season, have tallied 80 or more points in all four games -- the first time that has happened in four straight games since the 1993-94 season.
The Badgers might turn out the most points for a Bo Ryan squad since Ryan's 1997-98 Division III champs at Wisconsin-Platteville averaged 73.9. They'll need them against a Wake Forest team capable of putting up 80 points without much of an issue.
|Points for/against under Ryan|
|PPG (1st 4)||PPG (season)||PA (1st 4)||PA (season)|
Matchup of the week
We'll see a rematch of the 2005 NCAA title game, more or less, when Illinois and North Carolina get together Tuesday night. Although this one won't have nearly the buzz of last season's national championship meeting, the last five games between the two teams have been fairly interesting -- and typically favor the Tar Heels.
|4/4/05||UNC, 75-70 (national championship)||Sean May scored 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting as North Carolina won its first national title since 1993.|
|12/2/03||UNC, 88-81||North Carolina wins an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game for the first time in five tries as May scores 23 points and grabs 14 rebounds. Dee Brown shoots 3-for-17 from the field.|
|12/3/02||Illinois, 92-65||Brian Cook and Sean Harrington combined for 42 points as Illinois ran away late, closing with a 28-8 run.|
|12/19/87||UNC, 85-74||Paced by 17 points from Ranzino Smith, North Carolina ended Illinois' 22-game nonconference home win streak.|
|12/20/86||UNC, 90-77||Another Smith hurt the Illini as Kenny scored 22 points in handing Illinois its first loss of the season.|