Here is a midweek preview of some of the best games of the week in College Basketball. This includes the ACC-Big Ten Challenge with matchups of Duke at Ohio State, Florida State at Purdue, and Michigan at North Carolina.
(1) Duke at Ohio State
Duke is looking to continue their strong momentum after a terrific win over Gonzaga. Now, on the road at Ohio State, Paolo Banchero’s versatility and skill level against EJ Liddell will be a great matchup. Mark Williams has shown the ability to dominate as a rim protector and be efficient offensively. The improved play of Wendell Moore has stood out for Duke being great offensively and his tenacity defensively. Also, Jeremy Roach will need to continue to provide stability at the point guard position. The consistency for Trevor Keels as a shooter is the next step in his game to become a problem for Duke offensively and they’ll need him to reach their potential. The pace and defensive identity of Duke give them a great opportunity to prove yet again against Ohio State as one of the best teams in college basketball.
Ohio State has a tremendous opportunity with Duke coming to their place for a resume-adding win. They will need EJ Liddell to be sensational offensively and remain out of foul trouble. Zed Key and Kyle Young need to play with consistency for their frontcourt. Furthermore, Malachi Branham needs to keep showcasing his offensive ability in a tough matchup against Wendell Moore. Continued, Jamari Wheeler will need to be able to get this Ohio State offense in rhythm for them to have a chance in this game.
Overall, the talent and scoring ability of Duke will be too much for Ohio State to win this matchup.
Matchup to Watch: Paolo Banchero vs EJ Liddell
Prediction: Duke 82 Ohio State 70
Florida State at (2) Purdue
A massive test on the road at Purdue for Florida State to showcase where this team is at. Furthermore, the major question for Florida State will be how does it defend the front line of Purdue? Therefore, Malik Osborne and Tanor Ngom are going to be at a high level for Florida State to have a chance in this game. Also, Florida State is going to need to speed up Purdue throughout this game. The guard play for Florida State will be vital in defending Jaden Ivey throughout. Next, the scoring ability of Caleb Mills and Anthony Polite will be needed throughout as well.
Purdue has arguably played like the best team in the country up to this point in the season. A major reason for this is the frontcourt play of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams who should give problems to Florida State. Continued, the development of Jaden Ivey’s game has taken him to the next level being a more complete scorer and decision-maker. Also, the role-play of Caleb Furst has been great with his energy and consistency. Along with, having a sharpshooter in Sasha Stefanovic to this offensive attack. The depth of Purdue is impressive and that will stack up to the depth of Florida State.
Matchup to Watch: Caleb Mills vs Jaden Ivey
Prediction: Purdue 78 Florida 68
(24) Michigan at North Carolina
Michigan has gotten off to a slower start than expected with losses against Seton Hall and Arizona. First off, the development of Devante Jones in the backcourt next to Eli Brooks is vital for them to reach their potential. As well as, having Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate become consistent on both ends. Furthermore, Hunter Dickinson needs to become the focal point of the offense and be one of the most dominant players in college basketball. Also, having perimeter options develop like Frankie Collins and Terrance Williams show growth will be important.
North Carolina similar to Michigan has gotten off to a slow start with losses to Purdue and Tennessee. First off, it begins at the defensive end for North Carolina to be able to get more consistent stops. Therefore, the ability to slow down Hunter Dickinson throughout will be key for them to win this game. Continued, Armando Bacot will need to provide interior scoring and defense against the multiple bigs of Michigan. Along with, having Dawson Garcia showcase his versatility and skill set offensively. The perimeter shooting needs to continue to develop and make an impact with Brady Manek and Kerwin Walton. The backcourt of Caleb Love and RJ Davis must be more consistent for North Carolina to reach its team’s potential.
Images Courtesy of, D.J. FEZLER, JEREMY WOO
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