The ACC/Big Ten Challenge has given us some pretty good games this week. Day 3 should be no different. Add to that a late night west coast battle, and you have yourself another healthy college basketball night.
#17 Michigan State (5-2) at Notre Dame (6-1) 7:30PM, South Bend, IN, ESPN2
Notre Dame is actually a slight favorite in this game, which is a surprise to many. It may be because the Spartans have yet to record a marquee win this season and Notre Dame's win over UMass is the best win for either school. Or, it may be that the Irish are a solid team led by Jerian Grant, one of the best and most underrated guards in the country. Plus, Notre Dame is a tough place to play. Prediction: Michigan State 66, Notre Dame 65.
Iowa (5-2) at #11 North Carolina (5-1) 7:30PM, Chapel Hill, NC, ESPN
UNC faced their first real competition versus Butler in the Bahamas and didn't respond well. But, they regrouped and showed their mettle in convincing back-to-back wins against UCLA and Florida. Iowa is solid, but unspectacular, and if the talented Heels bring their A-game, it's hard to see the Hawkeyes keeping pace. Prediction: UNC 77, Iowa 67.
#9 Virginia (7-0) at Maryland (7-0) 9:15PM, College Park, MD, ESPN2
A little luster was removed from this game when the Terrapins lost Dez Wells for four weeks due to a right wrist fracture. It still should be no walk in the park for Virginia, whose biggest win was at home versus George Washington. Maryland will need strong performances from Melo Trimble and Jake Layman, but should also receive a boost from the College Park crowd. Prediction: Virginia 63, Maryland 60.
#4 Duke (7-0) at #1 Wisconsin (7-0) 9:30PM, Madison, WI, ESPN
Tonight's marquee matchup is a doozie. Wisconsin gets the edge because of the high level of talent and experience that returns from last year's Final Four squad. The Badgers also are at home, where they have enjoyed remarkable success. Duke has more than a shot, though, if their freshmen continue to play as they have, ignoring all signs of pressure. There are match-ups galore in this game, but the two best are Frank Kaminsky vs. Jahlil Okafor and Sam Dekker vs Justise Winslow. Prediction: Wisconsin 80, Duke 77.
#10 Wichita State (3-0) at Utah (5-1) 11PM, Salt Lake City, UT, ESPN2
This one is worth staying up late for. The Shockers travel west for one of their few non conference tests and the result will go a long way in determining their standing amongst the nation's elite teams. The Utes look good, but that's pretty much based on a tight, low scoring loss at San Diego State. Prediction: Utah 61, Wichita State 59.
Other games of note...
Temple (4-2) at St. Joseph's (3-3) 6:30PM, Philadelphia, PA, CBSS
Northeastern (5-1) at Harvard (3-1) 7PM, Boston, MA
Butler (5-1) at Indiana State (3-3) 7:05PM, Terre Haute, IN
UNLV (4-1) at Arizona State (4-2) 8PM, Tempe, AZ, P12N
Creighton (6-1) at Tulsa (3-3) 8PM, Tulsa, OK, ESPN3
#8 Villanova (6-0) at LaSalle (4-2) 8:30PM, Philadelphia, PA, CBSS
UTEP (4-1) at Colorado State (6-0) 9PM, Fort Collins, CO, ROOT
Georgia Tech (5-1) at Northwestern (5-1) 9:15PM, Evanston, IL, ESPNU