Ohio State passed every test in November and looks to continue raising its game when talented Maryland visits on Wednesday as part of the Big Ten/ACC challenge. The third-ranked Buckeyes won six games by an average of 21.2, including a 17-point triumph at Marquette, with a balanced offense. Maryland, which returns several players from last season's 25-win team, dropped a one-point decision to No. 14 Connecticut and suffered a home loss to Oregon State before winning its last four.
Senior point guard Aaron Craft will be a key as Ohio State meets the Terrapins for the first time since 1985. Craft, who owns the school’s all-time steals record and is 18 shy of becoming the Buckeyes’ top assist man, will be tested by a defense that allowed 32.3 shooting the last four games. Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz has recorded a double-double in his last two games for Maryland and will play Ohio State for the seventh time.
* Maryland is 7-0 ATS in its last seven road games.
* Ohio State is 5-0 ATS in its last five versus the ACC.
* Ohio State is 1-6 ATS in its last seven home games.
Wisconsin Badgers at Virginia Cavaliers (-3.5)
Wisconsin may not have the most talented team in the country, but the ninth-ranked Badgers are proving that a little bit of chemistry can go a long way. Off to their best start in 20 years, the Badgers look to extend their undefeated run when they visit Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday. "We get along off the court really well. We're all best friends," said junior guard Josh Gasser. "When we're on the court, it's just fun for us. We're playing together and when you've got a group of unselfish guys who really want to win - and have common goals - good things can happen."
Wisconsin already has a strong resume that includes victories over Florida, Notre Dame, St. Louis and West Virginia. A win over Virginia would be another notch in the Badgers' belt, as the Cavaliers enter this matchup on a six-game winning streak and sporting a defense that has allowed fewer than 60 points six times in eight games. Virginia won the Corpus Christi Challenge with an 83-63 victory over Missouri State on Saturday despite trailing 11-3 early on, prompting coach Tony Bennett to comment afterward, "I thought we responded after a very sluggish start."
* Wisconsin is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 games versus the ACC.
* Virginia is 1-4 ATS in its last five home games.
* Over is 6-1 in Virginia's last seven games following an ATS win.
Northwestern Wildcats at North Carolina State Wolfpack (-8.5)
Northwestern could be without one of its best players Wednesday night when the Wildcats visit North Carolina State as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Drew Crawford, a fifth year-swingman, sat out Saturday’s loss to UCLA with a sore back and then missed Sunday’s workout. Crawford, second on the team in scoring at 14.3 points and tops in rebounding at 6.9, reportedly had a sore back heading into the Las Vegas Invitational and then felt a sharp pain while diving for a loose ball in Thursday’s loss to Missouri, limiting him to two points in 13 minutes on 1-for-6 shooting and then forcing him out of Saturday’s game.
The area the Wildcats could be hurting the most if Crawford is unable to play is rebounding. Jordan Vandenberg, a 7-1 center from Australia, missed the first four North Carolina State games with a sprained ankle, but has totaled 21 points and 18 rebounds in the two games since his return. Then there’s T.J. Warren, a 6-foot-8 forward for the Wolfpack who’s averaging 22.7 points and 7.3 rebounds following back-to-back 30-point games with a combined 20 rebounds.
* Northwestern is 1-6 ATS in its last six games overall.
* North Carolina State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven home games.
* Under is 9-2 in North Carolina State's last 11 games overall.
North Carolina Tar Heels at Michigan State Spartans (-9)
Michigan State will begin its third week as the top-ranked team in the nation when it hosts No. 25 North Carolina on Wednesday night as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Tar Heels already have one victory over a top five opponent this season, knocking off then-No. 2 Louisville on Nov. 24 to end its school-record 21-game winning streak, but they suffered their second major upset this season when they were defeated Sunday at Alabama-Birmingham, dropping nine spots in this week’s rankings, the biggest movement of any team in the top 25.
The Spartans played without leading scorer Gary Harris in their blowout victory Friday against Mount St. Mary’s as he rested a sore ankle, but the 6-foor-4 guard is expected to play against North Carolina. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo also sent a message by keeping Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson out of the starting lineup because they showed up late to a class. Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine took advantage of the extra playing time and scored 15 points apiece, but they’ll likely be back in their reserve roles against the Tar Heels.
* North Carolina is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Favorite is 7-0 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Home team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
Boston College Eagles at Purdue Boilermakers (Pick)
Matt Painter hopes to see more consistency from his Purdue Boilermakers when they host Boston College on Wednesday for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. "I've never been with a team that can show such promise against quality opponents and then in the other half lose their focus," Painter said in his Tuesday teleconference. "It is a positive that ... you show that you can be successful. It's also a negative in terms of when things don't go your way, you're not able to right the ship and show more consistency." The Boilermakers have alternated good and bad halves during a 1-2 stretch while the Eagles enter the game with back-to-back wins.
Purdue has won four straight games in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, matching Illinois for the longest active win streak. The Boilermakers are 6-6 overall in the event while Boston College is 6-1, its only loss to Penn State in 2011. The Eagles are 0-2 all-time against Purdue but haven't played the Boilermakers since 2008.TRENDS:
* Purdue is 5-1 ATS in its last six games following an ATS loss.
* Over is 5-1 in Boston College's last six games overall.
* Under is 4-1 in Purdue's last five games overall.
Miami Hurricanes at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-4.5)
Two teams beginning to adjust after a big turnover on their rosters meet when Miami (Fla.) visits Nebraska on Wednesday as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Nebraska has five newcomers in its regular rotation and won its last two games after losing to unbeaten Massachusetts and Alabama-Birmingham, who defeated North Carolina recently. The Hurricanes return one player that averaged more than two points and come in off two victories, including an impressive effort against Arizona State.
Coach Jim Larranaga called Miami’s performance against Arizona State in a 60-57 win Sunday the best it has put forth on both ends of the court. Rion Brown leads the balanced Hurricanes in scoring (12.4) and Miami will have to continue its improvement on the other end against a capable Nebraska offense. The Cornhuskers boast three players scoring at least 12 points per game and averaged 36.4 off the bench the last five games.
* Miami is 1-5 ATS in its last six games versus a team with a winning SU record.
* Nebraska is 7-1-1 in its last nine home games.
* Under is 4-0 in Miami's last four games overall.