2021 Big Ten/ACC Challenge scores, schedule, picks: No. 1 Duke faces Ohio State, No. 2 Purdue in action

The Big Ten has won the Big Ten/ACC Challenge the last two years and it kicked off its defense in earnest for a run at a three-peat — which it has not done since 2011 — on a strong note Monday as both Iowa and Illinois won their respective battles to kick off the 2021 event.

The Illini won 82-72 over Notre Dame at home despite a shorthanded roster due to various injuries and ailments. The Hawkeyes scooted by Virginia on the road 75-74 nearly blowing a double-digit lead before scoring a go-ahead bucket in the final 10 seconds that put them over the top.

Tuesday’s action on the second and penultimate day of the challenge should go a long ways towards sorting out which league can take this year. The ACC is favored in four of the six games on the slate which could set Wednesday up as a fun finish, but no team — outside of Purdue — is favored by double figures. We’re expecting some close contests in Day Two of the annual series.

Below are our team’s picks as we move into Tuesday.

Tuesday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge games

Minnesota at Pitt

Time: 7 p.m. ET | Location: Petersen Events Center — Pittsburgh
TV: ESPNU | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Featured Game | Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

I don’t love taking the road team and laying the points, but I like that prospect more than taking Pitt. The Panthers have been dreadful — they’ve already taken two losses to teams ranked outside the top-200 at KenPom — and enter Tuesday having lost by double figures in consecutive games to Vanderbilt and UMBC. So I’m fine laying the points with Minnesota here. Prediction: Minnesota 71, Pitt 64

Indiana at Syracuse

Time: 7 p.m. ET | Location: Carrier Dome — Syracuse, New York
TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Featured Game | Syracuse Orange vs. Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana’s defense under Mike Woodson has thus far been a revelation for the Hoosiers. They rank No. 1 in 2-point shooting percentage defense and top-15 nationally in block rate on defense. That will be put to the test against a Syracuse offense that is tracking to be the most efficient in nearly a decade, but I still think IU has the goods here with Trayce Jackson-Davis playing at an All-American level. Prediction: Indiana 72, Syracuse 69

Clemson at Rutgers

Time: 9 p.m. ET | Location: Jersey Mike’s Arena — Piscataway, New Jersey
TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Rutgers has lost three-straight after a 3-0 start to the season but don’t be fooled by the losses: It is  very, very close to being 6-0. Each of its three losses were by a single possession. At home this should be a get-right spot against a Clemson team that plays slow and strategic — directly into the hands of how Rutgers wants to defend. Prediction: Rutgers 65, Clemson 60

Florida State at No. 2 Purdue

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | Location: Mackey Arena — West Lafayette, Indiana
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Featured Game | Purdue Boilermakers vs. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State has been all over the place in its first six games with a blowout loss to Florida and an OT win over Boston University mixed in between dominant wins over Missouri and Loyola Marymount. I don’t have too much confidence this team can pull off the upset. Still, the line is a bit high even against a Purdue team that has the goods to win it all, so I’ll take the points with the Seminoles. Prediction: Purdue 71, Florida State 62

Northwestern at Wake Forest

Time: 9 p.m. ET | Location: Joel Coliseum — Winston-Salem, North Carolina
TV: ESPNU | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Featured Game | Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Northwestern Wildcats

Don’t have a strong inclination on this one — it’s a stay-away for me — but if you’re itching to play it I’d lay the small number with the home team and ride the Demon Deacons. OU transfer Alondes Williams is lighting it up right now for Steve Forbes and that backcourt pairing with Daivien Williamson is a really tough draw for Boo Buie and the Northwestern backcourt. Northwestern’s probably the better team but it’s close, and the homecourt advantage makes me lean Wake. Prediction: Wake Forest 75, Northwestern 70

No. 1 Duke at Ohio State

Time: 9:30 p.m. ET | Location: Value City Arena — Columbus, Ohio
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

Featured Game | Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Duke Blue Devils

Duke has been one of this season’s biggest surprises — it has already notched two wins over top-10 teams including a Friday win over No. 1 Gonzaga — so I’m just going to take the Blue Devils and lay the points. Ohio State hasn’t exactly lit it up thus far on top of that, and while I wouldn’t be shocked if it competed down to the end because of E.J. Liddell and the magic of Chris Holtmann, it’s hard to see them having the horses to go the distance against this deep Duke team. Prediction: Duke 77, Ohio State 71

Wednesday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule

Louisville at No. 22 Michigan State | 7:15 p.m. | ESPN
Nebraska at NC State | 7:15 p.m. | ESPNU
Virginia Tech at Maryland | 7:15 p.m. | ESPN2
Miami at Penn State | 9:15 p.m. | ESPNU
No. 24 Michigan at North Carolina | 9:15 p.m. | ESPN
No. 23 Wisconsin at Georgia Tech | 9:15 p.m. | ESPN2 

Monday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge results

Iowa 75, Virginia 74 — Recap
Illinois 82, Notre Dame 72 — Recap

Big Ten leads Big Ten/ACC Challenge 2-0

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