By the time the ACC/Big Ten Challenge reached its final window of games Wednesday night, the East Coasters were only in the position to make the losing margin a bit more flattering. The Big Ten claimed its sixth victory and series bragging rights when Purdue topped Virginia Tech in overtime in Blacksburg, 58-55.
That's because the two conferences split the 7:15 ET tipoffs, as Wisconsin embarrassed NC State, 87-48, and Boston College pulled away from Indiana late, 88-76, handing the Hoosiers the first loss on the season.
But it was all ACC after matters were decided overall, as Maryland won at Penn State, 62-39, thanks to a truly putrid offensive display by the Nittany Lions. And, in the game of the night, Duke got a big night from freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 31, as the Blue Devils got by Michigan State, 84-79.
As the ACC/Big Ten event wound down, the less-publicized Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge got started with four games, all wins for the MWC. BYU, New Mexico, and UNLV all won away from home. The Cougars topped Creighton, 77-65; the Lobos pounded Southern Illinois, 74-59; and the Runnin' Rebels blasted Southern Illinois, 82-51. Colorado State was the fourth winner, as they took care of Drake, 78-67, in Fort Collins.
San Diego State plays their challenge game Saturday night against Wichita State, but the Aztecs warmed up by moving to 7-0, topping St. Mary's, 69-55.
In other non-conference action last night, ETSU stunned Dayton, 73-68, snapping the Flyers' 40-game home non-league win streak. Florida fell to UCF for the first time ever, losing 57-54 at the Orlando Magic's new arena, while down I-4, USF, survived VCU in overtime, 60-59, after blowing a 17-point first half lead.
Richmond followed up their win over Purdue with a 77-70 defeat at Old Dominion, while Butler, still without Ronald Nored, opened Horizon League play with a 65-63 win at Loyola-Chicago, the Bulldogs' 21st straight conference win.
After the jump, I'll take a look at Thursday's TV slate, highlighted by more conference challenge contests.
If a team's name appears as a link, click it to visit that school's SB Nation blog for more coverage.
Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series
- Arizona State at Baylor, ESPN2 (7 p.m. ET): This is the country's first chance to see the Bears with LaceDarius Dunn back in the lineup. Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III already impressed in Baylor's Tip-Off Marathon win over La Salle. The Sun Devils, on the other hand, were outrun by St. John's in the Great Alaska Shootout final on Saturday.
- UCLA at Kansas, ESPN2 (9 p.m. ET): After the Bruins went 0-2 at the NIT Season Tip-Off last weekend, I have little hope for this one, especially with how the Jayhawks are obliterating inferior opponents at Phog Allen.
- Missouri at Oregon, FSN/Comcast SportsNet (11 p.m. ET): Will the Tigers have any energy left after their OT loss to Georgetown Tuesday and the trip to Eugene? Will it matter? The Ducks look like they'll challenge Auburn, Wake Forest, Iowa, and DePaul in the race to be the worst Big Six team this season.
In other action tonight...
Murray State at Eastern Kentucky, Wazoo Sports/ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET): As the Racers went 1-2 in Anaheim last weekend, their at-large chances have likely evaporated. That means Billy Kennedy's team needs to take care of business in the Ohio Valley. That challenge starts tonight against a Colonel team that has its own designs on the crown.
Stephen F. Austin at Texas A&M, FS Southwest/FS Houston/ESPN3 (8 p.m. ET): The Aggies, fresh off a 2-1 trip to Lake Buena Vista, highlighted by a win over Temple, welcome a Lumberjack team who will be among the favorites in the Southland this season.
For broadcast information for games that will be telecast regionally, like Gardner-Webb at High Point, Valparaiso at Illinois-Chicago (watch online via HLN), Cleveland State at Green Bay (watch online via HLN), Youngstown State at Milwaukee (watch online at HLN), Northern Illinois at DePaul, Presbyterian at Liberty, visit Matt Sarz's College Sports on TV site. Another good resource is the schedule page at BB State.
Please share your thoughts about today and tonight's action in the comments, after you sign up for a free SB Nation account, of course.