Sunday, February 25, 2024

2023 ACC/SEC Challenge picks, schedule, scores, predictions: Kentucky vs. Miami, Duke vs. Arkansas on tap

The inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge begins Tuesday headlined by No. 8 Miami traveling for a marquee matchup vs. No. 12  Kentucky. The Hurricanes are off to a 5-0 start to the season fresh off the program’s first Final Four appearance this past spring, while the Wildcats’ lone loss this season came at the hands of No. 5 Kansas in the Champions Classic earlier this month.

Seven games will be played Tuesday and seven more will be played the following day. Earlier this summer, CBS Sports ranked every game in the two-day event and Miami’s matchup with Kentucky checked in at No. 2 on the list behind Duke traveling to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks.

In previous seasons, the ACC competed against the Big Ten in the annual Big Ten/ACC challenge. The event came to an end last season, however, after the Big Ten signed a new lucrative media rights deal that did not feature ESPN. From there, the newly formed ACC/SEC Challenge has emerged. 

In the latest AP Top 25 poll, eight teams from the ACC and SEC were ranked, setting up some must-see matchups before conference play starts for most teams next month. 

Tuesday’s SEC/ACC Challenge games

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern 

No. 21 Mississippi State at Georgia Tech 

Time: 7 p.m.  | TV: ACC Network | Live stream: fubo (try for free)

Mississippi State was dealt a huge blow before the start of the season when the program announced potential All-American candidate Tolu Smith would miss some time with a foot injury. That hasn’t stopped the Bulldogs from getting off to a hot start to the season and they sit at 6-0 heading into their matchup with Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are in a slump and have lost consecutive games to UMass Lowell and Cincinnati. Even without Smith in the lineup, Mississippi State should roll because of contributions from freshman guard Josh Hubbard and forward Jimmy Bell JrPick: Mississippi State -9

Notre Dame at South Carolina 

Time: 7 p.m.  | TV: SEC Network | Live streamfubo (try for free)

When Micah Shrewsberry left his post at Penn State to take the job at Notre Dame, he knew he was in for a major rebuild. Coming into the year, Notre Dame didn’t have a player on the roster that scored over 4.5 points last season. Freshman guard Markus Burton has been a pleasant surprise for the Irish and is averaging a team-high 18 points per game.  As for South Carolina, they’re off to a 5-0 start and should be able to take care of business at home against an inexperienced Notre Dame squad. Pick: South Carolina -10

LSU at Syracuse

Time: 7 p.m.  | TV: ESPN2 | Live streamfubo (try for free)

Syracuse is coming off a 1-2 showing at the Maui Invitational and suffered double-digit losses to Tennessee and Gonzaga. The Orange are in Year 1 of the post-Jim Boeheim era and Tuesday will mark the biggest home game of Adrian Autry’s young coaching career. LSU suffered consecutive losses to Nicholls and Dayton earlier this month, but bounced back with a win over reigning NIT champion North Texas and Wake Forest. This is only the second time Syracuse and LSU will meet and it will be the first matchup since 1985. Pick: LSU -1

No. 8 Miami at No. 12 Kentucky

Time: 7:30 p.m.  | TV: ESPN | Live streamfubo (try for free)

The best matchup on the Day 1 of the slate features Miami playing its biggest road game of the season against a youthful Kentucky roster. The Wildcats showed promise against Kansas earlier this month, but were nearly on the wrong side of an upset loss against Saint Joseph’s last week. It may just come down to what Kentucky team shows up against an experienced Miami roster that features five double-digit reliable scorers in Wooga Poplar, Matthew Cleveland, Nijel Pack, Norchad Omier and Bentley Joseph. Pick: Miami +6.5

Missouri at Pitt

Time: 7:30 p.m.  | TV: ESPNU | Live streamfubo (try for free)

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Pitt’s Carlton Carrington this season, this is a great time to start. The freshman guard kicked off his college career by recording a triple-double and is averaging 15.2 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds thus far for the 5-1 Panthers. Pitt’s lone loss this season came against Florida, while Missouri already suffered an inexcusable loss to previous 0-5 Jackson State at home. The Panthers should roll at the comforts of home in this one. Pick: Pitt -7

NC State at Ole Miss 

Time: 9 p.m.  | TV: ESPN2 | Live streamfubo (try for free)

In Year 1 of the Chris Beard era at Ole Miss, the Rebels are off to a 5-0 start. Tuesday will mark Beard’s biggest home game of his tenure at the school and NC State should offer a nice early season test for the Rebels. The Wolf Pack suffered a close loss to BYU last week after leading by five points at halftime. When in doubt, pick the home team to cover. Pick: Ole Miss +1

Clemson at No. 23 Alabama

Time: 9:30 p.m.  | TV: ESPN | Live streamfubo (try for free)

Day 1 of the SEC/ACC Challenge concludes with No. 23 Alabama hosting Clemson. Last season, the Crimson Tide earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and had to retool their roster because of departures of star freshmen Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney. Mark Sears, Aaron Estrada and Grant Nelson have all stepped into their respective roles nicely and have helped Alabama get off to a 5-1 start. As for Clemson, they head into Tuscaloosa, Alabama riding a 5-0 start behind star big man PJ Hall. This game could very well end up being the best of the day. Pick: Clemson +9

Wednesday’s SEC/ACC Challenge games

No. 10 Tennessee at No. 17 North Carolina | 7:15 p.m. | ESPN 

No. 14 Texas A&M at Virginia | 7:15 p.m. | ESPN2 

Florida at Wake Forest | 7:15 p.m. | ESPNU

No. 7 Duke at Arkansas | 9:15 p.m. | ESPN 

Virginia Tech at Auburn | 9:15 p.m. | ESPN2

Georgia at Florida State | 9:15 p.m. | ACCN 

Boston College at Vanderbilt  | 9:15 p.m. | SECN

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