Monday, February 26, 2024

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

The ACC/SEC Challenge continues Wednesday with two headlining matchups as No. 7 Duke travels to face Arkansas and No. 10 Tennessee battles No. 17 North Carolina in the lone Top 25 matchup of the night.

Seven games were played Tuesday and seven more will be played Wednesday. Earlier this summer, CBS Sports ranked every game in the two-day event and Duke’s matchup with Arkansas checked in as the top-ranked game in the two-day event.

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 ACC/SEC Challenge scores

  • No. 12 Kentucky 95, No. 8 Miami 73: The Wildcats had the most impressive showing of any team on Day 1. Kentucky outscored Miami 53-36 in the second half to secure a statement win. Five Kentucky players scored in double figures and Reed Sheppard had a team-high 19 points off the bench. Star freshman Justin Edwards scored 11 points on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting.
  • Syracuse 80, LSU 57: Speaking of big wins, the Orange secured the biggest victory of the Adrian Autry era by knocking off the Tigers at the JWA Wireless Dome. Star guard Judah Mintz exploded for a season-high 33 points and added five rebounds and five assists in the victory.
  • Missouri 71, Pitt 64: The Tigers went on the road and knocked off the Panthers behind 21 points from Sean East ll. After suffering a devastating home loss to Jackson State earlier this month, Mizzou appears to be back on track.
  • South Carolina 65, Notre Dame 53: Gamecocks star Meechie Johnson scored a career-high 29 points in the 65-53 win over the Fighting Irish. South Carolina improved to 6-0 on the season, which is its best start since the 2016-17. After Notre Dame took a two point lead midway through the second half, South Carolina closed the game on a 27-13 run.
  • Georgia Tech 67, No. 21 Mississippi State 59: The Yellow Jackets upset the No. 21 Bulldogs behind a 22-point, 12-rebound outing from Myles Kelly. MSU started the season 6-0 and has been without potential All-American big man Tolu Smith due to injury.
  • Ole Miss 72, NC State 52: The Rebels improved to 6-0 in the Chris Beard era with a blow out win over NC State at him in Oxford, Mississippi. Ole Miss forward Jaemyn Brakefield scored a season-high 25 points and Allen Flanigan recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Tuesday’s ACC/SEC Challenge picks

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern 

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 ACC/SEC Challenge picks

No. 10 Tennessee at No. 17 North Carolina 

Time: 7:15 p.m.  | TV: ESPN | Live streamfubo (try for free)

The lone matchup on the Wednesday slate between Top 25 teams features Tennessee traveling to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to face the Tar Heels. Tennessee is coming off a 1-2 showing at the Maui Invitational after losses to Purdue and Kansas. The Vols looked sharp during the second half in their lone win of the tournament over Syracuse and have another test in the early part of the season in a hostile environment. As for UNC, they bounced back from its first loss of the season against Villanova by knocking off Arkansas behind a dominant second half. UNC playing this game at the comforts of home gives them the edge. Pick: UNC -1

No. 14 Texas A&M at Virginia 

Time: 7:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN2 | Live streamfubo (try for free)

Virginia and Texas A&M will meet for only the second time ever Wednesday when the Aggies travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to face the Cavaliers. Virginia will face its first ranked opponent of the season and will look to make a statement after suffering a 24-point loss to Wisconsin at the Fort Myers Tip-Off. As for Texas A&M, preseason All-American candidate Wade Taylor lV has been as good as advertised and is averaging 20 points through the first seven games of the young season. He will be the X-Factor if they want to secure a major win away from College Station, Texas. Pick: Texas A&M +1.5

Florida at Wake Forest 

Time: 7:15 p.m. | TV: ESPNU | Live streamfubo (try for free)

Wake Forest will face its third SEC opponent of the season Wednesday when they host Florida. The Demon Deacons have already suffered losses to Georgia and LSU this season and this should be a  golden opportunity to get a key win on their resume before conference play starts next month. Florida is coming off a close loss to Baylor in the NIT Season Tip-Off and this will mark its fourth ACC opponent they have faced this season after going 2-1 against Virginia, Florida State and Pitt. Pick: Florida -4

No. 7 Duke at Arkansas 

Time: 9:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Live streamfubo (try for free)

When the SEC/ACC Challenge schedule dropped this past summer, this game was ranked as the top matchup on the slate. Although Arkansas comes into this game with three losses already, playing a game against Duke in front of a rowdy crowd at Bud Walton Arena will be must-watch TV. Duke has been tested already with games against Arizona and Michigan State, but this could end up being the toughest because they’re away from home in this one. Pick: Duke -4.5

Virginia Tech at Auburn 

Time: 9:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN2 | Live streamfubo (try for free)

If you haven’t watched Auburn freshman guard Aden Holloway play, now would be the perfect time to start. He’s considered one of the best true point guards in his class and is averaging 13.2 points and 3.8 assists. Virginia Tech also has a star (experienced) guard of its own in Sean Pedulla, who is averaging 15.9 points and 5.1 assists. This game will be close throughout, but Auburn should pull away at the end. Pick: Auburn -9.5

Georgia at Florida State

Time: 9:15 p.m. | TV: ACCN | Live streamfubo (try for free)

Georgia has been battle tested. They come into this game with a 3-3 record, but those losses have come at the hands of Oregon, Miami and Providence. As for Florida State, they’re coming off its biggest win of the season over an experienced Colorado roster that’s expected to compete for the Pac-12 title this spring. As is the case for most of these matchups, the X-Factor will be FSU playing in front on its home court. Pick: Florida State -7.5

Boston College at Vanderbilt 

Time: 9:15 p.m. | TV: SECN | Live streamfubo (try for free)

After starting the season 4-0, Boston College comes into this one riding a two-game skid after losses to Colorado State and Loyola Chicago at the Hall of Fame Classic. Vanderbilt started the season with an inexcusable loss to Presbyterian and like Boston College, they’re also coming off consecutive losses. Something will have to give here. Vanderbilt guard Ezra Manjon is due for a big night and he should help propel the Commodores to end the ACC/SEC Challenge on a high note. Pick: Vanderbilt -2

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