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Top Players In 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge

This year's Big Ten-ACC Challenge will hope to once again live up to all of the hype surrounding it like it has done so many other times in the past. This year's challenge is sure to come down to the very end in order to decide a winner or possibly a tie. Each matchup is very even, and each day has a marquee, late-night game to make any college basketball fan beg for the first tip. No. 22 Michigan is at No. 6 Duke on Tuesday night and No. 16 North Carolina is at No. 1 Michigan State Wednesday night. With such amazing matchups ahead of us, there are plenty of individual stars that America will get to see blossom in front of their eyes; here are a few of them.

 

Rayvonte Rice, G (Illinois)        Tuesday, Dec. 3: Illinois at Georgia Tech 7:15pm ET/6:15pm CT

Rice has been the Illini's secret weapon for the 2013-2014 season. He sat out all of last year since he transferred from Drake in 2012. He has made quite the impression on the Illinois faithful through the first seven games of this year. He is averaging a team-high 17.1 PPG, along with 6.3 RPG and a total of nine steals on the season already. Rice showed his athleticism and scoring ability during his two years with Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference, now he hopes to bring that to an even more competitive national stage at Illinois. Watch for him to slice through the defense and get to the basket at all costs against Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.

 

C.J. Fair, F (Syracuse)          Tuesday, Decmeber 3: Indiana at Syracuse 7:15pm ET/6:15pm CT

After stomping the competition at this year's Maui Invitational, the Syracuse Orange and C.J. Fair will take on the Indiana Hoosiers Tuesday night in a rematch of last March's Sweet Sixteen thriller. Fair was named the Tournament MVP of the Maui Invitaitonal and is averaging 18.0 PPG and a little over 36 minutes per game. He is an all-around athlete who dictates the game with his tremendous ability to get in the paint and score. Look for him to exploit Indiana's younger defense on Tuesday, this should be a good one.

 

Nik Stauskas, G (Michigan)    Tuesday, December 3: #22 Michigan at #6 Duke 9:15pm ET/ 8:15pm CT

In one of the best matchups during the whole Challenge, Michigan's rough and tumble team will take on Duke's extremely talented attack. Nik Stauskas wants to go into Duke and come out with a "W". He has really proved himself as one of the best three-point shooters in the country. His lights out shooting occured all through last season and it has carried over to 2013. He is averaging 20.3 PPG and shooting a ridiculous 47.8% from beyond the arc. He's a guy you can rely on and if this game comes down to a final shot for Michigan, I would put money on Stauskas taking it and draining it for the upset victory tonight at Cameron Indoor.

 

Jabari Parker, F (Duke)     Tuesday, December 3: #22 Michigan at #6 Duke 9:15pm ET/ 8:15pm CT

On the other end of the Michigan-Duke spectrum, there is one of the most dynamic players in the entire country. If you haven't heard, which I'm sure you have, his name is Jabari Parker and he is quickly making a statement as to why he should be the number one pick in next year's NBA Draft. Parker was expected to play great and make impressive plays throughout the year, but through Duke's first eight games he has exceeded those expectations and some of the highlights he has produced have been off the charts. Not only can he defend just about any player on the court, but this 6' 8" Freshmen can jump out of the gym and hit just about any jumper he pleases. Look for him to possibly be the star of the show Tuesday night against the Wolverines.

 

Aaron Craft, G (Ohio State)         Wed., December 4: Maryland at #7 Ohio State 7:00pm ET/6:00pm CT

Craft is arguably one of the best point guards in the nation. His quickness and, dare I say it, "craftiness" have made him nearly impossible to defend. He is the definition of a floor general the way he dictates the flow of the game and dishes out assists one after the other. Through five games for the Buckeyes he has 27 assists and is averaging 10.4 PPG. He will look to continue his tear Wednesday night and attempt to push his team even farther up the rankings.

 

Gary Harris, G (Michigan State)         Wed., December 4: #16 UNC at #1 MSU 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT

Harris was tabbed the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, so he already has some high expectations. He has done a pretty good job of meeting those expectations. Harris is averaging 17.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 30 minutes of play this year. His athletic ability is through the roof and he has a knack for making big plays. With him coupled in the backcourt with Keith Appling, look for the Spartans to play a terrific game of basketball Wednesday night against a solid opponent in North Carolina.

 

Marcus Paige, G (North Carolina)     Wed., December 4: #16 UNC at #1 MSU 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT

Paige has been putting up big numbers already this season and he doesn't look like he's stopping any time soon. He is averaging 20.8 PPG, he has 23 assists, and is shooting 44.7% from three-poin land. Paige has been the power surge in the Tarheel's attack this year. Wednesday night's test against a very deep and defensive-minded Michigan State team should be very intriguing to watch.