Originally written on Sports-Glory  |  Last updated 3/5/15

For the first time in over 10 years, an unranked, non-conference opponent marched into East Lansing and defeated Tom Izzo and mighty Michigan State, as the North Carolina Tar Heels knocked off the top-ranked Spartans 79-65 in the second and final night of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Led by 15 points and seven rebounds from freshman Kennedy Meeks, and a career-high 10 rebounds and 12 points from J.P. Tokoto, the Tar Heels bullied their usually-aggressive hosts on Wednesday night, earning the win after a strong second half in which they outscored Michigan State 47-33. Now 5-2, North Carolina has been wildly unpredictable this season with impressive victories over top programs such as Michigan State and Louisville one night, which are then followed by losses to mediocre mid-majors such as Belmont and UAB the next. Senior Adreian Payne’s 16 points and eight rebounds led the way for Michigan State who falls to 7-1 with the loss, and the Spartans will resume their schedule on Saturday, December 14th, when they travel to the University of Oakland to face the Grizzlies in a non-conference tilt. While many feel that top-25 rankings from the Associated Press, ESPN-USA Today, and the coaches poll are meaningless throughout the regular season, those who believe otherwise could argue that North Carolina’s upset win over the top-ranked Spartans wouldn’t have held nearly as much importance without them. Thad Matta and fifth-ranked Ohio State were also victorious on Wednesday, using a stellar defensive effort led by senior point guard Aaron Craft and a 43-26 halftime lead to dispose of the unranked Terrapins 76-60, in Maryland’s (5-3) final appearance in the challenge as a member of the ACC. With the win, Ohio State improves to 7-0 and are one of the favorites to become the new number-one program on Monday after the Michigan State loss. In other ACC-Big Ten challenge action, Bo Ryan earned his 300th victory as head coach of the eighth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers, who dominated a low-scoring affair in a 48-38 win over Virginia. Josh Gasser’s 10 points led the Badgers who held the Cavaliers to their lowest point total since 1993, and remain a perfect 9-0 while Virginia fell to 7-2 in the loss. TJ Warren’s 22 points and eight rebounds propelled North Carolina State (5-2) to a 69-48 win over visiting Northwestern (4-5), who was led by senior Drew Crawford’s 17 points and nine rebounds, Purdue (7-2) took a 49-34 lead into halftime of their dominating performance against Boston College (3-5), holding on for the win behind Terone Johnson’s 18 points and easily defeating the Eagles 88-67 who were led by Olivier Hanlan’s 15 points and eight-rebound performance. The rejuvenated Nebraska Cornhusker (6-2) basketball program also added a another win to their resume during the challenge after holding off a strong second half effort from Miami (5-4) to outlast the Hurricanes for the 60-49 victory. For the second straight year, the event ended in a 6-6 tie that did little to give either conference the advantage in terms of bragging rights or overall talent, and the Commissioners Cup which is awarded to the winner, will again be retained by the Big 10 who won the challenge in 2011. The post North Carolina upsets top-ranked Michigan State appeared first on Sports Glory.

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