Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Ranking the 16 matchups for 2024 ACC/SEC Challenge

Alabama v North Carolina
Alabama v North Carolina / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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10. Pittsburgh at Mississippi State

Last season, Mississippi State was led by the frontcourt duo of Tolu Smith and Jimmy Bell Jr. Now, it’s the backcourt that has the starts, led by returning freshman star Josh Hubbard, along with transfers Kanye Clary (Penn State), Riley Kugel (Florida), and Claudell Harris Jr. (BC). 

We’ll have to see how the chemistry works with the guards, along with seeing how Pittsburgh looks without its two stars, Blake Hinson, and guard Bub Carrington. Jaland Lowe could be a breakout sophomore candidate, while transfers Damian Dunn and Cam Corhen could be impact starters. These are rosters who both could be in NCAAT contention and as the Panthers found out the hard way, losing in the challenge could prove fatal for their postseason hopes.

9. Syracuse at Tennessee

The Orange could be one of the bigger underdogs among the future challenge spreads, going on the road at Tennessee. They don’t have Judah Mintz around but JJ Starling could thrive as the clear lead guard. Colorado transfer Eddie Lampkin gives them a badly needed interior focal point inside as well.

But Tennessee expects to be a top-15 team once again, despite losing Dalton Knecht and three other starters. Zakai Zeigler is surrounded by impact-scoring transfers Chaz Lanier Darlinstone and Felix Okpara and should have plenty of perimeter depth again. It’ll be a tough task for Coach Red Autry when they face off.