Duke, UNC to play in ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3
ESPN has finalized the time and network designations for the 16th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge early-season men’s basketball showdowns.
ESPN networks will combine to cover every game of the events showcasing the premier conferences during the first week of December. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise the 14 games of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge — including all 14 Big Ten schools and 14 of 15 ACC teams — from Monday, Dec. 1 through Wednesday, Dec. 3.
The ACC and Big Ten have split the past two events, winning six Challenge games each in 2012 and 2013. In the event of a tie, the Commissioner’s Cup remains with the conference that won the previous year, which was the Big Ten in 2011. The ACC won the first 10 Challenges (1999-2008), while the Big Ten won the next three (2009-2011).
ACC/Big Ten Challenge features:
— Nine teams in the ESPN.com men’s preseason top 25 poll: No. 2 Duke, No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Louisville, No. 18 Michigan, No. 21 Syracuse, No. 24 Michigan and No. 25 Iowa.
— The potential of three top-25 matchups:
— No. 21 Syracuse travels to No. 24 Michigan on Tuesday, for a 7:30 p.m. tilt on ESPN.
— No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina on Wednesday, also at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
— A Challenge culmination of No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin on Wednesday, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
— No. 8 Louisville — in its first year as an ACC member — hosts Ohio State on Tuesday, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Also competing in the Challenge, No. 7 Virginia plays at former ACC opponent Maryland at 9:15 p.m. on ESPN2.
Wednesday night also features No. 18 Michigan State at Notre Dame at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Challenge schedule includes 10 of the top 25 teams in ESPN’s RecruitingNation Class Rankings: No. 1 Duke, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Louisville, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Maryland, No. 18 NC State, No. 19 Virginia Tech, No. 21 Indiana, No. 23 Syracuse and No. 25 Purdue.
Nine ACC and eight Big Ten teams participated in the 2014 postseason:
The ACC had seven teams — Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse and Virginia — earn NCAA Championship berths, while Clemson and Florida State advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) semifinals.
The Big Ten saw Wisconsin advance to the Final Four, in addition to Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State earning NCAA berths.
Minnesota captured the 2014 NIT title and Illinois was a second-round participant.
Previous notes on the ACC/Big Ten Challenge participants:
2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Mon, Dec 1
Nebraska at Florida State
Rutgers at Clemson
Tue, Dec 2
Pittsburgh at Indiana
Minnesota at Wake Forest
No. 21 Syracuse at No. 24 Michigan
Illinois at Miami
ESPN2 or ESPNU
NC State at Purdue
ESPN2 or ESPNU
Ohio State at No. 8 Louisville
Wed, Dec 3
No. 18 Michigan State at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at Penn State
No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina
No. 7 Virginia at Maryland
Georgia Tech at Northwestern
No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin