Ranked pairings highlight ACC-Big Ten challenge
Posted May 8, 2013
The 15th edition of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge will be a bigger battle than ever before as each conference continues to expand. With the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to the ACC, and the impending departure of Maryland to the Big Ten, the 2013 version will offer even more marquee matchups and intrigue than ever before.
Among the games headlining the slate this year will be three matchups of preseason ranked teams as Michigan visits Duke, North Carolina heads to Michigan State and Indiana makes a trip to ACC newcomer Syracuse.
North Carolina State will get a home game as they welcome Northwestern and new head coach Chris Collins, the former Duke assistant.
UNC last played Michigan State when the teams squared off aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the first ever Carrier Classic. The Tar Heels won that game 67-55 as President Barak Obama sat courtside. In the overall series, UNC holds an 11-3 edge, including 5-0 in the NCAA Tournament. In the challenge, the Heels and Spartans have met four previous times, splitting 2-2. UNC is 7-7 all-time in the event.
As for Duke and Michigan, the Blue Devils hold the all-time best record in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge at 12-2 and are 5-0 at Cameron – the only undefeated team on their home court in either conference (they are also 4-0 on neutral courts). Michigan is Duke’s most familiar opponent in the Big Ten with 29 previous meetings and the Blue Devils hold a decided 21-8 advantage. They last met in the 2011-12 season when Duke defeated the No. 15 Wolverines, 82-75, in Durham. Despite the multitude of encounters, the Wolverines and Blue Devils have never met in the ACC-Big Ten challenge.
For Collins, who is taking the reins at Northwestern after 14 seasons as a Duke assistant, a trip to Raleigh is the closest he will get to a homecoming in his first season away from the Blue Devils bench. Northwestern lost 15 of their last 19 games a year ago, including their final nine, and landed a notch above Penn State in the final Big Ten standings. NC State didn’t live up to lofty expectations, and despite making the NCAA tournament, were a first-round exit at the hands of Temple. NC State holds a 3-1 lead in the all-time series between the two programs.
A year ago, Duke was the only one of the three Triangle schools to gain a win in the cross-conference challenge as they defeated then-No. 4 Ohio State at Cameron Indoor. UNC fell at top-ranked Indiana and NC State lost at No. 3 Michigan.
The ACC holds a 10-3-1 edge in the 14-year history of the challenge and the game-series stands at 82-61 in favor of the ACC. However, the Big Ten has won three of the last four after spotting the ACC a 10-0 lead in the challenge. Last season was the first and only tie in the series as the ACC fell behind 4-2 on Day One before Boston College and Duke each won in the night session on Day Two to balance the ledger at 6-6.
Other matchups in this year’s event include Wisconsin at Virginia, Boston College at Purdue, Notre Dame at Iowa, Florida State at Minnesota, Penn State at Pittsburgh, Illinois at Georgia Tech, Maryland at Ohio State and Miami at Nebraska. Clemson, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest will not participate in the challenge as the ACC claims three more teams than the Big Ten.
This will be Maryland's final run in the challenge as an ACC member before joining the Big Ten next season. Louisville will replace them in the ACC next year. Nebraska is the newest team to the challenge having played in it just two times previously, going 1-1.
No Big Ten team holds a winning record in the challenge, although Illinois, Ohio State and Purdue all join Nebraska with .500 marks.
The family of ESPN networks will air all 12 games of the series to be played on Dec. 3 and 4.
Tuesday, December 3
Indiana at Syracuse
Michigan at Duke
Notre Dame at Iowa
Florida State at Minnesota
Penn State at Pittsburgh
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Wednesday, December 4
North Carolina at Michigan State
Maryland at Ohio State
Miami at Nebraska
Wisconsin at Virginia
Boston College at Purdue
Northwestern at NC State