ACC/Big Ten Challenge Expands to 14 Matchups this December
May 1, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
The 16th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, played
over three days from December 1-3, will be highlighted by an expanded format of 14
games - two more than previous Challenges - and the debut of Maryland and Rutgers as
members of the Big Ten, and Louisville with the ACC.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 14 games of the three-day event
matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the
Commissioners Cup. All 14 games will also be available via WatchESPN.
Three of the games will feature a showdown between teams ranked in an ESPN.com early
poll: No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina and No. 21
Syracuse at No. 24 Michigan. Additional teams in the Challenge that made the poll
include No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Louisville and No. 18 Michigan State.
All 14 Big Ten teams and 14 of the 15 ACC teams will participate in the 2014 Challenge.
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
2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule (times and networks will be announced in August):
Mon, Dec 1
Nebraska at Florida State
Rutgers at Clemson
Tue, Dec 2
No. 21 Syracuse at No. 24 Michigan
Ohio State at No. 8 Louisville
Pittsburgh at Indiana
NC State at Purdue
Illinois at Miami (Fla.)
Minnesota at Wake Forest
Wed, Dec 3
No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin
No. 18 Michigan State at Notre Dame
No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina
No. 7 Virginia at Maryland
Georgia Tech at Northwestern
Virginia Tech at Penn State
* Tourney Teams: 13 teams from the two conferences played in the 2014 NCAA
Championship: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and
Virginia from the ACC, and Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State and
Wisconsin from the Big Ten.
* First Challenge Matchups: Nine of the 14 games will mark first-time
Challenge matchups including Syracuse at Michigan, Michigan State at Notre Dame,
Iowa at North Carolina, Pittsburgh at Indiana, Illinois at Miami (Fla.) and Nebraska
at Florida State, plus three involving a new member of one of the conferences:
Rutgers (at Clemson) and Maryland (against former ACC foe Virginia) in the Big Ten
and Louisville (against Ohio State) in the ACC. Highlights:
* Michigan and Syracuse last met in a 2013 National Semifinal game from
Atlanta with the Wolverines defeating the Orange 61-56.
* Michigan State and Notre Dame will meet for the first time in 35 years when
the Spartans defeated the Irish 80-68 in the Regional Finals on its way to the
1979 National Championship.
* In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are
infrequent opponents: Iowa won two of its three matchups against North
Carolina, despite losing the last meeting in 2004; Illinois and Miami (Fla.)
have split their two previous meetings, with the Hurricanes winning the last
contest in 2012; Florida State holds a 1-0 record over Nebraska with a victory
in 2005; and Clemson will look to go 2-0 against Rutgers after a win in 1999.
* Seconds Please: Pittsburgh and Syracuse - two of the three ACC members that
played in the Challenge for the first time last season - will look for a second
consecutive win in the event (Pittsburgh defeated Penn State and Syracuse beat
Indiana). Notre Dame, which also made a Challenge debut last season, lost to Iowa.
* A First at 16: Maryland will appear in its first Challenge as a member of
the Big Ten after playing in the previous 15 events with the ACC, compiling a 10-5
record. Maryland will host Virginia in the Challenge, marking a rematch of the
Terrapins' 75-69 overtime victory in their final regular-season game as an ACC
* Rubber Match: Duke and Wisconsin will square off in the Challenge for the
third time with each winning one game, both as the home team (Duke in 2007 and
Wisconsin in 2009).
* Three's a Charm: Northwestern and NC State will look for a three-peat over
their 2014 Challenge opponents with the Wildcats defeating Georgia Tech in 2010 and
2011 and Wolfpack beating Purdue in 1999 and 2004.
* Looking for 14: Duke has won more Challenge games than any other team,
taking 13 of its 15 matchups with its only two losses coming to Wisconsin and Ohio
* Second Time Around: Minnesota and Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and Penn
State will play each other in the Challenge for the second time. Wake Forest (in
2001) and Penn State (in 2007), the home teams in the first meeting as well, won the