The matchups for the 2013 Big Ten-ACC Challenge were announced Tuesday. The series pairs teams from both conference for intriguing early-season non-conference matchups. The two conferences tied last year’s series, 6-6, and the ACC has not won the Challenge since the 2008-09 season.
As was the case before 2011, when the Big Ten had eleven members, the difference in size between the two conferences resulted in three Atlantic Coast Conference teams being left out of next season’s Challenge. Those teams are Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. The Tigers, Hokies, and Demon Deacons had the three worst RPI ratings of ACC teams.
Tuesday, December 3
Indiana at Syracuse
This will be a rematch of a Sweet Sixteen meeting this season, in which the No. 4 Orange defeated No. 1 Indiana 61-50. The Hoosiers lose four starters from a team that won the Big Ten regular season championship.
Michigan at Duke
Mitch McGary will pay a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium after spurning the Blue Devils and signing with Michigan. If the two teams are ranked in the top 10 at the time of the matchup, it will be the first such meeting between Duke and Michigan since December 11, 1993. When these two teams last met, Duke defeated Michigan 82-75 in the 2011 Maui Invitational.
Notre Dame at Iowa
The Hawkeyes defeated Virginia and Maryland in their run to the 2013 NIT final, and their reward will be a home game against one of the new ACC members. Iowa returns most of the key pieces from that NIT run, which makes them a sneaky good matchup for the Challenge.
Florida State at Minnesota
Florida State and Minnesota will meet for the fifth time in Challenge history. Last season, the Golden Gophers won 77-68 in Tallahassee. However, this year’s Minnesota squad has a new head coach (Richard Pitino) and loses Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe in the frontcourt. How Florida State fares could depend on whether or not they land Andrew Wiggins.
Penn State at Pittsburgh
Penn State was 2-16 in Big Ten play last season, losing their first 14 conference games. Pittsburgh will be suffering the loss of freshman starter Steven Adams and transfer Trey Zeigler, but this would appear to be a favorable draw for the Panthers and a battle of Pennsylvania rivals.
Illinois at Georgia Tech
DJ Richardson, Brandon Paul, and Tyler Griffey graduate from the Illinois team that lost to Miami in the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Georgia Tech started ACC play with an 0-5 record, but put together a rally of sorts to finish 6-12 in the conference.
Wednesday, December 4
North Carolina at Michigan State
The Tar Heels will hit the road for the second consecutive year in the Challenge, going to East Lansing to face Tom Izzo’s Spartans. Michigan State will likely be a preseason top-five team, and North Carolina shouldn’t be far behind in the early rankings.
Maryland at Ohio State
Ohio State will likely be one of the top teams in the Big Ten despite losing Deshaun Thomas. With Thomas and Maryland’s Alex Len gone, there will be some questions for both teams in the frontcourt, but the Buckeyes would seem to have more answers for now.
Miami at Nebraska
Fortunately for Miami, these matchups aren’t set entirely on previous year’s results. That would have paired the Hurricanes against Indiana despite having a team far different than the one that claimed the ACC in 2013. Instead, Miami will face a Nebraska team that was 5-13 in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin at Virginia
Last season, the Cavaliers defeated Wisconsin at the Kohl Center 60-54, behind 22 points from Joe Harris and 14 points from Darion Atkins. The two teams will meet again in 2013, this time at John Paul Jones Arena. The Badgers lose three starters, so Virginia should hold a considerable advantage in experience in this matchup.
Boston College at Purdue
Both Boston College and Purdue finished in the bottom half of their respective conferences with young lineups at their disposal. With another year of experience, both teams are looking to take a step forward
Northwestern at NC State
New Northwestern coach Chris Collins will see a familiar opponent in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The former Duke assistant’s Wildcats will face NC State in a Triangle reunion. Northwestern loses two senior starters from a team that was 13-19 last season, while NC State has question marks galore with the number of departures from their NCAA Tournament team.