Kentucky is still basking in the glow of their National Championship win, but the rest of us have already started thinking about next year’s basketball season. One indication that we’re moving forward: the matchups have been set for the 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Nov. 27-28.
All 12 games will be featured on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, and the programs will be playing for conference bragging rights and the Commissioners Cup.
The 2012 Challenge involves nine teams ranked in an ESPN.com early preseason top 25, which as we all know means next to nothing. Tons of things could occur between now and October, but I would be remiss not to list the rankings associated with the ACC and B1G teams, five of which are in the top 10: No. 1 Indiana, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 NC State, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan State. The only thing that might be accurate is that four out of five come from the Big Ten, but I’m not biased or anything.
The ACC won the first 10 Challenges while the Big Ten captured the Commissioner Cup for the last three years, including an eight to four win advantage over the ACC last year. In the event of a 6-6 tie, the Commissioner’s Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year. In case you’re not following, that means it stays with the Big Ten.
2012 Challenge Fun Facts:
- Duke, which has won 11 of its 13 Challenge games, will host Ohio State in the quest for an event-record 12th victory. Duke lost to Ohio State last year and to Wisconsin in 2009.
- Four of the games will feature first-time Challenge matchups: Virginia at No. 22 Wisconsin, Maryland at Northwestern, No. 9 Michigan State at Miami and Georgia Tech at Illinois.
- In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are infrequent opponents: Michigan State and Miami have never met; Northwestern and Maryland played one other time, a Northwestern victory in 1958; Virginia and Wisconsin split its two games, Virginia in 1975 and Wisconsin in 1999; and Illinois has defeated Georgia Tech in six of its seven games, including the last one in 2001.
- Eleven teams between the two conferences played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia from the ACC, and Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin from the Big Ten.
- Boston College and Penn State and Nebraska and Wake Forest will follow first-time Challenge meetings with a second consecutive matchup.
- Five of the games will mark three-time Challenge matchups: North Carolina at Indiana (Indiana win in 2001 and North Carolina in 2004), NC State at Michigan (Michigan win in 2003 and NC State in 2006), Ohio State at Duke (Duke win in 2002 and Ohio State in 2011), Iowa at Virginia Tech (won by Virginia Tech in 2006 and 2009) and Purdue at Clemson (Purdue win in 2003 and Clemson in 2007).
- Three and one more: Minnesota and Florida State will meet for the fourth time (Minnesota won in 2000 and Florida State in 2004 and 2007).
2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule:
Tue, Nov 27
No. 13 North Carolina at No. 1 Indiana
No. 6 NC State at No. 5 Michigan
No. 25 Minnesota at Florida State
Maryland at Northwestern
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Nebraska at Wake Forest
Wed, Nov 28
No. 8 Ohio State at No. 15 Duke
Virginia at No. 22 Wisconsin
No. 9 Michigan State at Miami
Purdue at Clemson
Georgia Tech at Illinois