Times and Networks Announced for Annual ACC/Big Ten & SEC/Big 12 Challenges

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Times and Networks Announced for Annual ACC/Big Ten & SEC/Big 12 Challenges

ACC/Big Ten Challenge closes out November; SEC/Big 12 Challenge to be played Jan. 28

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge and SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic early-season men’s basketball events will be played across ESPN networks showcasing every game beginning on Monday, Nov. 28 through Wednesday, Nov. 30 and on a common bye date of Saturday, Jan. 28, respectively.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise the 14 games of the 18th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge – including all Big Ten schools and all but one member from the ACC – to close out November.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will present the 10 games of the fourth-annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge showcasing 10 of 14 SEC schools and all 10 Big 12 programs on the common bye date during the conference schedule. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Schedule highlights:

  • Two rematches from the 2015 Challenge – 17 Syracuse at No. 9 Wisconsin, a 66-58 overtime Badger victory, and Ohio State at No. 7 Virginia, with the Cavaliers topping the Buckeyes 64-58.
  • Four potential top-25 matchups: No. 17 Syracuse at No. 9 Wisconsin; No. 13 Michigan State at No. 1 Duke; No. 6 North Carolina at No. 8 Indiana and No. 16 Purdue at No. 5 Louisville.
  • Seven games will have first-time Challenge matchups: Wake Forest-Northwestern; Pittsburgh-Maryland; NC State-Illinois; Virginia Tech-Michigan; Purdue-Louisville; Rutgers-Miami and Nebraska-Clemson.
  • Duke has won more Challenge games than any other team, taking 15-of-17 matchups with its only two losses coming to Wisconsin (2009) and Ohio State (2011).

Team highlights:

  • A total of 10 teams – five from each conference – are ranked in Eamonn Brennan’s com early preseason top 25 poll: No. 1 Duke; No. 5 Louisville; No. 6 North Carolina; No. 7 Virginia; No. 8 Indiana; No. 9 Wisconsin; No. 13 Michigan State; No. 14 Maryland; No. 16 Purdue and No. 17 Syracuse.
  • Fourteen teams competed in the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship: NCAA runner-up North Carolina; Final Four team Syracuse; Elite Eight teams Notre Dame and Virginia; Sweet 16 teams Duke, Indiana, Maryland, Miami and Wisconsin, as well as early-round participants Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Purdue.
  • The Challenge field has nine players ranked in the top 25 of 2016 ESPN Recruiting Nation 100, including four of the top 10: No. 1 Harry Giles (PF, Duke); No. 3 Jayson Tatum (SF, Duke); No. 8 Miles Bridges (SF, Michigan State) and No. 10 Frank Jackson (PG, Duke).
  • Duke fields the No. 2-ranked incoming class, Michigan State stands at No. 3, Virginia is No. 8 and Florida State, North Carolina, Miami and Syracuse stand at No. 12, 13, 14 and 15, respectively, in the top 15 of the 2016 ESPN Recruiting Nation Class Rankings.

The Big Ten captured the Commissioner’s Cup in 2015 and 2014, winning eight of the 14 matchups both years. The two conferences split the previous two events, winning six Challenge games each in 2012 and 2013. The ACC won the first 10 Challenges (1999-2008), while the Big Ten won the next three (2009-2011). In the event of a tie, the Commissioner’s Cup remains with the conference that won the previous year. The ACC holds the 10-5-2 winning record in the previous 17 years.

2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Mon, Nov 28 7 p.m. Minnesota at Florida State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Wake Forest at Northwestern ESPNU
Tues, Nov 29 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at No. 14 Maryland ESPN2
    Georgia Tech at Penn State ESPNU
7:30 pm. No. 17 Syracuse at No. 9 Wisconsin ESPN
  9 p.m. Iowa at Notre Dame ESPN2
    NC State at Illinois ESPNU
  9:30 p.m. No. 13 Michigan State at No. 1 Duke ESPN
Wed, Nov 30 7 p.m. No. 16 Purdue at No. 5 Louisville ESPN
  Virginia Tech at Michigan ESPN2
  Rutgers at Miami ESPNU
9 p.m. No. 6 North Carolina at No. 8 Indiana ESPN
  Ohio State at No. 7 Virginia ESPN2
  Nebraska at Clemson ESPNU

SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Schedule highlights:

  • The same teams return from last year’s Challenge with only one rematch – Kentucky and Kansas, who played to a 90-84 overtime Jayhawk victory.
  • Georgia is appearing in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge for the second time, while Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M are playing for the third time.
  • All of the Big 12 schools plus the SEC’s Auburn, Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have participated in each of the last three Challenges.
  • Two potential top-25 matchups include No. 4 Kansas at No. 3 Kentucky and No. 19 Texas A&M at No. 15 West Virginia.
  • First-time Challenge matchups for Texas-Georgia, Baylor-Ole Miss, Texas A&M-West Virginia, Florida-Oklahoma, Iowa State-Vanderbilt, Arkansas-Oklahoma State, Auburn-TCU and LSU-Texas Tech.
  • Kansas State and Tennessee last met in the Challenge in 2014.
  • Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina will not be competing in this year’s Challenge.

Team highlights:

  • A total of six teams are ranked in Eamonn Brennan’s com early preseason top 25 poll: No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Kansas, No. 15 West Virginia, No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 22 Iowa State.
  • Ten teams competed in the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship: Final Four participant Oklahoma; Elite Eight team Kansas; Sweet 16 teams Texas A&M and Iowa State, as well as Baylor, Kentucky, Texas, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.
  • The Challenge field has eight players ranked in the top 25 of 2016 ESPN Recruiting Nation 100, including four of the top 10: No. 2 Josh Jackson (SF, Kansas); No. 5 Bam Adebayo (PF, Kentucky); No. 6 De’Aaron Fox (PG, Kentucky) and No. 9 Malik Monk (SG, Kentucky).
  • Kentucky fields the No. 1-ranked incoming class, Mississippi State stands at No. 4 and Kansas is No. 6 in the top 10 of the 2016 ESPN Recruiting Nation Class Rankings.

The 2016 Challenge, set for the first time on a common bye date of January 30 during conference play – saw the Big 12 winning seven of the matchups. The Big 12 won six of the 10 matchups in the multi-day event in 2014 and the inaugural event in 2013 was won by the Big 12 with seven victories.

2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic schedule

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Sat, Jan 28 Noon No. 19 Texas A&M at No. 15 West Virginia ESPN
  2 p.m. Florida at No. 18 Oklahoma ESPN
    Kansas State at Tennessee ESPN2
  LSU at Texas Tech ESPNU
4 p.m. Texas at Georgia ESPN
    No. 22 Iowa State at Vanderbilt ESPN2
    Arkansas at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  6 p.m. No. 4 Kansas at No. 3 Kentucky ESPN
    Baylor at Ole Miss ESPN2
    Auburn at TCU ESPNU

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Rachel Margolis Siegal

As part of the College Sports PR team at ESPN, it has been an exciting adventure for me since I joined the worldwide leader in July 2010, working on college football, college basketball, college lacrosse and WNBA properties. I began my love of sports as the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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