Hoops Heaven: 20th Annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Matchups Set

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Hoops Heaven: 20th Annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Matchups Set

  • Two Potential Top-25 Matchups, Including UNC-Michigan and Purdue-Florida State
  • Freshman Showdown as Indiana visits Duke; Matchup to Feature Four of Top Five Players in ESPN 100
  • Ten Teams Ranked in ESPN.com’s Latest Way-Too-Early Top 25 Preseason Poll

The matchups for the 2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, in its 20th year, are set and will be played across three days, beginning Monday, Nov. 26. Highlighting this year’s Challenge are two potential top-25 matchups – No. 8 UNC facing No. 17 Michigan and No. 25 Purdue playing No. 18 Florida State – as well as a freshman showdown between Indiana and No. 2 Duke, reigning ACC champion No. 7 Virginia facing Maryland, No. 16 Syracuse visiting Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan State playing Louisville. The Challenge matches all 14 Big Ten teams against all but one ACC member. Tip times and network assignments will be announced at a later date.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 14 games of the event, matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner’s Cup. All games will also be available to stream via the ESPN app.

Ten teams are ranked in Myron Metcalf’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 preseason poll on ESPN.com: No. 2 Duke, No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 UNC, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Michigan, No. 18 Florida State, No. 20 Clemson and No. 25 Purdue.

Schedule Highlights

  • Several games are rematches from prior Challenges: Georgia Tech-Northwestern, Indiana-Duke and UNC-Michigan, who all met in last year’s Challenge; Nebraska-Clemson and Rutgers-Miami (Fla.) in 2016; Michigan State-Louisville and Illinois-Notre Dame (2015); Virginia Tech-Penn State and Virginia-Maryland (2014); NC State-Wisconsin (2010), and Purdue-Florida State, who haven’t met in this event since 2005
  • Three games will have first-time Challenge matchups: Syracuse-Ohio State, Minnesota-Boston College and Pitt-Iowa
  • Duke has won more Challenge games than any other team, taking 17-of-19 matchups with its only two losses coming to Wisconsin (2009) and Ohio State (2011)

Team Highlights

  • Thirteen teams competed in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship: Final Four team Michigan, Elite Eight teams Duke and Florida State, Sweet 16 teams Clemson, Purdue and Syracuse, as well as early-round teams Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, NC State, Ohio State, UNC, Virginia and Virginia Tech
  • The Challenge field has eight players ranked in the top 25 of the 2018 ESPN Recruiting Nation 100, including six of the top 10: No. 1 R.J. Barrett (Duke), No. 2 Zion Williamson (Duke), No. 3 Cam Reddish (Duke), No. 5 Romeo Langford (Indiana), No. 6 Nassir Little (UNC), No. 10 Jalen Smith (Maryland), No. 17 Tre Jones (Duke) and No. 21 Coby White (UNC)
  • Duke boasts the No. 1 incoming class with the top three players in the ESPN 100, followed by No. 7 UNC, No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 11 Indiana, No. 13 Maryland, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 16 Michigan and No. 20 Ohio State in the top 20 of the 2018 ESPN Recruiting Nation Class Rankings

2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Schedule (networks & times will be announced at a later date)

Monday, November 26

  • Minnesota at Boston College
  • Nebraska at No. 20 Clemson

Tuesday, November 27

  • Indiana at No. 2 Duke
  • Illinois at Notre Dame
  • No. 9 Michigan State at Louisville
  • Pitt at Iowa
  • NC State at Wisconsin
  • No. 14 Virginia Tech at Penn State

Wednesday, November 28

  • No. 16 Syracuse at Ohio State
  • No. 8 North Carolina at No. 17 Michigan
  • No. 25 Purdue at No. 18 Florida State
  • Rutgers at Miami (Fla.)
  • No. 7 Virginia at Maryland
  • Georgia Tech at Northwestern

The ACC took home the Commissioner’s Cup in the last two Challenges, with 11 wins in 2017 and nine wins in 2016. The Big Ten won eight of the 14 matchups in 2014 and 2015, and 2012 and 2013 were both ties. Since its inception, the ACC has won 12 Challenges, while the Big Ten has won five.



Anna Negron

It was always a dream of mine to work at ESPN, and here I am! I joined the College Sports PR team in March 2016. Hailing from the great Garden State, I graduated from Seton Hall University (Go Pirates!) with a degree in sport management, where I not only sang the National Anthem at games, but was also a member of the Seton Hall Sapphires Dance Team and a student reporter for Pirate Sports Network. Before joining ESPN, I served as a Public Relations Associate for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
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