Eighth Annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Matchups Set

May 2, 2006

Matchups for the eighth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge have been determined with the event featuring top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner's Cup. 

For the second consecutive year, the event will feature 11 games (an increase from nine in the six previous years) from 11 different college campuses and include two telecasts on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network.  ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise the remaining nine games.  This year's event will be played on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after Thanksgiving (November 27-29). 

Since 2000, these two conferences have combined to make 13 Final Four appearances and captured four of the last seven NCAA Championships. In addition, the ACC and Big Ten rank either first or second in all-time NCAA Tournament bids, victories and Final Four appearances.
2006 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Schedule (ALL TIMES ET)
Monday, Nov. 27
Michigan at N.C. State- 7 p.m.- ESPN2                                    

Tuesday, Nov. 28
Maryland at Illinois- 7 p.m.- ESPN                                      
Florida State at Wisconsin- 7:30 p.m.- ESPN2                                    
Penn State at Georgia Tech - 8 p.m.- ESPNU                                    
Indiana at Duke-9 p.m.- ESPN                                      
Miami at Northwestern- 9:30 p.m.- ESPN2                                    

Wednesday, Nov. 29
Michigan State at Boston College-7 p.m.-ESPN                                        
Virginia at Purdue-7:30 p.m.-ESPN2                                    
Iowa at Virginia Tech-8 p.m.-ESPNU                                     
Ohio State at North Carolina-9 p.m.-ESPN 
Clemson at Minnesota-9:30 p.m.-ESPN2                                    

2006 Challenge highlights:
Challenge Rematch: College basketball tradition-rich programs Duke and Indiana will meet for the second consecutive year Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. on ESPN.  The Hoosiers rank third all-time with five national titles, while the Blue Devils rank fifth with three.  Duke, the only team to go undefeated in the Challenge at 7-0, won last year's game 75-67.

Four Challenge Rematches: There will be four rematches from the previous seven Challenges: 
  - Michigan defeated N.C. State 68-61 (2003)
  - Maryland defeated Illinois 76-63 (2001)
  - Duke defeated Indiana 75-67 (2005)
  - Virginia defeated Purdue 98-79 (2000)

New Team to the Challenge: The ACC's Boston College will make its first Challenge appearance hosting Michigan State Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

ESPNU Televises Two Games: For the second consecutive year, ESPNU will televise two games, both at 8 p.m.: Penn State at Georgia Tech Tuesday, Nov. 28 and Iowa at Virginia Tech Wednesday, Nov. 29. 

Commissioner's Cup: The ACC has won the Commissioner's Cup seven straight years.

Last year's Duke at Indiana game was ESPN's highest-rated and most-viewed Challenge telecast ever, averaging a 2.5 rating and 2,285,000 households.  It surpassed the previous high of a 2.0 rating and 1,749,000 households for North Carolina at Indiana in 2004.

ESPN's coverage of the 2005 Big Ten/ACC Challenge experienced audience growth over the 2004 event.  ESPN's four telecasts in 2005 averaged a 1.7 rating and 1,493,000 households for increases of 6% (vs. 1.6) and 5% (vs. 1,423,000) over the four games in 2004.

Big Ten highlights include:
Nine Teams in Postseason:
Nine of the 11 Big Ten schools earned postseason berths this season with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin taking part in the 2006 NCAA Championship and Michigan, Minnesota and Penn State competing for the NIT title. The conference officially sent nine programs to the postseason for the first time in league history, although the Big Ten did advance nine teams to postseason play in both 2001 and 1993 before appearances were later vacated by Ohio State and Michigan, respectively.

History of NCAA Success:
Since the inception of the NCAA Tournament in 1939, the Big Ten has recorded the most appearances of any conference in the Big Dance with 174 (ACC, 160) and has the second-most NCAA Tournament victories with 277 (ACC, 316). The conference is tied with the ACC for the most Final Four appearances (38) and boasts the second-most national titles (10) in college basketball history. The Pac-10 leads the nation with 15 titles.

Final Four Frenzy: The Big Ten trails only the ACC (7) in Final Four appearances since 2000 with six league representatives reaching the national semifinals. The Big 12 follows with five appearances over that time span, followed by the SEC (3), Big East (2) and Pac-10 (2). Michigan State leads the Big Ten with three appearances (2000, 2001 and 2005), while Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002) and Wisconsin (2000) have each earned a Final Four spot in that time span.

Eight-Year Plan: Over the last eight NCAA Championships, Big Ten teams rank second in winning percentage, while finishing third among all conferences in victories. The Big Ten's winning percentage of .638 is second only to the ACC (.692), while the league ranks third with 67 triumphs behind the ACC (72) and Big East (71).

The Nation's Best Fans: The Big Ten has led the nation in total attendance in each of the last 29 years (through the 2004-05 season). During the 2005-06 campaign, the league broke the two-million mark in all games for the 14th straight year, while also reaching the one-million plateau for league games only for the 29th consecutive season. In 2005-06, a total of 2,186,322 patrons passed through the turnstiles for 176 games for an average attendance of 12,422. In league contests, 1,191,079 fans flocked to conference arenas for 88 games.

Non-Conference Success in 2005-06: The Big Ten closed the 2005-06 season with the best out-of-league winning percentage in over six years at .767 (115-35). With 115 wins in 2005-06, the league also posted the most non-conference victories since 2000-01 when the Big Ten tallied a 116-40 (.744) mark. During the 2005-06 campaign, the RPI Report rated the Big Ten No. 1 in 13 of the final 15 weeks, while Sagarin had the conference ranked as the top league 11 times during that stretch. The Big Ten concluded the 2005-06 season rated No. 2 in the RPI Report, while finishing third in the Sagarin ratings. It marks the highest finish for the conference since 2000-01 when the Big Ten ended the season ranked No. 1 in the RPI Report and No. 2 in the Sagarin ratings.

2005-06 Basketball Times Rankings: The Big Ten led the nation with all 11 teams ranked in the final Basketball Times Regular Season Schedule Rankings. The Big East followed with nine teams, while the ACC had 7 teams in the top 35. Indiana finished in second place (157.8) and Michigan State ranked third (155.6). Rounding out the Big Ten contingent were Iowa (14th-145.2), Michigan (15th-144.4), Purdue (16th-144.1), Minnesota (18th-143.2), Penn State (20th-142.8), Wisconsin (23rd-140.9), Illinois (27th-139.0), Ohio State (33rd-136.4) and Northwestern (35th-134.4).