2015 Big Ten/ACC Challenge Matchups Announced
May 13, 2015
2015 Final Four participants Wisconsin and Michigan State are among the teams in this season's 17th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge from November 30 to December 2.
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 14 games will also be available via WatchESPN.
Overall, the Challenge includes:
-Early attention: Nine programs ranked in an ESPN.com early preseason top 25 poll, highlighted by four of the top seven: No. 2 North Carolina, No. 4 Maryland, No. 5 Virginia, No. 7 Duke, No. 12 Michigan State, No. 13 Notre Dame, No. 14 Indiana, No. 21 Louisville and No. 25 Wisconsin. Three of the games will pit teams in the early rankings against each other: No. 4 Maryland at No. 2 North Carolina, No. 14 Indiana at No. 7 Duke and No. 21 Louisville at No. 12 Michigan State.
2015 Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule (times and networks will be announced at a later date):
Monday, Nov. 30
Tuesday, Dec. 1
Wednesday, Dec. 2
First Challenge Matchups: Eight of the 14 games will mark first-time Challenge matchups: Maryland at North Carolina, Wisconsin at Syracuse, Purdue at Pittsburgh, Louisville at Michigan State, Virginia at Ohio State, Notre Dame at Illinois, Wake Forest at Rutgers and Northwestern at Virginia Tech. Highlights:
o Louisville has won five of their nine games against Michigan State, but lost to the Spartans 76-70 in last year's Elite Eight.
o This season's Illinois and Notre Dame matchup will mark the 40th meeting between the programs ever, but the first since 2003. Illinois leads the series 26-13. o In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are infrequent opponents: Syracuse has won two of its three ever matchups against Wisconsin, including a 64-63 Sweet Sixteen victory in the 2012 NCAA Tournament; Ohio State and Virginia will meet for the fifth time ever and the first since 1981, which also marked the only time the Cavaliers beat the Buckeyes; and Purdue has won six of the 10 games against Pittsburgh, including the last meeting in 1977.
o In addition to meeting in the Challenge for the first time, Wake Forest at Rutgers and Northwestern at Virginia Tech will also be the first game between the programs ever.
Rubber Match: Boston College and Penn State will square off in the Challenge for the third time with each winning one game, both as the road team (Penn State in 2011 and Boston College in 2012).
The Big Ten captured the Commissioner's Cup last season, winning eight of the 14 matchups. 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.