Earlier this afternoon, Jon Rothstein of CBSSports released reports on the schedule for the upcoming 2016 Big Ten-ACC Challenge and this year's schedule looks particularly enticing. The games feature plenty of high profile matchups and a few that could have major impacts on NCAA Tournament seeding.
Last year's Challenge was won by the Big Ten with an 8-6 overall record. The conference didn't do all that well in the marquee games, but it did very well with the rest of the slate, including wins by Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin against some intriguing competition.
Given last year's great success, this year's event looks even more exciting. Here is the reported slate below:
2016 Big Ten-ACC Schedule:
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Iowa Hawkeyes at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Michigan State Spartans at Duke Blue Devils
- Minnesota Golden Gophers at Florida State Seminoles
- Nebraska Cornhuskers at Clemson Tigers
- North Carolina Tar Heels at Indiana Hoosiers
- North Carolina State Wolfpack at Illinois Fighting Illini
- Ohio State Buckeyes at Virginia Cavaliers
- Pittsburgh Panthers at Maryland Terrapins
- Purdue Boilermakers at Louisville Cardinals
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Miami Hurricanes
- Syracuse Orange at Wisconsin Badgers
- Virginia Tech Hokies at Michigan Wolverines
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Northwestern Wildcats
Let's start with the big ones. Obviously, all eyes are going to go on those Indiana and Michigan State matchups. The Hoosiers will get to host the Tar Heels in a rematch of last year's Sweet Sixteen and the Spartans will get to travel to Cameron and face a Duke team. Each is going to have major attention early next season and it's almost pointless to get too far into those games considering how good they look on paper.
Outside of those two, this slate also has a few other intriguing games. The Purdue trip to Louisville looks like it could be a clash of nationally competitive teams, Iowa at Notre Dame should feature two teams trying to find their way after losing a lot this offseason, and Syracuse traveling to Wisconsin should be epic considering both teams made the Sweet 16 last season.
However, on the flip side, there are a few games that look a bit underwhelming. Slating Miami against Rutgers looks like a big letdown and even though Michigan and Virginia Tech could be good on paper, that's not going to draw nearly as much attention as it should simply due to the names attached.
As a final note, one game that could be surprisingly good is Georgia Tech's trip to Penn State. With Josh Pastner, the Yellow Jackets could be taking a step forward this season and the Nittany Lions are set to improve massively in talent this offseason. As such, that very well could be a game that ends up being one of the better games of the event.
Overall, it looks like a solid slate of games that should pose another great chapter in this non-conference event.
[Editor's Note: A previous version of this article discussed Purdue traveling to Virginia and Ohio State facing Louisville, which turned out to be inaccurate.]