For a while now, we've known who will be participating in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and what the matchups are. Every team from both conferences will lineup for their respective tip-offs and decide amongst themselves which conference is superior. Major names in college basketball will play in these early season non conference games providing college basketball fans all over the country with fun matchups and high level college ball.
What we didn't know was when they would play and where to catch the action. Well now we know everything there is to know about these contests. Per BigTen.org, all the games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) starting on Monday, November 28th. All 14 matchups will be played over three days with the earliest matchups beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern time. The two most intriguing matchups will air as the night cap for the final two nights of the challenge on ESPN.
If it isn't obvious, the two biggest games on the slate are Michigan State at Duke and North Carolina at Indiana. The Spartans head to Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 29th to take on the Blue Devils at 9:30 p.m. ET. The next night, the Tar Heels will venture into Assembly Hall, selected by ESPN as the toughest Big Ten venue to play in, to play the Hoosiers at 9 p.m. ET.
Duke is widely recognized as the nation's best team heading into next season by the media, including by ESPN's Eamonn Brennan and CBSSports' Gary Parrish, and will be a tough test for a Michigan State team that has lost several key contributors. However, both teams have their fair share of highly touted incoming freshman and they will be showcased early on and give us a better understanding of what each team really has in these newcomers.
Meanwhile, North Carolina is a very talented team especially with Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks returning. The country will wait and see how the Roy Williams' squad rebounds from one of the more crushing defeats you'll ever see in a national championship. The Tar Heels will get a great early test taking on the Hoosiers, who are bringing back plenty of talent as well with the return of O.G. Anunoby, James Blackmon Jr. from injury, and Thomas Bryant from NBA draft speculation.
There are other quality matchups with national implications to look forward to, especially when Syracuse faces Wisconsin and Louisville plays Purdue. In the end, both conferences are competing for the Commissioner's Cup, which is awarded to the conference with the best overall record in the challenge, and the Big Ten currently has a two year winning streak. But most importantly, all of these are great non-conference tests and early season barometers for both the ACC and the Big Ten.
Here are the full times and TV listings:
Monday, Nov. 28
- Minnesota at Florida State, 7 p.m. - ESPNU
- Wake Forest at Northwestern, 9 p.m. - ESPNU
Tuesday, Nov. 29
- Pittsburgh at Maryland, 7 p.m. - ESPN2
- Georgia Tech at Penn State, 7 p.m. - ESPNU
- Syracuse at Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. - ESPN
- Iowa at Notre Dame, 9 p.m. - ESPN2
- N.C. State at Illinois, 9 p.m. - ESPNU
- Michigan State at Duke, 9:30 p.m. - ESPN
Wednesday, Nov. 30
- Purdue at Louisville, 7 p.m. - ESPN
- Virginia Tech at Michigan, 7 p.m. - ESPN2
- Rutgers at Miami (Fla.), 7 p.m. - ESPNU
- North Carolina at Indiana, 9 p.m. - ESPN
- Ohio State at Virginia, 9 p.m. - ESPN2
- Nebraska at Clemson, 9 p.m. - ESPNU