Beyond the ACCtion: An Even Tougher Challenge

Beyond the ACCtion: An Even Tougher Challenge

May 8, 2013

Beyond the ACCtion

ACC Staff Writer Steve Phillips looks inside the #B1GACC Challenge lineups. Read more on today's announcement here.

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge didn’t require much in the way of an upgrade in 2013. The event already featured two of the nation’s premier college basketball conferences, and for 14 years it lived up to its billing as one of the game’s marquee early-season events.

But a very good thing gets even better this December.

The 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule unveiled by ESPN on Wednesday features a revamped lineup, with incoming Atlantic Coast members Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolstering the ranks of a league that already holds a 10-3-1 advantage in the annual meeting of the leagues.

“The Challenge has grown into something that is very special for college basketball in the early season,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “It matches two conferences that have had many, many years of success, both on and off the basketball floor. We’re very proud of how our teams have done, and we look forward to this year’s event.”

With the 2013 Challenge lineup matching the Big Ten’s current 12 teams against the expanded ACC’s top-12 RPI teams from last season, each of the ACC’s three newcomers earned an immediate spot. Syracuse, fresh off the program’s fourth Final Four appearance, will play host to Indiana. Notre Dame will make the trip to Iowa, and Pittsburgh will be home against in-state opponent Penn State.

“We’re excited about Pitt, Notre Dame and Syracuse all participating in this year’s Challenge,” Swofford said. “It brings another level of excitement to an event that has really grabbed the attention of college basketball fans in the early season for the past 14 years.”

Sweeten the pot with 2013 NCAA runner-up Michigan’s trip to Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium and a traditional power matchup between North Carolina and Michigan State, and it is easy to see why the dates of December 3 and 4 are already being circled on many a calendar.

The ACC holds an 82-61 lead in head-to-head challenge meetings. Seven of the ACC’s 12 teams boast records of .500 or better in the Challenge, led by Boston College (6-1), Duke (12-2) and Wake Forest (10-3).

With the expanded ACC and the Big Ten having placed a combined eight teams in last season’s final Top 25 – and considering that seven more teams from the two leagues were ranked at some point – the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge should have little trouble padding some already impressive numbers. At least one ranked team has played in 70 of the 133 Big Ten/ACC Challenge games to date, and both teams have been ranked on 29 occasions.

And after the excitement from the blur of 12 games in two days subsides, don’t be surprised if the 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge turns out to be a foreshadowing of even bigger and better things.

The ACC (.658) and Big Ten (.620) rank first and second, respectively, among conferences in all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage. And since 1988, the ACC (23) and Big Ten (19) have provided 42 of the 96 teams in the Final Four and have combined to win 10 national titles, including eight by ACC teams.

2013 BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE MATCHUPS:

Tuesday, December 3rd
• Florida State @ Minnesota (5th all-time meeting in the Challenge, repeat of 2012 game at FSU)
• Illinois @ Georgia Tech (2nd all-time meeting in the Challenge, repeat of 2012 game at Illinois)
• Indiana @ Syracuse (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge, rematch of NCAA Tournament game from this year, Syracuse’s first ever Big Ten/ACC Challenge game)
• Michigan @ Duke (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge)
• Notre Dame @ Iowa (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge, Notre Dame’s first ever Big Ten/ACC Challenge game)
• Penn State @ Pittsburgh (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge, Pitt’s first ever Big Ten/ACC Challenge game)

Wednesday, December 4th
• Boston College @ Purdue (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge)
• Maryland @ Ohio State (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge)
• Miami @ Nebraska (1st all-time meeting in the Challenge)
• North Carolina @ Michigan State (5th all-time meeting in the Challenge, first since 2009 at UNC)
• Northwestern @ NC State (3rd all-time meeting in the Challenge, first since 2009 at NC State)
• Wisconsin @ Virginia (2nd all-time meeting in the Challenge, repeat of 2012 game at Wisconsin)