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May 17, 2011
The 13th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods on Nov. 29-30 will be highlighted by Duke at Ohio State and Wisconsin at North Carolina -- four traditional power programs expected to be highly ranked entering the 2011-12 season - and an expanded format with new Big Ten member Nebraska. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to broadcast all 12 games of the two-day event, one more than in the previous 12 Challenges.
The 2011 Challenge involves six teams ranked an early preseason top 25 by ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz, including three in the top five: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Duke, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 21 Florida State and No. 23 Michigan.
This year's event - top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner's Cup -- will include 11 teams that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament: Clemson, Duke, Florida State and North Carolina from the ACC, and Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin from the Big Ten.
The ACC has won 10 of the first 12 Challenges with league teams winning 72 of the 119 games played. A year ago, the Big Ten won its second consecutive Challenge by a 6-to-5 margin. Home teams won six of the 11 games in 2010 and five of the contests were decided by eight points or less, including two by three or fewer points.
In the event of a 6-6 tie in the Challenge, the Commissioner's Cup will remain with the conference that won the Challenge the previous year.
• Following a First with a Rematch: Georgia Tech and Northwestern will follow the first meeting between the programs (Northwestern 91-71) with a second consecutive Challenge showdown.
• Pursuing Perfection: Boston College will look to continue its undefeated streak in the Challenge when the program hosts Penn State. The Eagles have won their previous five games.
• Going for 12: Duke, which lost its only Challenge game in 2009, will look for its event-record 12th win. Duke also won its previous Challenge game against Ohio State, 91-76 in 2002.
• Commissioner's Cup: The Big Ten won the Commissioner's Cup for the second consecutive year; the ACC won the previous 10 Challenges.
• First Challenge Matchups: nine of the telecasts will feature first-time Challenge matchups: No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 1 North Carolina, No. 21 Florida State at Michigan State, No. 23 Michigan at Virginia, Miami at Purdue, Clemson at Iowa, Indiana at NC State, Penn State at Boston College, Virginia Tech at Minnesota and Wake Forest at Nebraska.
• Four's a Charm?: Illinois and Maryland will meet for the fourth time in the Challenge with the Terrapins winning the previous three matchups (69-61 in 2007; 72-66 in 2006; 76-63 in 2001).
2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule - times and networks are to be determined (Rankings refer to preseason top 25 by ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz)
Tuesday, November 29
Miami at Purdue
Northwestern at Georgia Tech
Illinois at Maryland
No. 23 Michigan at Virginia
Clemson at Iowa
No. 5 Duke at No. 3 Ohio State
Wednesday, November 30
Indiana at NC State
Penn State at Boston College
No. 21 Florida State at Michigan State
Virginia Tech at Minnesota
Wake Forest at Nebraska
No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 1 North Carolina
Since 2000, the ACC (10) and the Big Ten (nine) have combined for 19 Final Four appearances and six national titles: North Carolina (2009 and 2005), Maryland (2002), Duke (2001 and 2010) and Michigan State (2000). The ACC leads in NCAA Tournament victories (355), NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.665), and Final Four appearances (44) while the Big Ten is first in Tournament appearances (203).