The annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge tips off on Tuesday. This event used to be dominated by the ACC, but in recent years the Big Ten has caught up to the ACC.
In fact, just based on the rankings, the Big Ten has three teams in the top five. The ACC has just three teams in the Top 25 (Duke, North Carolina and NC State). This will be a perfect measure to see exactly where both traditional powerhouse conferences are at right now.
Here is a look at the schedule, full list of games and key matchups to watch in the 14th annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Tuesday, Nov. 27 Schedule
|MATCHUP||START TIME (ET)||NETWORK|
|Iowa at Virginia Tech||7:15 p.m.||ESPN U|
|Minnesota at Florida State||7:15 p.m.||ESPN 2|
|NC State at Michigan||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nebraska at Wake Forest||9:15 p.m.||ESPN U|
|Maryland at Northwestern||9:15 p.m.||ESPN 2|
|North Carolina at Indiana||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
Wednesday, Nov. 28 Schedule
|MATCHUP||START TIME (ET)||NETWORK|
|Virginia at Wisconsin||7:00 p.m.||ESPN 2|
|Purdue at Clemson||7:15 p.m.||ESPN U|
|Michigan State at Miami||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Georgia Tech at Illinois||9:00 p.m.||ESPN 2|
|Boston College at Penn State||9:15 p.m.||ESPN U|
|Ohio State at Duke||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
All games will be streamed live on Watch ESPN.
Biggest Tuesday Matchup
North Carolina at Indiana
On the surface it seems easy to single out a matchup between North Carolina and Indiana, two of the most storied programs in all of college basketball. But that matchup between NC State and Michigan looks awfully good, too.
Ultimately, the drawing power of North Carolina and Indiana gives this game the nod. The Tar Heels were run off the court last week against a good Butler team, though they did bounce back in a dominant way against Chaminade.
Roy Williams' squad has been lighting up the scoreboard through the first two weeks of the season. The Tar Heels are in the top 10 in the country in points, rebounds and assists per game.
Indiana had a good scare last week against Georgia before pulling away in the second half. Tom Crean has done an outstanding job of building this roster to play smarter than your average team. They have explosive athletes, but they make sure to take high-percentage shots.
The Hoosiers rank fourth in the country in points and ninth in field goal percentage, despite being just 48th in assists per game.
Both teams love to move up and down the court, so this game could turn into a shootout. Indiana is a stronger defensive team, particularly inside with Cody Zeller, so that could give them an advantage against the guard-heavy lineup Williams runs out there.
Biggest Wednesday Matchup
Ohio State at Duke
Unlike Tuesday's slate of games, Wednesday has an easy choice for Must-See Game. The Buckeyes and Blue Devils are both ranked in the top five of both the AP and USA Today polls.
Thad Matta's team is obviously highly regarded around the country, but they have yet to be tested this season. The Buckeyes' four wins have come over Albany, Rhode Island, Washington and UMKC.
You can only play the teams on the schedule, so it would be unfair to completely disregard what Ohio State has done up to this point. But a matchup on the road against Duke will be the perfect measuring stick game for this team.
On the flip side, Duke has passed its first two tests of the season. The Blue Devils knocked off Kentucky two weeks ago and held on against Louisville last week to push their record to 6-0. Both of those wins came at neutral-site locations, so they are not shying away from the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Both teams are built on a strong foundation, especially on defense. Neither the Buckeyes or Blue Devils feature a lot of size, so it is important that their perimeter players are able to make plays on the ball to keep the other from scoring.
Expect a tough, physical game between two of the best-coached teams in the country.
Underrated Matchup to Watch
Maryland at Northwestern
It won't be long before Maryland is playing for the Big Ten in this event, but for now, the Terrapins still have to take care of business as a member of the ACC. So far, they have looked very good, compiling a 4-1 record, with the lone loss coming by three points to Kentucky.
Northwestern has handled all of its business up to this point, starting the season 6-0. For this team, though, starting well has never been the problem; the stretch run is where the Wildcats have problems.
While no one should walk into this matchup expecting to see a great basketball clinic, you are going to get an exciting showdown between two guards who have been terrific in the early going this season.
Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski and Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard are the biggest reasons that their respective teams are where they are right now.
Sobolewski is shooting 45 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 5.0 assists per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio is an outstanding 4.3.
Howard is not the shooter Sobolewski is, averaging just 3.2 points per game on just 3-of-15 shooting. What he lacks in a scoring game, he makes up for with terrific court vision and an innate ability to get his teammates involved. He averages seven assists per game.
Offense will be at a premium in this game, but the two guards can put on a good show for the viewing audience.
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