The 2013 Big Ten/ACC Challenge promises to be two of the most exciting days of the college basketball season, as 24 teams from two powerhouse conferences collide to prove which is superior.
While three ACC teams are left out in the cold—Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest will not be participating in this year’s event—each of the 12 teams in the Big Ten will be in action.
The Commissioner’s Cup remains with the Big Ten after a tie in this event last year, although the ACC boasts a 10-3-1 record over its rival conference. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if the ACC can pick up its first win since 2008, especially with so many talented squads in the field.
Let’s take a look at the complete schedule, highlight where you can watch each contest during this interconference showdown, plus make a prediction on the winner of every game and more.
|Away Team||Home Team||Time (ET)||TV|
|Tuesday, Dec. 3|
|Illinois||Georgia Tech||7:15 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Penn State||Pittsburgh||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Notre Dame||Iowa||9:15 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Florida State||Minnesota||9:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Wednesday, Dec. 4|
|Maryland||Ohio State||7 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Wisconsin||Virginia||7 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Northwestern||NC State||7:30 p.m.||ESPNU|
|North Carolina||Michigan State||9 p.m.||ESPN|
|Boston College||Purdue||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
Live Stream Info: Every game will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on Apple TV to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
Top Contest to Watch: North Carolina at Michigan State
In a challenge that features a number of elite and ranked teams facing off against one another, this North Carolina vs. Michigan State matchup stands out as a cut above the rest.
This is the fifth time these historical powerhouse programs have met in the Big Ten/ACC event, and it will separate the 2-2 tie that the series currently stands at.
The No. 1 ranked Spartans will be looking to continue their undefeated run against the Tar Heels, an up-and-down squad that lost to Belmont but beat Louisville by nine points.
MSU has been one of the best teams in the country in terms of sharing the ball, getting good looks and putting points on the board. The Spartans average the most assists in the nation—22.0 per game—while putting up 85.9 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field.
They have a legit star in Gary Harris, the stud sophomore who is averaging 17.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steal per game in 30.7 minutes of play. Coupled with sage senior Keith Appling’s increased production—16.9 points, 5.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals per game—and you have one of the top backcourt tandems in the nation.
However, UNC will give this squad a real test. The Tar Heels boast a superstar of their own in Marcus Paige, a sophomore who is putting up 22.4 points per game while shooting 53.1 percent from both the field and behind the three-point line.
Their backcourt isn’t shabby either, led by junior James Michael McAdoo. The 6’9” forward is chipping in 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Expect an excellent clash that comes right down to the wire when these two storied programs meet on Dec. 4.
Challenge Winner: ACC
|Matchup||Predicted Winner||ACC Total||Big Ten Total|
|Indiana at No. 8 Syracuse||Syracuse||1||0|
|Illinois at Georgia Tech||Illinois||1||1|
|Penn State at Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||2||1|
|No. 22 Michigan at No. 6 Duke||Duke||3||1|
|Notre Dame at No. 23 Iowa||Iowa||3||2|
|Florida State at Minnesota||Florida State||4||2|
|Maryland at No. 7 Ohio State||Ohio State||4||3|
|No. 10 Wisconsin at Virginia||Wisconsin||4||4|
|Northwestern at NC State||NC State||5||4|
|No. 16 North Carolina at No. 1 Michigan State||Michigan State||5||5|
|Boston College at Purdue||Boston College||6||5|
|Miami at Nebraska||Miami||7||5|
This is going to be a great tournament and a single game could be the difference between a win or loss—and possibly another tie—in the challenge.
Which conference will win this event?
I’m giving the edge to the ACC here, as the conference has a bit more firepower and is hungry for victory after failing to outright win this event four years in a row.
Pride is at stake for arguably the premier conference in college basketball, so you can expect each of the representatives will give a little extra to win the Commissioner’s Cup.
However, don’t be surprised if the outcome of this challenge comes down to the final minutes of the final game being played on Wednesday night. These two conferences are that evenly matched and it could truly go either way.