One of the best regular season college basketball events, the Big Ten – ACC Challenge, is getting a facelift in 2013. The additions of Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh to an already-loaded ACC lineup means more marquee matchups than ever before.
This afternoon, the twelve games for this year’s competition were announced. While each member from the Big Ten gets a slot in the affair, only the top 12 teams in the ACC were awarded games. That means that Clemson, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest were omitted, since they had the worst records in-conference last year.
We’ll keep this as simple as possible. There are some great games scheduled, some good games scheduled, and some marginal games scheduled. Here’s how we think they stack up:
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Miami at Nebraska
Boston College at Purdue
Northwestern at NC State
Not sure how Miami, after winning the ACC last season, wound up with a trip to Nebraska, but that’s what happened. On the surface, these four games don’t look too intriguing. But while these matchups may not be as sexy as their brethren’s, they all count the same in the win column.
Notre Dame at Iowa
Penn State at Pittsburgh
Florida State at Minnesota
Maryland at Ohio State
Iowa actually went 9-9 in the Big Ten last season, but the Hawkeyes could never beat any foes on the top half of the conference. If things don’t change this year, Notre Dame could have its way with them. Penn State vs. Pittsburgh matters because it’s a war for bragging rights in Pennsylvania, while the Florida State vs. Minnesota matchup highlights two under-the-radar squads. Maryland having to play on the road again (punishment?) is amusing, as is the fact that next year, the Terps will be playing for the other side.
Indiana at Syracuse
Michigan at Duke
North Carolina at Michigan State
Virginia at Wisconsin
First and foremost, Indiana visiting the Carrier Dome in the first year that Syracuse is involved in the competition is must-see TV. Throw in the fact that the Orange knocked the Hoosiers out of this year’s NCAA Tournament and you’ve got the makings of an instant classic. Michigan traveling to Duke is another exciting game, though without Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., the Wolverines may have a tough time overcoming the Cameron Crazies. UNC vs. Michigan should be a great tilt between two powerhouses, while UVA vs. Wisconsin smells like a grind-it-out type game between two sneaky-good teams.