Though the schedule for the Big 10-ACC Challenge won’t be officially released until later this week, Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman gave us an early scoop on the key matchups. The two conferences always do a decent job matching up their most marquee teams, but unlike previous seasons, this year it actually feels like each conference has more than one or two teams actually worth watching, which will hopefully make it more competitive than in the past (and yes, I know the Big 10 “won” the challenge this past year).
Duke will take on Michigan State in Cameron in what will probably be one of the most-hyped early season games in college basketball. There’s a good chance these two teams will start the season 1-2 in the polls, as Michigan State only loses Raymar Morgan from last year’s Final Four team and Duke’s deep lineup has been well documented here. With as good as the Devils were this past year at home, and with next year’s team being even stronger, hard to see them losing this one, but Michigan State will be a good stick to measure Duke against this early on.
UNC will travel to Illinois in what also feels like a pretty even matchup. The two teams have divergent storylines in the offseason with Carolina scrambling to replace an NBA lottery pick in Ed Davis and the transferring Wear twins, whereas the Illini rejoiced as potential NBA draft picks Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis both decided to return to school.
Other games include:
- Purdue at Virginia Tech - two teams that will greatly benefit from players deciding to return to school will match up in what’s hopefully a high-scoring affair. I guess the conference is forcing Seth Greenburg to play someone decent out-of-conference so he can stop complaining at the end of every year.
- Ohio State at Florida State - I’m surprised to hear both of these teams may be even better than last year despite each losing their best player, but the Buckeyes will get a lift from talented frosh Jared Sullinger and Chris Singleton will carry the Noles.
- NC State at Wisconsin - The Wolfpack will likely be a better team, but that talented freshman class will get a good taste of playing in a high-profile road game as they travel to Madison.
Like I said, pretty good slate of games, right?