Big Ten/ACC Challenge Preview


December 9, 2020

This will be the 22nd edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The challenge was first played in 1999 when the ACC and Big Ten decided to do a 12-game slate of conference vs. conference games. The challenge was eventually changed to a 13- or 14-game slate when the conferences added new teams. The ACC leads the all-time series 12-6-3. This year’s challenge should be an exciting one with a bunch of marquee matchups on the schedule.

#6 Illinois at #10 Duke

The biggest matchup in the challenge this year is the Fighting Illini of Illinois traveling to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils. Unfortunately with no fans the atmosphere won’t be the same, but the game should still have a ton of excitement involved. Illinois brings back two of their top players from last, Ayo Dosunmu who averages 23.8 ppg while shooting 50% from the field through 4 games. The other player is 7-foot center Kofi Cockburn, who is nearly average a double-double so far this season with 13 ppg and 9.8 rebounds per game. The Blue Devils bring in a very star-studded freshman class this year with Jalen Johnson and D.J. Steward to go along with returning sophomore Matthew Hurt. Hurt is the team’s leading scorer thru 3 games with 19 ppg and leading rebounder with 8.7 per game. The tip-off for this game is set for tonight at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.

#16 North Carolina at #3 Iowa

The next top matchup include the Hawkeyes of Iowa hosting the North Carolina Tar Heels. Iowa comes into the game 3-0 while North Carolina comes off a loss to # 13 Texas in the championship game of the Maui Invitational, leaving them at 3-1. Iowa bring back one of the top players in the country, Luka Garza. Garza is average a whopping 34 ppg on 76% shooting from the field and 9.7 rebounds per game thru 3 games. The Tar Heel have a ton of talent all over the floor starting with senior Garrison Brooks, sophomore Armando Bacot, and two freshman Caleb Love and R.J. Davis.

North Carolina is a pretty deep team, playing usually 9-11 players each game. Leading scorer and team leader Garrison Brooks is questionable to play in the game tonight with an ankle injury. Brooks has not practiced all week, which is not a good sign for the Tar Heels. The team will have to rely on other big men Armando Bacot, and two freshman Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. Guarding and somehow shutting down Luka Garza should be the game plan for the Tar Heels. Try to make other players from Iowa beat them. The game tips off tonight at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

#4 Michigan State at #18 Virginia

The next best game include the Spartans from Michigan State traveling to John Paul Jones Arena to take on the Virginia Cavaliers. The Spartans have gained a lot of confidence since going into Cameron Indoor and beating the Duke Blue Devils just a week ago. The Spartans have moved up from being ranked #8 in last weeks to #4 in the country in this weeks rankings. Michigan State sits at 5-0 and Virginia sits at 3-1 with a lone upset to unranked San Francisco. This game includes a family battle between brother Joey Hauser from Michigan State and Sam Hauser from Virginia. The brothers played together last year on Marquette before splitting up and transferring to different schools. The leading score for the Spartans is Joey Hauser with 14 ppg on 54.3% shooting from the field. The Cavaliers leading score is brother Sam Hauser with 14.5 ppg and 58.5% from the field. The game is set for Wednesday night with tip off at 9:15 p.m. on ESPN.

The Big Ten/ACC challenge starts Tuesday and goes through Wednesday with 7 games Tuesday night and 5 games Wednesday. The North Carolina State at Michigan game has been postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in Michigan’s athletic program. 

College basketball brings in a lot of joy and excitement for everyone involved. The fans love to watch these huge games with huge implications.

One big fan of college basketball is Prep senior Landon Kalie.

“I’m looking forward to Michigan State vs. Virginia and just how competitive the Big Ten/ACC Challenge always is,” he said.

The full slate of games for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge can be found here.

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