COLUMBUS, Ohio – Michigan State at North Carolina, a Dec. 1 rematch of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game, highlights the matchups for the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
The event this yearonce again featuring top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner’s Cupwill also include 2009 Big Ten Conference Tournament Champion Purdue against Wake Forest (Dec. 1) and 2009 ACC Tournament Champion Duke at Wisconsin (Dec. 2).
For the fifth-consecutive year, the Challenge features 11 games and includes two telecasts on ESPNU with ESPN and ESPN2 combining to televise the remaining nine games. ESPN360.com, the broadband sports television network from ESPN, will simulcast the ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts.
2009 Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule (times and networks are to be determined):
Monday, Nov. 30 Penn State at Virginia
Tuesday, Dec. 1 Maryland at Indiana
Michigan State at North Carolina
Northwestern at N.C. State
Virginia Tech at Iowa
Wake Forest at Purdue
Wednesday, Dec. 2 Boston College at Michigan
Duke at Wisconsin
Florida State at Ohio State
Illinois at Clemson
Minnesota at Miami
Noting Ohio State: Ohio State tied for the No. 4 spot in the Big Ten regular-season race in 2008-09 with an overall record of 22-11 and a league mark of 10-8. The Buckeyes advanced to the 2009 NCAA Tournament and lost in the opener to Siena (74-72 in 2OT). Thad Matta, head coach of the Buckeyes, is in his sixth season in Columbus. He has won 20 or more games in each year as a head coach (9), including five seasons at Ohio State, three at Xavier and a lone season at his alma mater, Butler. Only Mark Few (10 yrs.) and Matta have won 20 or more games in every year as a collegiate head coach among active NCAA Division I coaches. Matta returns all five starters from the 2008-09 season along with 12 of 13 letterwinners. David Lighty, who was sidelined with a broken foot a year ago, also will be back in action after missing 26 of 33 games a year ago.
Buckeyes in the Challenge: Ohio State is participating in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the seventh-consecutive year and has a 2-5 record in the event. The Buckeyes first participated in the Challenge during the 2002-03 season against Duke in Greensboro, N.C., a 91-75 Blue Devils’ victory. Georgia Tech traveled to Ohio State in 2004 and won 73-53. The Buckeyes traveled to Clemson in 2004-05 and fell to the Tigers, 80-73. Ohio State defeated Virginia Tech in Columbus in 2005-06, 69-59, for its first victory in the event. Ohio State traveled to Chapel Hill in 2006-07 where the Tar Heels defeated the Buckeyes, 98-89. UNC brought its No. 1 ranking to Columbus in 2007-08 and won 66-55. Thad Matta’s Buckeyes won at Miami (Fla.) in the 2008 Challenge 73-68 for the first road victory in the event for Ohio State.
2009 Challenge highlights:
Familiar Foes: In addition to meeting in the Championship Game and in the 2008 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Michigan State and North Carolina played in the first two Challenges (1999 and 2000) with the Spartans winning both games. North Carolina won both games last year.
First Meeting: Minnesota and Miami will square off in the first meeting between the two programs.
Pursuing Perfection: Two teams will look to continue their undefeated streaks in the Challenge: Duke is 10-0 while Boston College has won all three of its games.
First Challenge Matchup: In addition to Minnesota at Miami, Penn State at Virginia, Wake Forest at Purdue and Florida State at Ohio State will all meet for their first Challenge showdown.
Unfamiliar Opponent: Ohio State has won all three of its previous games against Florida State. Penn State and Virginia last played in 1985 (Virginia holds a 5-2 series lead) while Purdue and Wake Forest last played in 1989 (Purdue holds a 3-2 series lead).
Commissioner’s Cup: The ACC has won the Commissioner’s Cup all 10 years.
Since 2000, the ACC (9) and the Big Ten (8) have combined for 17 Final Four appearances and five national titles – North Carolina (2009 and 2005), Maryland (2002), Duke (2001) and Michigan State (2000). The ACC and the Big Ten also rank 1-2, respectively, in all-time NCAA tournament bids, NCAA tournament victories and Final Four appearances.
Big Ten highlights include:
Final Four Regulars: The Big Ten has accumulated a record 40 Final Four appearances, tying the ACC for the national lead. The Big Ten is also tied with the SEC with the third-most national titles (10) in college basketball history. The Pac-10 leads all conferences with 15 titles. Since the inception of the NCAA tournament in 1939, the Big Ten has recorded the most appearances of any conference in the Big Dance with 191 (ACC, 179) and has the second-most NCAA tournament victories with 303 (ACC, 336).
It Feels Like Home: Over the last five years the Big Ten has sent four teams to the Final Four to tie the Big East for the most teams playing during the final weekend of the NCAA Championships. The ACC, Pac-10 and SEC have each sent three teams over that time span. Illinois and Michigan State comprised half of the field in 2005 Ohio State advanced to the Final Four in 2007 while Michigan State was the national runner-up last season.
Big Ten. Last Ten.: Since 2000, the Big Ten has sent eight teams to the Final Four to rank second behind only the ACC with nine teams during the last 10 years. The Big East has sent seven teams and the Big 12 six. The Pac-10 and SEC have each sent four teams to the Final Four since 2000.
A Deep Conference: The Big Ten is one of only two conferences (Big East) since 2000 to advance five different programs to the Final Four. The ACC and Big 12 have each had four different schools reach the national semifinals over that time, followed by the Pac-10 (2) and the SEC (2). Michigan State leads the Big Ten with four appearances (2000, 2001, 2005 and 2009) while Illinois (2005), Indiana (2002), Ohio State (2007) and Wisconsin (2000) have each earned a Final Four spot since 2000.
Fantastic Five: The Big Ten has five coaches that have appeared in at least one Final Four during their head coaching tenure. Tom Crean, Tom Izzo, Thad Matta, Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber have all coached in at least one national semifinal while four of the five have coached in a national championship game.
The Nation’s Best Fans: With an average of nearly 12,500 fans per Big Ten home game during the 2008-09 campaign, the conference is on pace to lead the nation in attendance for the 33rd consecutive year. Big Ten teams welcomed 2,333,377 fans for 188 home contests last season to average 12,412 per game. The Big Ten broke the two-million mark in total attendance for the 17th straight year and the one-million-fan mark in conference games for the 32nd straight year.