PARK RIDGE, ILL. – The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference announced on Monday the pairings for the annual ACC/Big Ten Women’s Basketball Challenge, which is in its fourth year of what began as a four-year agreement and has been extended until 2012.
The Buckeyes, who won a record sixth-consecutive Big Ten regular season title and won a school-record 31 games in 2009-10, will play host to the Virginia Cavaliers Thursday, Dec. 2 at Value City Arena. Virginia finished 21-10 last season and advanced to NCAA tournament before losing in the first round to UW-Green Bay. Led by two-time All-American Jantel Lavender, the Buckeyes return all five starters while the Cavaliers expect to return four of five, losing only All-American Monica Wright who was chosen No. 2 overall in April’s WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx.
The 2010 Challenge will take on a two-day format again this year and is slated to open on Wednesday, Dec. 1, as Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota host ACC opponents, and Michigan State and Northwestern go on the road for their Challenge contests.
The ACC/Big Ten Women’s Basketball Challenge matches 11 teams from each conference in head-to-head competition traditionally on the first Wednesday and Thursday after Thanksgiving, following the ACC/Big Ten Men’s Basketball Challenge. Last year, the ACC won seven of the 11 Big Ten/ACC Challenge games. In 2008, the ACC also won, 7-4, while the inaugural Challenge in 2007 saw the ACC win by a margin of 8-3.
The ACC and the Big Ten conference offices determine the 11-game schedule each season, and matchups may repeat from year-to-year in efforts to coordinate similar opponents and reach competitive equity. Each of the Big Ten’s 11 institutions will participate, while the ACC will select 11 teams from its 12-team membership.
In addition, the official title of the Challenge will rotate each year. The 2010 event will be referred to as the ACC/Big Ten Women’s Basketball Challenge and will continue to mirror the official title of the two conferences’ challenge agreement for men’s basketball.
In the previous three Challenges, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Virginia remain undefeated for the ACC, while Michigan boasts the only unbeaten record among the Big Ten squads.
The ACC and the Big Ten have long been among the most dominant conferences on the women’s basketball scene. This past season, the ACC was represented by six teams in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, making it the eighth-straight year the league has had at least six in the Big Dance. Duke and Florida State advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals, giving the ACC at least one team in the Elite Eight for the ninth consecutive year. Overall, the ACC has made 14 Final Four appearances, including four in the past five years.
The Big Ten tied a conference record in 2010, sending nine teams into postseason play. Four Big Ten teams – Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin – earned bids to the NCAA Championship, while five – Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue – participated in the Postseason WNIT. Historically, the conference has sent at least one team to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 in 24 of the last 26 years and has had at least one squad participate in five of the last 12 Final Fours, owning eight overall appearances.
Since the 1999-2000 season, the two conferences have squared off in head-to-head competition on 99 occasions with the ACC holding a 57-42 advantage. Last season, the ACC boasted a 9-5 record over Big Ten teams, including a meeting between Miami and Michigan in the Postseason WNIT semifinals, which the Hurricanes won, 76-59.
Game times, as well as television and broadband coverage, will be announced at a later date. For more information about the ACC/Big Ten Women’s Basketball Challenge, including a complete schedule, log on to www.bigten.org.
2010 CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 1
Wake Forest at Michigan
Michigan State at Florida State
Northwestern at Georgia Tech
NC State at Illinois
Thursday, December 2
Duke at Wisconsin
Iowa at North Carolina
Penn State at Boston College
Virginia at Ohio State
Maryland at Purdue
Indiana at Clemson
Virginia Tech at Minnesota