The 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Nov. 27-28 will be highlighted by North Carolina at Indiana, Ohio State at Duke and North Carolina State at Michigan, six programs expected to be highly ranked entering the 2012-13 season. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 12 games of the two-day event matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioners Cup.
All 12 games will also be available via WatchESPN, which delivers live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 on PCs, smartphones and tablets to fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV.
The 2012 Challenge involves nine teams ranked in an ESPN.com early preseason top 25, including five of the top nine: No. 1 Indiana, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 NC State, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan State.
The ACC won the first 10 Challenges while the Big Ten captured the Commissioner Cup for the third consecutive event, including an eight to four win advantage over the ACC last year. In the event of a 6-6 tie, the Commissioner’s Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year. 2012 Challenge highlights:
- Off a Ratings High: ESPN’s telecast of Ohio State’s 85-63 victory over Duke last year was the highest-rated and most-viewed Challenge game ever, averaging a 2.6 rating and 2,618,000 households. The telecast propelled ESPN to its most-viewed Challenge, averaging 1,555,000 households, based on a 1.6 rating.
- One more Shot at the Dozen: Duke, which has won 11 of its 13 Challenge games, will host Ohio State in its quest for an event-record 12th victory. Duke lost to Ohio State last year and to Wisconsin in 2009.
- First Challenge Matchups: Four of the telecasts will feature first-time Challenge matchups: Virginia at No. 22 Wisconsin, Maryland at Northwestern, No. 9 Michigan State at Miami and Georgia Tech at Illinois.
- In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are infrequent opponents: Michigan State and Miami have never met; Northwestern and Maryland played one other time, a Northwestern victory in 1958; Virginia and Wisconsin split its two games, Virginia in 1975 and Wisconsin in 1999; and Illinois has defeated Georgia Tech in six of its seven games, including the last one in 2001.
- Tourney Teams: Eleven teams between the two conferences played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia from the ACC, and Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin from the Big Ten.
- Following a First with a Rematch: Boston College and Penn State and Nebraska and Wake Forest will follow first-time Challenge meetings with a second consecutive showdown in the event.
- Boston College, which won its first five games, lost to Penn State last year, while Nebraska lost its Challenge debut to Wake Forest.
- Threepeat: Five of the games will mark three-time Challenge matchups: North Carolina at Indiana (Indiana win in 2001 and North Carolina in 2004), NC State at Michigan (Michigan win in 2003 and NC State in 2006), Ohio State at Duke (Duke win in 2002 and Ohio State in 2011), Iowa at Virginia Tech (won by Virginia Tech in 2006 and 2009) and Purdue at Clemson (Purdue win in 2003 and Clemson in 2007).
- Three and one more: Minnesota and Florida State will meet for the fourth time (Minnesota won in 2000 and Florida State in 2004 and 2007).
2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule (times and networks are to be determined):
|Tue, Nov 27||No. 13 North Carolina at No. 1 Indiana|
|No. 6 NC State at No. 5 Michigan|
|No. 25 Minnesota at Florida State|
|Maryland at Northwestern|
|Iowa at Virginia Tech|
|Nebraska at Wake Forest|
|Wed, Nov 28||No. 8 Ohio State at No. 15 Duke|
|Virginia at No. 22 Wisconsin|
|No. 9 Michigan State at Miami|
|Purdue at Clemson|
|Georgia Tech at Illinois|
|Boston College at Penn State|