The fifth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge will once again feature several top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner's Cup. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise the nine-game challenge Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, December 1-3, from eight different college campuses and one neutral site. It will mark the second consecutive year that every game will be televised nationally in a three-day schedule (ESPN Regional Television televised one game each of the first three years).
The Terrapins last faced the Badgers in the second round of the 2002 NCAA tournament, posting an 87-57 victory during the school's first-ever national championship run. Maryland was defeated by Wisconsin in the 2000 ACC/Big Ten challenge in a 78-75 overtime battle at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Challenge highlights include:
ACC Looks for Five in a Row: The ACC will look to win a fifth Commissioner's Cup. The ACC has edged the Big Ten by winning five of the nine games in three of the first four Challenges, including last year.
Top Programs in Competition: Six of the top 20 teams in last year's final national rankings will be part of the action - No. 9 Duke, No. 10 Maryland, No. 12 Wake Forest, Wisconsin and Illinois tied at No. 13 and No. 18 Michigan. Note: Rankings from the ESPN/USA Today poll.
Recent NCAA Champions in Action: Three of the last four NCAA champions will play in the challenge, including the Terrapins. Two perennial powers and recent NCAA Champions will square off when Duke (2001 NCAA Champion) visits Michigan State (2000).
Sour Taste: Ohio State will look for redemption against Georgia Tech, which ended the Buckeyes' 2003 season with a 72-58 win in the second round of NIT tournament.
A Rivalry Renewed: Maryland, the 2002 national champions, will face Wisconsin, last year's Big Ten regular-season champion, for the third time in four years. Maryland defeated Wisconsin in the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament 87-57 and Wisconsin posted a 78-75 overtime victory over the Terrapins in the 2000 Challenge.
New Year, New Face; Neutral Site: The only neutral site game on this year's schedule (the first four included two neutral site games) will feature North Carolina, led by new coach Roy Williams, against Illinois, led by new coach Bruce Weber. The game is a rematch from last year's Challenge, a 92-65 Fighting Illini victory.
2003 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Schedule
|Monday, Dec. 1|
|7 p.m. ET||ESPN2||Northwestern at Florida State|
|Tuesday, Dec. 2|
|7:00 p.m.||ESPN||Indiana at Wake Forest|
|7:30 p.m.||ESPN2||N.C. State at Michigan|
|9:00 p.m.||ESPN||Illinois vs. North Carolina|
(Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.)
|9:30 p.m.||ESPN2||Wisconsin at Maryland|
|Wednesday, Dec. 3|
|7:00 p.m.||ESPN||Georgia Tech at Ohio State|
|7:30 p.m.||ESPN2||Clemson at Purdue|
|9:00 p.m.||ESPN||Duke at Michigan State|
|9:30 p.m.||ESPN2||Minnesota at Virginia|