Buckeyes Draw Blue Devils In Challenge

Ohio State will play in the landmark contest of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this season when the Buckeyes host Duke for what is a showdown of two early season title favorites. Read on for more. Updated at 3:07 p.m.

Two of the nation's premier programs will tangle as part of the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge when Duke visits Columbus to take on Ohio State.

The game, which will be played Nov. 29, will pit two No. 1 seeds from last season's NCAA Tournament against each other. It will be the first meeting between the schools since the Blue Devils earned a 91-76 victory Dec. 3, 2002, on their home court as part of the challenge. The starting time and network have not yet been announced.

Speaking to reporters a few hours before the announcement, OSU power forward Jared Sullinger was asked about the possibility of matching up with the Blue Devils in this year's installment of the challenge.

"Duke, they've got (freshman shooting guard) Austin Rivers coming in, they've got their core coming back," he said. "It will be an interesting matchup."

Both teams bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the round of 16 last season but have bigger things being forecast for the forthcoming season. ESPN's Andy Katz has Duke and OSU at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, in his initial 2011 rankings.

Each team lost three key players from last year's squad. The Buckeyes will have to replace seniors David Lighty, Jon Diebler and Dallas Lauderdale, who accounted for 37.5 percent of the team's scoring. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, have to find replacements for seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler as well as freshman Kyrie Irving, who left early for the NBA. Together, the trio put up more than half of the team's scoring (52.8 percent) despite Irving missing much of the season with a foot injury.

Smith and Singler finished one-two in scoring for the Blue Devils. The Buckeyes return their top two scorers in Sullinger and William Buford, both of whom weighed heading to the NBA before deciding to return to college.

Both teams captured their conference tournament championships last season, with the Buckeyes winning their conference regular season title as well and capturing the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Including vacated results, OSU is 4-6 overall in the history of the challenge but has won four of its last six contests including three in a row. Last season, the Buckeyes eked out a 58-44 road victory against Florida State, giving them two straight wins against the Seminoles in the challenge.

OSU's last loss in the event came during the 2007-08 season when North Carolina earned a 66-55 victory in Columbus. It marked the second straight season the Tar Heels had defeated the Buckeyes during the challenge.

The Buckeyes last defeated the Blue Devils on Dec. 29, 1978, a 90-84 overtime victory as part of the ECAC Holiday Tournament in New York. Including vacated games, Duke holds a 3-2 edge in the overall series.

"It is a great honor to be selected to play what I consider one of the premier programs in the county in Duke University," OSU head coach Thad Matta said in a statement. "I have great respect for (head coach Mike) Krzyzewski and his many accomplishments. I'm looking forward to our fans being a part of such a great game here is Columbus."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories