It’s only May and I’m already psyched about next season’s BIG TEN/ACC Challenge, so it’s a good thing they finally released the schedules. Currently, the ACC leads the all-time series 10-3-1. The ACC dominated for a long while, winning the first ten of these babies, but then the Big Ten finally took control, winning three straight before last year’s tie. Don’t let the streaks fool you though, seven of the challenges have been decided by a single game.
Here are the 2013 match ups ranked, because everything tastes better ranked.
#1 Match up: North Carolina at Michigan State
Another match up of two top-ten teams with national titles dancing in their head. Unfortunately for North Carolina, while Duke got to play back-to-back home games in this challenge, the Tar Heels are stuck playing back-to-back road games. If you recall, they got thumped by Indiana last year. Overall, the Spartans are 6-7 in the Challenge, but a solid 5-1 at home. Meanwhile, North Carolina is 7-7 overall, 2-4 on the road. This will be Carolina’s first trip to East Lansing since 2000, where the Spartans won, 77-64. However, the Tar Heels have enjoyed plenty of success against the Spartans, going 11-3 all-time. Tom Izzo is just 2-7 against the Tar Heels.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Michigan State
#2 Match up: Michigan at Duke
This is clearly the premiere game. Both teams are expected to be top-10 teams next season, both are one of the favorites to win their respective conferences. For Michigan, Cameron Indoor has not be a friendly place. The last time the Wolverines made a trip to Durham, they left 95-67 losers. Of course, this Michigan team might be better thanks to the return of Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III. Overall, no team is better than Duke in this challenge. The Blue Devils are 12-2, with 10 wins over ranked team. Michigan is 5-7, 1-5 on the road in the challenge.
We play at Duke this year for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge! How hype is that game about to be!!
— spike albrecht (@SpikeAlbrecht) May 8, 2013
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Duke
#3 Match up: Indiana at Syracuse
Man, it really seems like the Orange are hosting every great team this year. They already have both North Carolina and Duke heading up to the Carrier Dome, now you can add Indiana to that list. Both teams have talent, but both will be dealing with the loss of great players. Syracuse has taken Indiana in four of their five meetings, including last season’s 61-50 upset in the NCAA’s Sweet 16. However, Indiana’s 0nly win over Syracuse was pretty big…just the 1987 National Championship game.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Syracuse
#4 Match up: Wisconsin at Virginia
If you’ve been dying for a solid 32-30 college basketball game, you might get your chance. Wisconsin has struggled in this Challenge, going 6-8, losers of two straight, including last year’s home loss to the Cavaliers. Virginia should have the advantage when the two teams face off again this season. While Wisconsin is losing arguable their two best players (Ryan Evans, Jared Berggren) to graduation, the Cavaliers’ two best players (Joe Harris, Akil Mitchell) will be seniors.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Virginia
#5 Match up: Florida State at Minnesota
Normally, these two schools would have nothing to do with each other. Yet the Big Ten/ACC Challenge has found a way to make them rivals. They have faced off four times already in this challenge, including last year, when the Gophers dominated FSU in Tallahassee, 77-68. The last time they met in Minnesota was back in 2004 and the Seminoles won that one, 70-69. This fifth contest will tie the record for most meetings between two teams in the Challenge.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Minnesota
#6 Match up: Maryland at Ohio State
The Terrapins will get another practice run at life in the Big Ten, because next year, they’ll be on the flip side of this bracket. Ohio State is 6-6 overall, 4-2 at home in the challenge. After back-to-back games against Duke, I’m willing to bet the Buckeyes are happy to see Maryland. However, the Terrapins have been one of the more successful teams in the challenge. They are 10-4 overall, after a 20-point win over Northwestern last year. This will be the first time these two have faced off in the challenge and the first time since Len Bias was still a Terrapin (1985).
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Ohio State
#7 Match up: Notre Dame at Iowa
The Fighting Irish’s first Big Ten/ACC Challenge game will be against…Iowa. Really? The last two meetings between these two teams was a Notre Dame win in the 1990 Preseason NIT and prior to that, an Iowa win in the 1970 NCAA regional consolation game. In fact, the last time Notre Dame basketball traveled to Iowa City was 63 years ago. Obviously Notre Dame is new to this challenge, while Iowa wishes it never existed. The Hawkeyes are the worst team in this thing, going 2-10 overall, dropping seven straight.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Notre Dame
#8 Match up: Boston College at Purdue
Not a lot of history here. These two teams have only faced off twice before, with the Boilermakers winning both match ups. Overall, Purdue is 6-6 in the challenge, 4-2 at home. Boston College, despite their struggles over the years, they’ve enjoyed great success in this annual challenge. The Eagles are 6-1, splitting games against Penn State the previous two years. For a young Boston College team looking to show they are ready to join the top half of the conference, this is the perfect, winnable road match up for them.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Boston College
#9 Match up: Northwestern at North Carolina State
Chris Collins will return quickly to the Triangle when his Wildcats head to Raleigh. Northwestern is 3-1 all-time against N.C. State, including a road win in Raleigh in the 2009 challenge. Overall, Northwestern is 6-8 in the challenge, 2-5 on the road. The Wolfpack are just 5-8, losers of five straight. State’s last win came back in 2006 against Michigan.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: North Carolina State
#10 Match up: Penn State at Pitt
Now this is an interesting…two Pennsylvania schools and former rivals facing off against each other. Despite the fact these two schools are less than three hours apart, they actually haven’t play since 2005. Pittsburgh beat Penn State, 91-54 that year, so I can understand why the Nittany Lions have avoided the Panthers. Historically though, this is an old-school rivalry. They have met 145 times since 1905. Penn State leads the all-time series, 75-70, but Pitt has won five straight and 10 of the last 13. I suspect Pitt will make it six in a row. The Panthers were the fourth best Big East team last year, while Penn State made Northwestern look good.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Pittsburgh
#11 Match up: Illinois at Georgia Tech
Here we got two teams that are going in different directions in this challenge. Illinois has won four straight, including last year’s 75-62 win over Georgia Tech. That of course was in Champagne, this time the game will be in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets are just 4-9 in previous challenges. While all four wins did come at home, the Jackets are currently riding a five-game challenge losing streak. Against Illinois, Georgia Tech is just 1-7 all-time. Their only win came back in the 1985 NCAA East Regional. Their last ACC/Big Ten Challenge win was over Penn State, back in 2006.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Illinois
#12 Match up: Miami at Nebraska
These two schools will always be remembered for the 1984 Orange Bowl and nothing they do against each other in basketball is going to change that. Miami and Nebraska have not faced off since 2006, a Nebraska victory. The Canes haven’t been to Lincoln since 1970, also a Nebraska win. As for the challenge, Nebraska is just 1-1, both games against Wake Forest. Miami is 2-4 overall in the challenge, but last year’s home win against #13 ranked Michigan State was the first big win of a great 2012-13 season.
WORTHLESS PREDICTION: Nebraska
SITTING OUT: Clemson, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
WORTHLESS PREDICTIONS TOTAL: ACC Wins, 7-5