With an already loaded 2013-14 non-conference schedule and with the Eagles having successfully staved off ACC/Big Ten Challenge relegation, our thoughts turn to Boston College's possible matchup for the 2013 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Heights' Austin Tedesco reports that BC's matchup for the Challenge will be either Illinois, Minnesota, or Purdue.
Which one of these programs would you like the Eagles to face?
Illinois went 23-13 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten last season, advancing to the NCAA Tournament's 3rd (2nd?) Round before falling to Miami. The Illini lose three of their top five scorers from last season to graduation, including a pair of starters in guards Brandon Paul (16.6 PPG) and D.J. Richardson (12.3 PPG). The Eagles and Illini have never faced one another in hoops.
Another NCAA Tournament squad from last season, Minnesota finished the year 21-13 (8-10 Big Ten), also advancing to the 3rd Round before bowing out to Florida 78-64. Both starters in the Gophers front court will need to be replaced, as 6-foot-8 Trevor Mbakwe and 6-foot-7 Rodney Williams both graduate. Minnesota made a curious coaching move in the offseason, replacing Tubby Smith with FIU's Richard Pitino. Like the Illini, this would be Boston College's first ever meeting with the Gophers.
Purdue had a down year as far as down years go for the Boilermakers, finishing the year just 16-18 (8-10 Big Ten) after a run of six straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Unlike the Eagles, Purdue decided that the CBI was a postseason tournament worth playing. The Boilers won their first game over Western Illinois before falling to Santa Clara, 86-83, in the CBI Quarterfinals. Like the Eagles, Purdue has a relatively young team and only loses one starter -- D.J. Byrd (10.1 PPG) -- to graduation next year. BC has lost both meetings between the two programs with the last coming during the 2008-09 season at MSG.
Have to think that given BC has never faced either Illinois or Minnesota that it will be one of these two teams (over Purdue). It probably makes too much sense to have a ACC/Big Ten Challenge and college hockey doubleheader with the Gophers next season, but let's go with Minnesota.
Where does that leave the rest of the league?
I'd imagine Maryland is going to sit this one out. I can't imagine a scenario where, with the conference already withholding funds from the Terps, that Maryland is given a game in this year's Challenge. If the ACC holds to their rumored criteria for this year's Challenge, Clemson and Virginia Tech will also be frozen out of the event (with Notre Dame joining a year early). That leaves nine current ACC programs, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh -- because ESPN wasn't going to leave these three programs out in each's first year in the league -- to square off against the 12 Big Ten programs.
Potential matchups? Here are my thoughts written in pencil (and bound to be terribly, terribly wrong):
-- Duke vs. Indiana
-- Miami vs. Illinois
-- Syracuse vs. Michigan
-- North Carolina vs. Ohio State
-- N.C. State vs. Wisconsin
-- Notre Dame vs. Michigan State
-- Pittsburgh vs. Iowa
-- Virginia vs. Penn State
-- Florida State vs. Nebraska
-- Boston College vs. Minnesota
-- Georgia Tech vs. Purdue
-- Wake Forest vs. Northwestern
So long as ESPN and the leagues don't get lazy and pair BC and Wake with the same opponent for the third straight year, I'm cool. One can only take so many matchups against Penn State and Nebraska.
Your thoughts? Possible matchups?