Tech to Visit Illinois in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

By: Georgia Tech Sports Communications
By: Georgia Tech Sports Communications

Greensboro, NC -- Georgia Tech will visit Illinois on Wednesday, Nov. 28 in the 2012 edition of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, the two conferences and ESPN announced Monday. The game will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2001.

Illinois becomes part of a tough non-conference lineup for Georgia Tech in Brian Gregory’s second season as head coach that features home games against Georgia and Fordham in the Yellow Jackets’ brand-new McCamish Pavilion, as well as a trip to the Anaheim Classic on Thanksgiving weekend, which includes six 2012 post-season teams in California, Saint Mary's, Xavier, Drexel, Drake and Rice.

The 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Nov. 27-28 also features 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.

The complete ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule is: Tuesday, Nov 27 – North Carolina at Indiana, NC State at Michigan, Minnesota at Florida State, Maryland at Northwestern, Iowa at Virginia Tech, Nebraska at Wake Forest. Wednesday, Nov 28 – Ohio State at Duke, Virginia at Wisconsin, Michigan State at Miami, Purdue at Clemson, Georgia Tech at Illinois, Boston College at Penn State.

Times and networks for each game will be announced later in the summer, as will the rest of the 2012-13 Yellow Jackets’ schedule.

Illinois went 17-15 overall last season, posting a 6-12 record and tying for ninth place in the Big Ten regular season. The Illini have a new coach in John Groce, who had been at Ohio University since 2008.

The Nov. 28 game will be Tech’s second trip to the Chicago area, home of the Yellow Jackets’ head coach, in the last three years. Gregory has a win over Illinois to his credit while head coach at Dayton, a 77-71 win in Champaign in the 2010 Post-Season NIT.

Tech is 1-6 all-time against the Illini, the lone win coming in the semifinals of the 1985 NCAA East Regional in Providence, R.I. (61-53). The teams last met in 2001, a 105-66 Illinois win in the Las Vegas Invitational, and have met once before in Champaign, a 102-92 double-overtime win for the Illini in 1989. The Jackets are 16-33 all-time against the Big Ten.

The Yellow Jackets are 4-8 in their previous ACC/Big Ten Challenge meetings, including losses each of the past two years to Northwestern, and are 1-5 in ACC/Big Ten Challenge games played on the road (Ohio State in 2003 is the only victory).

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.

Since 2000, the ACC (10) and the Big Ten (nine) have combined for 19 Final Four appearances and six national titles: North Carolina (2009 and 2005), Maryland (2002), Duke (2001 and 2010) and Michigan State (2000). The ACC leads in NCAA Tournament victories and Final Four appearances while the Big Ten is first in Tournament appearances.


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