Pairings for the Seventh Annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Announced

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Clemson, SC - The pairings for the seventh annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge were released Tuesday by ESPN. Clemson will travel to Penn State for a November 29 matchup as part of the expanded 11-game competition. The game will be televised at 8:00 PM on ESPNU, the new 24-hour college sports network. The game will be syndicated in the local markets of the two teams and offered on ESPN Full Court, the network's college basketball pay-per-view package.

The Tigers have a 4-2 record in the six-year history of the challenge, including an 80-73 defeat of Ohio State in Littlejohn Coliseum last season. Sharrod Ford's double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) helped Clemson overcome a 10-point first half deficit in the victory.

This will mark the fourth time the Tigers and Nittany Lions are set to play each other in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Clemson is 2-1 in the previous three meetings, with its only loss coming at Penn State, 85-75, in 1999. Clemson won 79-66 in its last trip to Penn State during the 2001-02 season, behind a double-double by Chris Hobbs and +24 rebound margin. The Tigers then defeated the Nittany Lions 79-70 at the Anderson Civic Center in 2002, with Edward Scott scoring 25 points and seven assists to lead Clemson to victory.

The 2005 challenge will mark the first year of a six-year agreement (through 2010) between ESPN, the ACC, and the Big Ten to continue the annual men's college basketball inter-conference competition. The ACC has won the previous six challenges between the two conferences.

2005 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Schedule (All Times EST)

Monday, Nov. 28
ESPN 7:30 PM Virginia Tech at Ohio State

Tuesday, Nov. 29
ESPN 7:00 PM Wisconsin at Wake Forest

ESPN2 7:30 PM Purdue at Florida State

ESPNU 8:00 PM Clemson at Penn State

ESPN 9:00 PM Illinois at North Carolina

ESPN2 9:30 PM Miami at Michigan

Wednesday, Nov. 30
ESPN2 7:30 PM Minnesota at Maryland

ESPNU 8:00 PM Northwestern at Virginia

ESPN 9:00 PM Duke at Indiana

ESPN2 9:30 PM N.C. State at Iowa

2005 Challenge highlights:

ESPNU Televises Two Additional Games: The launch of ESPNU will provide fans with coverage of two additional Challenge games, both at 8 p.m.: Clemson at Penn State Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Northwestern at Virginia Wednesday, Nov. 30. The ESPNU games will also be syndicated in the local markets of the competing teams and offered on ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN’s college basketball pay-per-view package.

Three Final Four Teams in Action: North Carolina, Illinois and Michigan State -- three of last year’s Final Four teams -- will be in action. In addition to the rematch of last year’s championship game between Illinois and North Carolina (Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. on ESPN), Michigan State will host Georgia Tech, a 2004 championship game participant (Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. on ESPN).

Top Programs in Competition: Five of the top 10 teams in last year’s final ESPN/USA Today rankings and seven of the top 25 will compete in the Challenge -- #1 North Carolina, #2 Illinois, #4 Michigan State, #7 Duke, #10 Wisconsin, #11 Wake Forest and #22 N.C. State.

New Teams to the Challenge: This year’s Challenge will include two new teams with the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech from the ACC. Virginia Tech will tip off the 11-game event at Ohio State Monday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Miami will visit Michigan Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 9:30 p.m. ESPN2 will televise both games.

Commissioner’s Cup: Following last year’s 7-2 Challenge win, the ACC has won the Commissioner’s Cup six straight years.

Year by Year:

1999: ACC 5-4

2000: ACC 5-4

2001: ACC 5-3

2002: ACC 5-4

2003: ACC 7-2

2004: ACC 7-2

The 2005 Challenge will mark the first year of a six-year agreement (through 2010) between ESPN, the ACC and the Big Ten to continue the annual men’s college basketball inter-conference Challenge.

ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage of the 2004 ACC/Big Ten Challenge experienced significant audience growth over the 2003 event. ESPN’s four telecasts in 2004 averaged a 1.6 rating and 1,423,000 households for increases of 33% (vs. 1.2) and 30% (vs. 1,094,000) over the four games in 2003. ESPN2’s five matchups averaged a 0.6 rating and 495,000 households for increases of 50% (vs. 0.4) and 35% (vs. 365,000) over 2003’s five telecasts.

In addition, 2004’s coverage included ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed Challenge telecast ever: North Carolina at Indiana with a 2.0 average rating and 1,749,000 households.

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