The 20th edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge tips off Monday with a pair of inter-conference basketball battles: Nebraska at Clemson and Minnesota at Boston College.
The unranked Illini men’s basketball team heads up Interstate 57 to take on Notre Dame at the Joyce Center on Tuesday night. The Fighting Irish have been predicted to finish eighth in the ACC this season.
Illinois has had mixed results in this made-for-television series, winning just eight times in the previous 19 challenges. Its most common opponents have been North Carolina, a school that the Illini have mastered three times in four meetings, and Maryland, a team that Illinois has beaten just once in four matches. UI has split games with Wake Forest (1-1), Georgia Tech (1-1) and Clemson (1-1).
The Illini’s ACC opponent has been ranked nine times, with UI winning just three of those games. Clearly, Illinois’s biggest triumph in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge came in 2004 when its fifth-ranked club pummeled Chris Paul’s No. 1 ranked Demon Deacons, 91-73.
That was UI’s fifth victory in its record-setting 29-game winning streak. UI’s longest winning streak came from 2009-12 when it consecutively beat Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland and Georgia Tech. Over the last five years, Illinois has struggled, winding up on the wrong side of the ledger four times.
The winningest Big Ten teams in the B1G/ACC Challenge
Team, Record, Winning PCT. This year’s opponent
1. Purdue (10-7, .588) vs. Florida State, 8:15 p.m., Wednesday
2. Nebraska (4-3, .571) at Clemson, 6 p.m., Monday
T-3. Minnesota (9-10, .474) at Boston College, 8 p.m., Monday
T-3. Wisconsin (9-10, .474) vs. N.C. State, 8 p.m., Tuesday
5. Penn State (8-9, .471) vs. Virginia Tech, 6 p.m., Tuesday
6. Michigan State (8-10, .444) at Louisville, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday
T-7. Illinois (8-11, .421) at Notre Dame, 6 p.m., Tuesday
T-7. Northwestern (8-11, .421) vs. Georgia Tech, 8:15 p.m., Wednesday
T-9. Indiana (7-10, .412) at Duke, 8:30 p.m., Tuesday
T-9. Michigan (7-10, .412) vs. North Carolina, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday
T-9. Ohio State (7-10, .412) vs. Syracuse, 6:15 p.m., Wednesday
12. Iowa (5-12, .294) vs. Pittsburgh, 8 p.m., Tuesday
13. Rutgers (1-3, .250) at Miami, 6:15 p.m., Wednesday
14. Maryland (0-4, .000) vs. Virginia, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday
Today: Justin Duvernois, football (26)
Monday: Luther Head, basketball (36)
Tuesday: Jason Guard, football (51)
Wednesday: Aimee Smith, basketball
Thursday: Justin & Jordan Parr, baseball (28)
Friday: Kendrick Jones, football (36)
Saturday: D.A. Points, golf (42)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com