PARK RIDGE, Ill. - The Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Monday the formation of an annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge for women’s basketball, which will span at least four years and will begin in the fall of 2007. Michigan State will host Clemson in the first-ever event on Nov. 29 at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans and Tigers have only met one other time, a 75-64 Clemson victory on Dec. 18, 1989. Michigan State finished 24-9 overall last season and third in the Big Ten with a 13-3 conference record, while Clemson finished 12-18 overall and 4-10 in ACC play.
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge will match 11 teams from each conference in head-to-head competition traditionally on the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after Thanksgiving, following the men’s basketball Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
"The Big Ten Conference and its institutions are thrilled for the formation of this great event and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will provide a wonderful stage on which these two traditionally dominant women’s basketball conferences will compete," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "The Big Ten and the ACC boast some of the most passionate women’s basketball fans in the country and we feel this Challenge will not only strengthen our teams, but our loyal fan base as well."
The inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge will feature games outside the traditional timeframe as the first contest of the Challenge will feature Michigan at Miami on Nov. 19. The Big Ten will then host the next two games on Nov. 28, as Wake Forest travels to Northwestern and Iowa hosts Georgia Tech. Three games are slated for Nov. 29, with Michigan State hosting Clemson, Purdue traveling to North Carolina and Illinois heading to NC State. ACC teams will host three of the four Nov. 30 games when Maryland welcomes Ohio State, Virginia Tech hosts Minnesota and Wisconsin travels to Virginia. In addition, Indiana will serve as host to Florida State on Nov. 30. The 2007 Big Ten/ACC Challenge concludes on Dec. 2 with Duke competing at Penn State.
"The Atlantic Coast Conference is pleased to be part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for women’s basketball," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "To be able to showcase our women’s basketball teams in premier competition with the Big Ten Conference in a great event like this will create excitement and enthusiasm with our participating teams and their fans."
The Big Ten and ACC conference offices will coordinate the 11-game schedule each season, which may include rematches from year-to-year. In addition, the official title of the Challenge will rotate each year beginning with the Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge in 2007. The 2008 event will be referred to as the ACC/Big Ten Women’s Basketball Challenge. The name of the annual series will continue to mirror the official title of the men’s basketball event.
Game times, as well as television and broadband coverage, will be announced at a later date.
The Big Ten and ACC have long been among the dominant conferences on the women’s basketball scene. This past season, North Carolina advanced to the national semifinals giving the ACC back-to-back Final Four appearances for the third time in league history, just as the Big Ten had in 2003-04 and 2004-05. In 2005-06, the ACC became the first conference to send three teams – Duke, Maryland and North Carolina – to the same Final Four, while the Big Ten was represented by both Iowa and Ohio State in the 1993 event. The Big Ten has participated in five of the last nine Final Fours and eight overall, compared to the ACC’s 11 trips, including six in the past 11 years.
In most recent comparison, the 2006-07 campaign concluded with collegerpi.com rating the ACC and Big Ten third and fourth, respectively, in the final RPI. In the same report, the Big Ten was ranked first in strength of schedule, followed by the ACC in third. Since the 1999-00 season, the two conferences have squared off in head-to-head competition on 57 occasions, with the ACC holding a 29-28 advantage.
2007 BIG TEN/ACC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHALLENGE
Michigan at Miami
Wake Forest at Northwestern
Georgia Tech at Iowa
Clemson at Michigan State
Purdue at North Carolina
Illinois at NC State
Ohio State at Maryland
Minnesota at Virginia Tech
Florida State at Indiana
Wisconsin at Virginia
Duke at Penn State