Since 1999 the Big Ten Conference has faced off against the ACC Conference in a college basketball challenge. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge has been won by the ACC all 10 years the event has existed. The teams in the Big Ten cannot compete against the ACC and that has become clear over the last ten years. The domination in this event ensures that this is no challenge but an annual beat down of the Big Ten Conference. The 2008 Challenge was close as the ACC won 6-5, but the dominance of the ACC was shown through their top two teams against the Big Ten’s top two teams. Michigan State vs. North Carolina and Duke vs. Purdue were the two marquee matchups showcased on ESPN. The Blue Devils beat Purdue 76-60, and the Spartans were routed by the Tar Heels 98-63. The Big Ten Conference is no match for the ACC and college basketball should look elsewhere for a pre- NCAA tournament, regular season challenge. Here are several alternatives and potential matchups that would make for great basketball.
Big East/ACC Challenge
This would be the best possible challenge in all of college basketball. The ACC and Big East are the best overall conferences in all of college basketball. The Big East has 16 teams to the ACC’s 12. Each conference would send their top 11 teams from the previous year to the challenge. The challenges could all be played on neutral courts (Madison Square Garden, and other major stadiums and arena’s). The popularity of the two conferences would allow the games to sell out at neutral courts with a large number of fans at each game. Here are some of the potential matchups;
Duke vs. UCONN, Georgetown vs. North Carolina, Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame, Maryland vs. Marquette
Big 12/ACC Challenge
The Big 12 is very comparable to the ACC in talent. The Big 12 is a very solid conference with several teams that compete for a National Championship every year. This challenge would have the same format as the current ACC/Big Ten Challenge where the teams would switch home and away games each year on opposing courts. Due to the distance in schools the crowds would not be big enough to host on neutral floors and sellout. Potential matchups;
Duke vs. Texas, Oklahoma vs. North Carolina, Kansas vs. Clemson, Boston College vs. Oklahoma State
SEC/Big Ten Challenge
A more appropriate opponent for the Big Ten is the SEC. The SEC would still have the upper hand but the games would be much more competitive top to bottom and either conference could win in any given year. These games would bring large crowds at all of the teams home courts. Here are some of the exciting matchups that would be possible with a SEC/Big Ten Challenge;
Michigan State vs. Kentucky, Ohio State vs. Florida, Purdue vs. Vanderbilt, Wisconsin vs. Tennessee
ACC & Big East vs. Top 25 NCAAB
This one is out there, but would be a site to see. The best of the ACC and Big East vs. the rest of the best top 25 teams. Each side would send out their top 11 teams on neutral courts around the country. Each participating school would get a share of the revenue generated. The matchups would have to be determined before the season.
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge will not last forever. If the ACC continues to dominate, a change must be made. The revenue generated by participating schools keeps the challenge intact for the time being. The challenge is a joke and needs adjustment to become more competitive.