Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

Tomorrow night kicks-off the two-day, fourth annual, ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with four games Wednesday evening, and seven on Thursday night. Now, if you are thinking that 4+7=11, and wondering why there are more than ten games when the ACC is facing the Big Ten Conference, that's easy. It's because there are eleven teams in the Big Ten! (Cute how they've worked that "11" into the Big Ten logo, isn't it? Look closely . . . )

With 12 teams in the ACC, though, and only 11 in the Big Ten, one of the ACC teams has to sit out the Challenge. (Just like challenges on "Survivor," when one team has more players than the other.) This year, that team is Miami, which finished at the bottom of the ACC last season. But no free pass for the ACC's 2010-11 last place team: next season, the Big Ten is adding another school, Nebraska, making it a 12-team Conference (same as the ACC). It can't change its name to the Big 12, though, as that's already taken -- by a Conference that will soon be shrinking to ten. (Hmmm, maybe they could just trade names?)

But we digress. Getting back to the Challenge . . . As Terps fans know, the ACC won each of the three prior Challenges. Maryland, in fact, is undefeated in the Challenge (as are Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Michigan). The Terps will be putting their unbeaten Challenge record on the line Thursday at 6:30 PM, when they face a very good Purdue team on the Boilermakers' home court of Mackey Arena.

If you're not among the modest group of Maryland fans traveling to West Lafayette, you can still see the game. It's being televised on the Big Ten Network; check your local listings. (We wish the ACC had its own network.) And if you don't get BTN, you can still follow along on Gametracker.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the four games on Wednesday. It's the one time each year that Terps fans can actually root for all our Conference rivals! The complete schedule, along with the teams' prior Challenge records, can be found here.

Go Terps . . . Beat the Boilermakers!


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