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Big Ten And ACC Announce Formation Of Annual Women’s Basketball Challenge

Big Ten And ACC Announce Formation Of Annual Women’s Basketball Challenge

May 14, 2007

Greensboro, N.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten today announced 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. 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 Clemson women’s basketball team will face Michigan State in East Lansing, MI on Thursday, Nov. 29. The Lady Tigers and Spartans have met just one previous time on the court with Clemson claiming the match-up in the 1989-90 season.

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 Conference and its institutions are thrilled of 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 Big Ten and ACC conference offices will coordinate the 11-game schedule each season and matchups may repeat from year-to-year in efforts to coordinate similar opponents. The ACC will select its top 11 teams from the previous season from its 12-team membership. 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 and will continue to mirror the official title of the two conferences’ Challenge agreement for men’s basketball.

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 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 slight 29-28 advantage.

2007 ScheduleNovember 19 Michigan at Miami

November 28 Wake Forest at Northwestern Georgia Tech at Iowa

November 29 Clemson at Michigan State Purdue at North Carolina Illinois at NC State

November 30 Ohio State at Maryland Minnesota at Virginia Tech Florida State at Indiana Wisconsin at Virginia

December 2 Duke at Penn State