Start the Countdown to Big Ten/ACC Challenge

UPDATE: Full Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule is available after the jump.
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↵Why must the Big Ten/ACC Challenge be so far away? FOX Sports has a line on some of the top games in the event this season and I'm already clearing out room in my hypothetical TV-watching calendar. The full slate will be available this week, but here's a look at the marquee matchups: ↵
↵⇥- Michigan State will travel to Durham and face the defending national champs in what’s bound to be the most anticipated game of the season. It very well could be a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2. ↵⇥

↵⇥- Purdue, a lock Top 5 team, will head to Blacksburg and play Virginia Tech – a Top 25 club. ↵⇥

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↵⇥- Ohio State, another clear-cut Top 10 team, will travel to Florida State – a team that should receive plenty of consideration in the Preseason Top 25. ↵⇥

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↵⇥- North Carolina will play at Illinois in a battle of two likely Top 25 teams. ↵⇥

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↵⇥- N.C. State, which has a loaded freshman class, will play in Madison against Wisconsin. ↵⇥

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↵The Duke-Michigan State game pits SN's preseason No. 1 against our preseason No. 3. That was going to be a great game whenever it was announced. However, some of these other matchups got a huge boost in the last week or two thanks to late commitments and decisions to stay in school. ↵

↵JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore returned to Purdue and they'll face Virginia Tech, which got Malcolm Delaney back for another season. North Carolina obviously lost the Wear twins recently, but Illinois had the good luck that both Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis decided to withdraw their names from the draft. And North Carolina State becomes an infinitely more interesting team now that C.J. Leslie has decided to join the Wolfpack. ↵

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↵The Big Ten finally broke through and won one of these things last season by a margin of 6-5, but the ACC won the battles that mattered. The ACC wound up with more teams in the tournament (six to the Big Ten's five) and the national champion Blue Devils call the ACC home. ↵

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↵In looking back over the past few seasons, the results of this event haven't really proved to be any kind of great indicator of what to expect come NCAA Tournament time. Even in the years when the ACC was housing the Big Ten in the event, winning 8-3 in 2006 and 2007, the two leagues had almost the exact same number of tournament bids (2007: ACC 7, Big Ten 6; 2008 ACC 4, Big Ten 4). ↵

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↵So maybe the event isn't the overall conference measuring stick you'd think it would be, but there's no doubt that -- independent of their own conferences -- we'll learn a lot about Duke, Michigan State and potential No. 1 seeds when the Spartans and Blue Devils get together in December. ↵

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↵WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Here's the full schedule with dates. ↵

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↵ ↵Mon, Nov 29: Virginia at Minnesota ↵

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↵Tue, Nov 30: North Carolina at Illinois; ↵Ohio State at Florida State; ↵Michigan at Clemson; ↵Georgia Tech at Northwestern; ↵Iowa at Wake Forest ↵

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↵Wed, Dec 1: Michigan State at Duke; Purdue at Virginia Tech; ↵North Carolina State at Wisconsin; ↵Indiana at Boston College; ↵Maryland at Penn State ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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