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Quick Notes On The Challenge Pairings

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In case you were unclear on this, Duke's visit to Wisconsin is a big deal. This will be a very intense situation.

Here's a quick early look at the pairings for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The obvious and easy matchup is the rematch between UNC and Michigan State. ESPN will love that.

It'll also be interesting to see how Tony Bennett does in his first season at Virginia. Penn State isn't a great team, or wasn't this season, but they're not awful either. Our guess is Virginia at least shows up to play defense, but we like that Tayler Battle kid.

Maryland at Indiana is intriguing if only to see how far and how fast IU can recover from the wreckage left by Kelvin Sampson. Could be a fast, fun game, too.

Poor State. They've drawn the traditional weak sister, meaning that despite Sidney Lowe's protestations, not much is expected of them again. Plus they get to revisit a Sendek-esque pace with Bill Carmody's version of the Princeton offense.

No feel at all yet for the Virginia Tech-Iowa game, but you'd hope Tech's talent would start showing up consistently.

We don't know what to expect yet out of Wake and Purdue either, but Wake will have a significant size advantage and Purdue plays crazy D.

We'd expect Michigan to beat B.C., especially early in the season.

People will look at FSU and think "not without Toney Douglas," but they'll miss the point: the point isn't the point anymore, it's the center. Solomon Alabi is potentially the best big man in the country. That changes a lot of things.

We have a considerable respect for Bruce Weber's coaching ability, but Clemson will have a solid team back and not one but two Bookers. So going inside could be deadly.

We'd be inclined, particularly this far out, to take Tubby Smith over Frank Haith.

And we rarely pick against Duke.

Monday, Nov. 30
Penn State at Virginia

Tuesday, Dec. 1
Maryland at Indiana
Michigan State at North Carolina
Northwestern at N.C. State
Virginia Tech at Iowa
Wake Forest at Purdue

Wednesday, Dec. 2
Boston College at Michigan
Duke at Wisconsin
Florida State at Ohio State
Illinois at Clemson
Minnesota at Miami