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Report: Duke To Play Illinois In ACC/Big Ten Challenge

An interesting and tough game for Duke.

Iowa v Illinois
 CHAMPAIGN, IL - MARCH 08: Head coach Brad Underwood of the Illinois Fighting Illini celebrates with fans following the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at State Farm Center on March 8, 2020 in Champaign, Illinois.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

It’s not official yet but over on Twitter John Rothstein of CBS Sports is reporting that Duke will host Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Some of the responses on the thread suggest that people aren’t taking the Illini that seriously. Well that’s a mistake.

First, Brad Underwood is a hard-nosed coach who is building a potent program. He is the guy who built Stephen F. Austin into the sort of program that could come into Cameron and upset Duke. Yes he’s been gone from Nagodoches since 2016, but Kyle Keller is building on the foundation he inherited (the Lumberjacks finished 28-3 last season).

Second, Illinois has a monstrous presence at center in 7-1, 290 lb Kofi Cockburn. The Illini also finished 21-10 last season which is a near-reversal from the year before when the Illini finished 12-21.

Finally, the Crazies almost certainly won’t be there to help out.

Whatever anyone tells you otherwise, this is not going to be an easy game.

These look like the rest of matchups.

  • North Carolina vs Iowa
  • Purdue vs Miami
  • Penn State vs Virginia Tech
  • Louisville vs Wisconsin
  • Georgia Tech vs Nebraska
  • Pitt vs Northwestern
  • Maryland vs Clemson
  • Boston College vs Minnesota
  • Syracuse vs Rutgers
  • Indiana vs Florida State
  • Ohio State vs Notre Dame
  • NC State vs Michigan
  • Michigan State vs Virginia