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ACC/SEC Challenge: Duke Starts Off With A Bang

What a good way to kick off the new challenge. But the TV times are a bit goofy.

Arkansas v Duke
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 26: Mark Williams #15 of the Duke Blue Devils blocks a shot by Jaylin Williams #10 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second half during the Elite Eight round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Chase Center on March 26, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge matchups are out and Duke opens with a fun one - the first-ever trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks.

That’s a really good and fun matchup and adds to Duke’s already impressive schedule (although it also means that the much-rumored trip to Lexington to play Kentucky in Rupp ain’t happening).

So who else looks good?

Top to bottom:

LSU vs. Syracuse is two rebuilding programs.

Missouri at Pitt? Potentially very interesting.

Mississippi State at Georgia Tech: two more rebuilding programs.

Notre Dame at South Carolina: ditto.

Miami at Kentucky could be fun. Normally we’d automatically go with UK at home but this time, maybe not. We’ll have to learn more.

NC State at Ole Miss: the Pack can win this one but we’re not sold yet. Keep in mind that former Blue Devil Jaemnyn Brakefield is (we think) going to be on the roster again next year for Ole Miss and Chris Beard is now coaching there. So maybe not.

Clemson goes to Alabama. It’s hard to see the Tigers winning there but not impossible. They should at least be competitive.

Tennessee visits UNC and with Rick Barnes leading the Vols, that could be interesting, given his pugnacious history with Dean Smith. You can be sure Tar Heel fans have not forgotten.

Texas A&M at Virginia. Former Devil Henry Coleman and former Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams return to ACC country. But Virginia will be better prepared, especially early in the season.

Florida at Wake Forest: no idea yet.

Duke at Arkansas: we don’t bet against Duke.

Virginia Tech at Auburn. Two solid programs coming off of crappy years. We’ll revisit this one later.

Georgia at Florida State: rebuilding programs again, although for different reasons.

Boston College at Vanderbilt. Jerry Stackhouse lost an enormous amount off of talent after last season. We’ll say BC, tentatively.

Here’s a question and no disrespect to any of the teams, but why is ESPN closing out Wednesday night’s games with - in order -Virginia Tech, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, Boston College and Vanderbilt?

Virginia Tech vs. Auburn could be good but the others? Barring a surprise, the last four teams are not going to be all that great. Why would ESPN put them on as opposed to Tennessee/Virginia, Texas A&M/Virginia Tech and Duke/Arkansas?

That just seems strange.

2023 ACC/SEC Men’s ChallengeTuesday, Nov. 28

  • LSU at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
  • Missouri at Pitt, 7 p.m.
  • Mississippi State at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.
  • Notre Dame at South Carolina, 7 p.m.
  • Miami at Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.
  • NC State at Ole Miss, 9 p.m.
  • Clemson at Alabama, 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 29

  • Tennessee at North Carolina, 7:15 p.m.
  • Texas A&M at Virginia, 7:15 p.m.
  • Florida at Wake Forest, 7:15 p.m.
  • Duke at Arkansas, 9:15 p.m.
  • Virginia Tech at Auburn, 9:15 p.m.
  • Georgia at Florida State, 9:15 p.m.
  • Boston College at Vanderbilt, 9:15 p.m.