Virginia wants back into the top 10, whereas, Michigan State wants to stay there. The challenge is each other at the ACC/B1G Challenge.
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge in recent years has been a series of games that has been circled on calendars since 1999. The first-ever ACC/Big Ten Challenge game was won by Wake Forest 67-48 over Wisconsin. That was then, this year there are three games that involve two AP ranked teams.
When Michigan State Basketball travels to John Paul Jones Arena to face Virginia Basketball, the storylines that will be played over 40 minutes will have immediate consequences, as well as long term implications for both teams.
After an unexpected loss at the hands of San Francisco, the Virginia Cavaliers slipped from being ranked No. 4 to the No. 16 spot. During that same time period, the Spartans were trending the other way, as they improved from No.13 to No.8 after defeating Duke 75-69. which had its own share of interesting storylines.
By the end of the season, both these teams will be ranked in the top 10, and a victory in a high-profile game in early December will still hold weight with the selection committee come March. Especially since few of the elite teams have not had a game or two canceled. With no games being promised, the importance of playing a high profile game is only eclipsed by the importance of winning one.
If that sense of urgency was not enough drama to interest you, there is intrigue on the court as well. Whether it be a clash of contrasting styles of play, a question of player’s health or a battle between brothers, Michigan State versus Virginia has as much to offer as any of the past 239 ACC/Big Ten Challenge games.