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November 27, 2005

SCS.comThanksgiving and "Feast Week" have passed us by, but one of the biggest preseason tournaments of the non-conference season begins on Monday and spans the first half of this coming work week. The ACC-Big Ten Challenge will be played for the seventh time, and though the event has been dominated by the ACC throughout its duration, it always serves up a number of high-profile matchups. This year is no exception with the likes of Illinois and North Carolina meeting on Tuesday before Duke and Indiana get together on Wednesday.

Looking towards the weekend, a trio of non-conference showdowns look to attract the majority of the attention. UNC concludes a tough week with a trip to Kentucky on Saturday morning before Oklahoma and Villanova get together later Saturday afternoon. In-state rivals Gonzaga and Washington get together late Sunday night to cap of the week's activity.


A look back at last week's highlights: The Maui Invitational was everything it was hyped up to be. There were great games all throughout the week, including Gonzaga's wins over Maryland and Michigan State. The Zags met a hot Connecticut team in the final and dropped the two-point decision to the Huskies ... The Guardian's Classic was also a huge part of Feast Week. Texas took down West Virginia in thrilling fashion on Monday and then beat Iowa to win the title. Kentucky beat WVU to claim third place ... Tuesday also saw Bucknell, who knocked off Kansas in the Tournament last March, pull an upset at Syracuse ... In the Preseason NIT, Duke and Memphis advanced to the final in NYC, and the Blue Devils won the championship on Friday in a close battle with the Tigers ... Also on the day after Thanksgiving, Illinois survied a scare from Wichita State, while Florida came from behind to beat Florida State ... It took two overtimes, but Creighton downed Dayton in a thrilling mid-major matchup on Saturday ... Marquette knocked off South Carolina in overtime to win the Great Alaska Shootout ... Also on Saturday and in overtime, LSU went on the road and got past West Virginia in impressive fashion.


Dayton at Cincinnati
Tuesday 7:00 PM CST

Flyers coming off of a loss but get a shot at in-state power Bearcats.

Northern Iowa at Iowa State
Tuesday 7:00 PM CST

Cyclones suffered disappointing home loss and now face a very talented Panther team.

Oregon at Vanderbilt
Wednesday 7:00 PM CST

Fabulous intersectional non-conference matchup. Great to see matchups like this.

Murray State at Tennessee
Wednesday 8:00 PM CST

Racers nearly beat Cincy a week ago. Vols unbeaten and looking good so far under Pearl.

Nevada at Kansas
Thursday 8:00 PM CST

Wolfpack dodged both Vermont and UNLV last week, now get shot at young Jayhawks.

Missouri at Arkansas
Friday 7:05 PM CST

Snyder and Tigers looking to save face and must visit an up-and-coming Hog squad.

North Carolina at Kentucky
Saturday 11:00 AM CST

Two of the best programs of all time meet head to head again.

Memphis at Cincinnati
Saturday 2:00 PM CST

Former CUSA foes meet in a non-conference game; both squads playing well early.

South Carolina at Clemson
Saturday 3:00 PM CST

In-state showdown features Tigers and a Gamecock squad who looked impressive in Alaska.

Oklahoma at Villanova
Saturday 4:00 PM CST

Along with UNC/UK, one of the top games of the entire week. Top fifteen showdown according to all.

Winthrop at Alabama
Saturday 7:00 PM CST

Eagles are a favorite in the Big South and have already beaten Marquette. Tide still looking to gel.

Nevada at Pacific
Saturday 9:00 PM CST

After tripping to KU, Wolfpack ventures westward to face a struggling Pacific squad.

Virginia Tech at Duke
Sunday 7:00 PM CST

ACC play gets underway. Hokies had a good ACC run last spring but face a tough start at Cameron Indoor.

Gonzaga at Washington
Sunday 9:30 PM CST

In-state rivals meet, each one of the best teams in its conference. Great non-conference matchup.

When: Monday - Wednesday
The matchups: Virginia Tech at Ohio State (Monday), Wisconsin at Wake Forest (Tuesday), Purdue at Florida State (Tuesday), Clemson at Penn State (Tuesday), Illinois at North Carolina (Tuesday), Miami at Michigan (Tuesday), Georgia Tech at Michigan State (Wednesday), Minnseota at Maryland (Wednesday), Northwestern at Virginia (Wednesday), Duke at Indiana (Wednesday), NC State at Iowa (Wednesday)

This is one of the best preseason events of each hoops season and should be adopted by other conferences as well (this means you SEC and Big XII). The ACC has won the challenge all six times since 1999, and the last two have been in convincing fashion. Perhaps the highlight of this year's schedule is Tuesday's rematch of last spring's national title game, though both the Illini and Tar Heels are expected to struggle some this season. Wednesday's biggest game of interest will see top-ranked Duke venturing away from Cameron Indoor for the first time this season, meeting Indiana in Bloomington.
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