Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is Indiana Up For The Boston College Basketball Challenge?

So now we know that Indiana will play at Boston College in next season’s annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

What does this mean?

For starters, Boston College went 15-16 and tied for eighth in the ACC last season. That was enough for the Eagles to tell coach Al Skinner to take a hike. So he’s gone and Steve Donahue, the former coach at Cornell, is now in charge.

Boston College is set to return 11 seniors and juniors. IU returns all five starters from a 10-21 team.

Basically, this is a winnable game for the Hoosiers, although because it will be at Boston College, it will be a more challenging one.

“Boston College has one of the most experienced teams and they are battle tested,” coach Tom Crean said in a university release. “Our players will have the opportunity very early in the season to compete against a nationally prominent program away from home, much like the Pitt game last year.”

For the record, IU beat Pitt at Madison Square Garden last season.

“I have a lot of respect for (Boston College’s) new coach, Steve Donahue, who brought his Cornell team to Assembly Hall two years ago," Crean said. "It will be an exciting matchup.”

How good a coach is Donahue? Cornell won 29 games last season and reached the Sweet 16.

IU and Boston College have played three previous times. The Hoosiers won in 1983. Boston College won in the 1994 and ’96 NCAA tourneys.

Just in case you care, Purdue will play at Virginia Tech. The Boilers were 29-6 last season. The Hokies were 25-9 and have the ACC’s leading scorer in Malcolm Delaney (20.2 points).

IU and Purdue will both play on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The marquee matchup will feature at pair of Final Four teams in Duke and Michigan State. The game is at Duke.

The Big Ten is the defending champion in this 12-year-old, made-for-TV event. It won 6-5 last year. Road teams won six of the 11 games. Seven games were decided by seven or fewer points.

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